SEPTEMBER 8 – 30, 2017



Evans Contemporary is pleased to present Inks, an exhibition of new paintings on paper by Toronto artist, Shelley Adler.


Shelley Adler is a Toronto based artist, best known for her large, stylized paintings of women. Originally from Edmonton Alberta, Adler studied at the prestigious Edinburgh College of Art, and obtained degrees in Fine Arts from both York University and Boston University. She has been honing her focus on portraiture for nearly three decades, with exhibitions throughout North America.

For centuries the female face and form has obsessed artists such as Da Vinci and Vermeer; Adler joins the ranks of contemporary female artists like Alice Neel or Toronto’s Lynn Donoghue by interpreting that gaze with an unflinching directness and painterly style.

Adler’s colourful work brings to mind Alex Katz, with his cut-out, stripped-down figurative painting of the 70s and 80s. But Adler is more lavish and nuanced with her brushwork and the psychological scrutiny of her subjects. She constantly navigates scale and colour dynamics through multiple studies, often of members of her inner circle, while her studies denude her subjects of any pretense. Even the gestural postures of her subjects capture clues to their inner lives.

Although she usually paints in oils, Adler occasionally employs a looser technique with ink, gouache or watercolour. These portraits take a somewhat edgier, unsettled tone not unlike the work of Marlene Dumas.

“What Adler brings to portraiture—a genre that has suffered a crisis of purpose since the invention of the photograph—is a rare combination of skilled draftsmanship, painterly intelligence and empathy,” writes Gillian MacKay for Canadian Art.

In this exhibition of newer facial studies in ink coming to Evans Contemporary, Adler's subtle spin on the female gaze, easily framed as confrontational, can be seen as unmistakable portraits of women inhabiting their own skin.


This opening is part of the Ad Hoc Art Committee’s September Downtown Gallery Crawl. Visual art openings will also be taking place at Star X, Coeur Nouveau, ACME and Christensen Fine Art. Joining in on the evening events will be Evan Contemporary’s new neighbour, Watson & Lou, as they celebrate the grand opening of their new one of a kind craft/makers storefront market while multi-disciplinary artist Joel Davenport will be taking over controls of the outdoor courtyard DJ booth. Surf film classics will be projected in the courtyard once darkness falls.






Shelley Adler studied at Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland, and received her BFA from York University in Toronto. She holds an MFA from Boston University.


Her paintings have shown nationally and internationally and include exhibitions at the Madison Gallery in La Jolla, California, J.Cacciola Gallery, New York, Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto, The Art Gallery of Mississauga, the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art, Sarah Myerscough Gallery, London England, Andrea Meislin Gallery, New York, Harbourfront, Toronto, the Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant in Brantford, Loop Gallery, Toronto, State Gallery in Vancouver, and the Blackwood Gallery at the University of Toronto.


Reviews of Adler’s work have been featured in numerous print publications including the National Post, Toronto Star, Eye Weekly, the Globe and Mail, Canadian Art magazine, and The Vancouver Sun.


Adler’s work can be found in the collections of the Bank of Montreal, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Davis Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, The Donovan Art Collection at St, Michael’s College, Scotiabank Fine Art Collection, Senvest Collection of New Canadian Art, and Temple Rock Holdings Inc.










#2 Bankers Common - Peterborough, ON - K9H 3L7 – Canada  -