Naoko Matsubara: In Praise of Hands

June 11th to July 10th, 2021

Naoko Matsubara is a Japanese-Canadian woodblock print artist. She’s the longest tenured artist, having been with Abbozzo since day one. This June she will be having the 6th solo exhibition in her 27 years with us.⁠

The June 2021 show will be celebrating the North American launch of her book In Praise of Hands including poetry by Penny Boxall published by Oxford University Press, following her 6 month long 2019 solo exhibition “Lifelines” at the Ashmoleon Museum in Oxford.

The woodcuts in In Praise of Hands focus on the very tools that define humanity: our hands. The colourful and lively woodblock prints present in this exhibition serve to elevate the almost mundane perception of the human hand, as Matsubara transforms these mere body parts into fitting symbols and representations for entire cultural concepts. Where we might think of familial bonds as being intangible concepts best represented by physical gestures or long uninterrupted descriptive sentences, Matsubara visualizes this complex concept in the bright orange figures of a mother and her child reaching out to each other (Mother and Baby, 1979). Where we might think of forests and oceans as evidence of the life-giving force of water, Matsubara inserts humanity into this context by conveying two cupped hands welcoming fresh drops of water from above, a theme as universal as water itself, and connects us to the natural world by having the colour green be so prevalent in this piece (Water, 1974).

Matsubara seeks to communicate that our hands are not special simply because of their various abilities, be it gently holding a loved one or gracefully manipulating a paintbrush, but because they are the links between the human mind and the physical world. Hands are the conduits of our ideas, aspirations, desires, and emotions, and the vehicles that allow for our interactions with the universe around us.


Abbozzo Gallery and Virtual Reality

How to see Abbozzo Gallery’s Exhibitions in Virtual Reality, hosted by our friends at ArtGate VR:

– Open your preferred Web browser (Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Opera etc.)

– Go to

– Click on the ‘Download’ section at the top of the page

– Scroll down and select the download option for the corresponding platform to your computer (PC, Mac, or your Virtual Reality Device e.g Oculus Quest 2, Oculus Rift etc.)

– Clicking the ‘Download on PC (or Mac)” button will begin the download process on your computer. A folder icon will appear at the bottom of your browser page, indicating the download’s progress


– Once the download is completed (wait 2-3 minutes), double click the folder icon

– This will open the file on your computer’s download section. Double click on the ‘Art Gate VR’ folder; then the sub-folder marked ‘Art Gate VR’

– If an option bar pops up with options to ‘Extract all’, ‘Run’ and ‘Cancel’ appears, click on ‘Extract all’

– Click ‘Extract’ once more on the following option bar

– After about 30 seconds the extraction will be complete, and the ‘Art Gate VR’ folder will reappear. Double click on it and then double click on the ‘Art Gate VR’ icon

– Click ‘Run’ on the following option bar if it does not open automatically

– The program will open, and you will be able to pick a name and a color for your avatar

– When inside the program, go towards the ‘Abbozzo Gallery’ virtual door. If this door cannot be found, press the spacebar, and look the exhibition options


-Find ArtGate VR in your ‘Downloads’ or ‘Applications’ Folder

-Click ‘ArtGateVR’ and the application should open

– The program will open, and you will be able to pick a name and a color for your avatar

– When inside the program, go towards the ‘Abbozzo Gallery’ virtual door. If this door cannot be found, press the spacebar, and look the exhibition options and scroll until you find us!


OCAD University Sculpture / Installation Thesis Shows

OCAD University’s Sculpture/Installation Program— in collaboration with Abbozzo Gallery and Beaver Hall Gallery— is pleased to announce the 2021 Sculpture/Installation Thesis Exhibition Series titled Today, Tomorrow & The Next Day. Taking place from March 4 to April 10,this series of six solo and group exhibitionswill feature the multi-media artworks of 4th-year Thesis students in Toronto galleries. It has been made possible by the generous support of the Nora Vaughan Bequest to the Sculpture/Installation program.

March 4 to 13: around the corner

Julien Woolley-Fisher

March 18 to 27: To Retrieve a Possible Heirloom

Kristi Chen

April 1 to 10: Perspective of three


Katharine Burns: Sea Change

Atlantic Canadian oil painter Katharine Burns opens her second exhibition with Abbozzo Gallery this Saturday, following her debut in the Feature Gallery last fall. Impressive in their scale – one painting being 10 feet wide, two of them 7  feet wide –Burns almost exclusively draws inspiration from the ocean she resides beside, bringing the tumult and calm of the sea to the canvas in her photoreal oil paintings. Katharine Burns was born, raised and resides in Halifax and is a graduate of Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, paints full-time and guides painting workshops and classes.  

“The ocean—like nature as a whole—embodies a few fundamental contradictions that reinforce its enduring power and mystery. It is constant, familiar, and fruitful—in so many ways—to the human species. Yet it is also intimidating and unfathomable—a uniquely fluctuating environment. Though I emphasize its positive, enlivening qualities, these contradictions live in this series of work, as I develop my appreciation of the ocean’s different sides. The ocean teaches us humility, respect, and gratitude. And this too, I hope is clear in the work.” – Katharine Burns

To view the Exhibition Catalogue click here or the image above.
To view the artist’s page click here or any image below.  

Due to local COVID-19 restrictions, this exhibition will be online only. Following the current lockdown timeline, all unsold works will be available for public viewing in January 2021.

