Lyceum Gallery

photo by Christina Gapic Photography

Current Exhibition

December 4 – 21 Laura Jane Petelko and Sara Wood: Soft Stories

Inspired by a conversation about “Furries” – a subculture interested in anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics – this work began to take shape. Petelko recognized a strange paradigm, one that connects rather than separates, something elemental. She identified a need for intimacy in a technological world; a collective longing to commune with nature at a time of environmental crisis, and for Petelko, it became important to create tangible yet anonymous characters.

In meticulously crafted costumes by Sara Wood (artist and designer) made from artificial plastics, polymers and acrylics, Petelko photographs humans attempting to commune with and inhabit nature, specifically animals found in Northern Canadian landscapes. The idea is both audacious and symptomatic of our time.

January 6-February 1 Chris Anton On the Shoulders of Giants

Chris came to painting via his work as a tattoo artist. During his apprenticeship, he began painting tattoo designs in watercolours in order to work out colour theory and to refine his design skills. What started out as a necessity expression to realize and communicate his tattoo designs soon became a separate passion that eventually took on the same importance as tattooing itself.

Chris primarily works with watercolour on paper or acrylic on wood panels, and his love of large-scale tattoo work has bled into a similar obsession with big, high impact paintings. The title “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” is an homage to his subject matter and is primarily based on classic tattoo designs. These are timeless images, perfected over decades by countless tattooers before him. Chris has applied his signature style to these very recognizable motifs which include snakes, lots and lots of snakes; some may even say too many snakes…..

Past Exhibitions

November 7-30 Nancy Friedland and Johanna Reynolds: A Change in the Light

A Change in the Light is an exhibition of paintings by two powerful artists who deftly explore narratives and themes through their own visual languages. Rooted, yet disparate, these two styles contrast beautifully with one another as they communicate in one space. Each artist tackles her theme with a different intent: Nancy’s moody narratives suggest love and loss, while Johanna’s textured abstracts reveal a physical and psychological journey with the paint on canvas. In both, the overwhelming takeaway is the light that has been created: an optimistic beaming brightness cutting through the composition.
The artists have each have decided to donate 100% proceeds from the sale of specific pieces (valued at $1200.00 each, to the Gerstein Crisis Centre. This decision was made in honour of a former mentor and friend, Katharine Mulherin. The hope is that this donation will help assist others who may be in need of mental health support. You can also donate to the Gerstein Crisis Centre here:

Johanna studied Art History and Studio Arts at Concordia University. Nancy completed her MFA at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and studied photography at the Ontario College of Art and Design. Johanna and Nancy both live and work in Toronto, and their work is collected across North America and abroad.

Marina Dempster: in//habit October 5 -November 2

A quartet of 6ft x 2ft ( yoga mat sized) hooked ‘yarn paintings’ speak to the rewards of both personal ritual and communal practice as an antidote to other numbing habits, addictions and distractions. This crafting ‘makes permanent’, not perfect, creating more ease and receptivity to adaptive growth, and new dimensions of perception and renewal.

 ‘In//habit’ embodies a deep and universal rumbling, and an undeniable reckoning toward connection.

A tactile transmutation of shame to grace, fear to love, woe to wisdom.

“May all that is unforgiven in you be released. May your fears yield their deepest tranquilities. May all that is unlived in you blossom into a future graced with love. “ – John O’Donohue  

Special thanks to the OAC for their support.

Special thanks to the OAC for their support.

and… Dear Friends and Near Enemies

This fibre installation of 20+ pieces is for sale for $10,000 CAD or individual cushions are available for $500. Ten percent of sales will be donated to The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health | CAMH.


October 5th 7pm until the effect wears off…The Ambrosia Collective presents In The Time Being: Three Iterations A dance/music collaboration using mind maps and graphic notations inspired by Marina Dempster’s textile work.

the goddess saved us; she brought us ambrosia and placed it under our nostrils” Homer Photo: Marina Dempster Photography

A Triptych, Three Dancers, and a Trio of Musicians in Three Rooms

Sculptural fibre installation artist Marina Dempster provides the flint for a dancer. She is accompanied by a bassist and the two of them start a sensorial dialogue while another dancer witnesses from a chair nearby. She in turn responds to the impulse and transposes it into the next space before a final movement completes the train of thought. The audience follows this conversation, swept along in the collective experience of transference.

There is a pause before the act repeats with a new audience. 

Photo by Marina Dempster Photography

The peace table is a simple wooden box that sits in the Montessori classroom and acts as a repository for complaints, slights, injustices and reconciliations from the age of about three. Children are encouraged to talk through their issues and as they get older, to negotiate a compromise or simply to acknowledge another viewpoint. Eventually, the hope is they will internalize this framework; that this process will weave itself into their moral fibres as consciousness dawns in the second plane of development. This year, the oldest children in the school went to Model UN in New York and used their internal “peace table” to frame and advocate for solutions to sensitive problems facing the world. These students are the inaugural class of the Orchard Lyceum and their point of arrival in this new place, both physically and metaphorically, is the impetus for the Peace Table Project. There are four aspects to it:

  1. The Peace Table -The peace table sculpture is a collection of drawings and Poloroid photographs collected from the children throughout the school that describe their memories, both recent and distant, of using the peace table. They were podged onto a wooden table which was overwritten with their words about their experiences at the table. Finally, the whole thing was sealed under a resin pour. What was once a concrete materialization now becomes an abstract, symbolic mental exercise expressed as sculpture.
  2. One Hundred White Poppies and Their Shadows – Inspired by the traditions of wearing white poppies and in recognition of the first Armistice of 1919, this work recalls one hundred years that we, as a human race, have actively wished for a future free of armed conflict.
  3. One Thousand Cranes for Peace – This sculptural piece is made up of one thousand origami cranes installed in a cylinder to raise hope that the dreams of future children will not be destroyed by war.
  4. Reflections in Five Colours – This installation was inspired by the prayer flags hung by members of the local Tibetan community. Following traditional methods of block printing with henna inks but using words collected from Orchard children, we’ve created a ceiling full of flags they will give away at the end of the show to be flown in gardens and in porches around the neighbourhood.