Alexis O'Hara with part of her sonic igloo.

On the walls: the art you need to see this week

Everything you need to know about what’s happening in Montreal’s art scene this week, including highlights of Elektra fest, a major painting exhibit at Galerie de l’UQAM, two street art-related vernissages and a star-studded benefit auction at ARTSIDA.

Kent Monkman’s “My Treaty Is With My Crown” could be yours at the ARTSIDA auction this week

Galerie de l’UQAM plays host to a major exhibition of Canadian painting this month, opening tonight. The Painting Project: A Snapshot of Painting in Canada attempts to capture the state of the nation’s engagement with the medium, first with a month-long (May 1-June 1) physical exhibit, followed by the launch of a virtual exhibit in June. Both shows include contributions from many of Canada’s most established and exciting artists painting in numerous genres. April 30, 1400 Berri, Pavilion Judith-Jasmin, #J-R120, 6 p.m., free

Alexis O’Hara with part of her sonic igloo.

Elektra Fest’s 14th edition is this week, a five-day slate of programming celebrating digital, acoustic and interdisciplinary art at various venues around town. A few highlights include a last chance to check out this iteration of Alexis O’Hara’s awesome Squeeeeque! sonic igloo and a first chance to see Darsha Hewitt’s sonoric installation Electrostatic Bell Choir at Centre Skol. Marie A. Côté presents Of Bowls and Voices, a visual and sound installation inspired by throat-singers the artist met during a residency in Nunavik that tries to capture the melodic frequencies of nordicity. The festival also offers soundwalks, including Nuages, a meteorological soundwalk with the Audiotopie collective, as well as screenings, talks and electroacoustic performances. May 1–5, various venues. See the full program for more info. 

The multidisciplinary artist XRAY presents an exhibition called High Spirits: A Collection of Paintings at Greenlight Gallery. The artist specializes in graffiti, signs and murals, although he dabbles in props, too. This latest body of work is predominantly layered wood paintings; interview forthcoming on Cult MTL this week. Vernissage May 3, Greenlight Gallery (3878 St-Laurent), 7 p.m.

Laurence Vallières’s BOONZ.

Up-and-coming local street art sculptor Laurence Vallières’ first solo exhibition, called BOONZ, opens on Saturday. The show includes a series of animals, like baboons, elephants and bears crafted out of cardboard to reflect their human counterparts; stay tuned for our feature on Vallières and her work later this week. Vernissage May 4, Yves Laroche Galerie D’Art (6355 Saint-Laurent), 2 p.m.

It’s yet another quadruple-header at Artmur. First, Better the Devil you Know, by David Ross Harper, is a collection of abstract pieces that envision a clean, ornate vision of death. Then, Karine Giboulo’s City of Dreams deals with the complexities of urban life through sculpture. Annie Hémond Hotte’s Vous allez lire ce que vous venez juste de voir is a surrealist endeavour in which the paintings explore desires that extend beyond reason. Finally, In the Dollhouse, by Dina Goldstein, features Barbie and Ken in everyday positions, an exploration of the role of gender politics. Vernissage May 4, Artmur (5826 St-Hubert), 3 p.m.

Portrait from Gabriel Coutu-Dumont’s ‘The Way of the Willows.’

Montreal artist Gabriel Coutu-Dumont boasts two solo shows this weekend, at two locales. The first, Wonders of a Transient Universe, takes place at the PHI Centre. It’s a performance piece all about making what is visible audible, and vice versa.  Then, at Galerie Donald Browne, there is The Way of the Willows, a photographic series based on 19th century aristocratic portraiture. Vernissages on May 4 at PHI Centre (407 St-Pierre) and Galerie Donald Browne (372 Ste-Catherine, #528), 3–5 p.m. 

Art lovers with wee ones can kickstart their kids’ enculturation at Librairie Drawn & Quarterly’s Free Comic Book Day. There will be free comics, obviously, as well as cookies and juice, plus performances by Catriona Sturton and Birdy Whyte. May 4, 211 Bernard W., 1:30–2:30 p.m.

Finally, a major Montreal fundraising auction wraps up this week. The fifth annual edition of ARTSIDA features 62 works donated by almost 60 artists — Jean Chaîney, JJ Levine, Kent Monkman, Evergon and Zilon are just a few of the big names — to be auctioned off, with proceeds supporting the urgently important programs and services that AIDS Community Care Montréal offers to local people living with HIV/AIDS.

You can check out the impressive collection of works on sale for free this week at Galerie D (1239 Amherst, to May 3), then the art travels to the MAC for the final auction, where guests can also catch performances by violinist Sarah Neufeld (of Arcade Fire fame) and dancer Louis Guillemette, a live painting session by Zilon and cocktails. May 4, Musée d’Art Contemporain (185 Ste-Catherine W.), 5:30 p.m. (auction at 7 p.m.), $50 ■

By Emily Raine and Kristen Theodore

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