Marie Rioux – Temps suspendu / Suspended times

November 6th – November 28th
Opening Reception: Friday, November 6th 5 – 8pm

Quebec painter Marie Rioux‘s atmospheric landscapes are coming to Abbozzo Gallery for her first solo-exhibition with us. Inspired by her surroundings and North American geographies, Rioux paints vast monochromatic landscapes often interrupted by informal figures and subtle, fluorescent highlights. The work is a contemplation on the space she occupies within and without where “a multitude of people encountered in the metro and in streets and park inhabit my work, confronting the silence of my immense bygone lands. The anonymous ‘Others’, heterogeneous, indifferent people share the same place as me.

To view the Exhibition Catalogue click here.
To view the artist’s page click here or any image below. 

Ron Eady – An Exploration of Line and Form 20 Year Retrospective

October 9th – October 31st
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 8th 5 – 8pm

Ontario based painter and sculptor Ron Eady returns for his 5th Solo Exhibition at Abbozzo Gallery. An Exploration of Line and Form takes us through the 20 year evolution of approaches to figure in Ron Eady’s artwork, the influence of encaustic, and eventual foray into sculpture. Oft reclaiming old beams, frames, and mill materials for his own purposes, Eady’s signature style marries his technical ability with his rustic and industrial aesthetic to arresting effect. 

Exhibition Catalogue can be viewed here.

Link to Artist’s page.

Heather Horton – Love Story

September 11th – October 3rd
Opening Receptions:

Friday, September 11th from 5 – 9 pm / Saturday September 12th,  1- 6 pm.
Artist in Attendance. 

Canadian painter Heather Horton‘s signature contemporary realist style returns to Abbozzo Gallery for her 7th Solo-Exhibition this September. This new series of work, Love Story, sees a slight thematic departure from Horton’s often personal, contemplative, meditative work on memory, loss, and remnants of what was, to one of things found, of things loved, brightness, the immediate present and new futures. Horton’s new work is largely drawn from her time spent in Kensington, London studio over the course of this past year with whom she happily tells all is “the love of her life”. Such joy is viscerally apparent in her paintings. 

RSVP for Opening Here
Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, RSVP is strongly recommended in order to ensure your ability to attend. We can only allow up to 30 people into the gallery at one time 

Arnold Zageris: The Dominion of Ice and Time

Following expeditions to two of the more remote geographies of the globe, Zageris captures the rugged, unforgiving, yet fragile landscapes of Antarctica and Iceland in entirely unedited photographs. Informed by oft unseen subjects that evidence the dominion of ice, time, and their geological processes, Zageris’ photography juxtaposes the awe-inspiring grandeur of the southern hemisphere’s Antarctic glaciers with the northern hemisphere’s delicate ice and black sands of Iceland.

To Artist’s Page

To CONTACT Photography Festival Info Page

To Arnold Zageris’ Website

Catalogue and works to become available May 8th, 2020

COVID-19 Update

For all of our safety, and following the suggestions from Health Canada during the COVID-19 outbreak, we have decided that Abbozzo Gallery will be open BY APPOINTMENT ONLY FOR THE REMAINDER OF MARCH. 

Richard Jacobson’s Solo-Exhibtion Pieces from a Different Puzzle (April 3rd – 25th) and the  OCADU SCIN Thesis Exhibitions Series A Tending to Things (March 19th – April 11th) for Shay Salehi and Mohammed Tabesh have been postponed until further notice. 

We will still be monitoring emails at and online inquiries through our websiteartsy platform, and our social medias during this time will be open. Our phone won’t be monitored consistently. However, Blake will be at the gallery occasionally throughout as we transition to working from home. If you need to reach Blake specifically, he can be reached at Ineke can also be reached by phone during regular hours at 416-953-0420.

Thank you for your understanding in these uncertain times, stay safe, be vigilant, and reach out to loved ones!

-The Abbozzo Gallery Team

David Blackwood: Visions of Wesleyville

Running throughout the month of February, from the 1st to the 29th, the prints and paintings of David Blackwood will be on display at Abbozzo Gallery. There will be an opening on February 7th, 2020 from 5 – 8:30pm. Admission is always free.

The works of Canadian Master Printmaker David Blackwood once again return to the walls of Abbozzo Gallery for the 11th time. For decades, David Blackwood has captured and recreated the mythologies of the rugged and unforgiving East Coast of Newfoundland. Blackwood left Wesleyville to study art at what was then the Ontario College of Art (now OCADU) in 1959, but his work produced since then is almost entirely rooted in the period of his childhood in Wesleyville, Newfoundland. The oeuvre of David Blackwood depicts the miscellany of characters, trials, traumas, traditions, and landscapes just inland and on the Labrador Sea, with these subjects all personal to him, and often beautifully, hauntingly, intersecting with each other in his artwork.

David Blackwood’s long, storied, and uniquely Canadian career has garnered him much acclaim, belonging to the both private and public collections across the globe. This includes having major solo retrospective exhibitions at both provincial galleries the Art Gallery of Ontario and Newfoundland’s The Rooms, as well as being in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, the Uffizi Gallery (Florence, Italy) and the collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (The Royal Collection, Windsor Castle). David Blackwood has been made a member of the Order of Canada and Ontario.

RSVP Here if you’d like to attend, but RSVP is not required.

Click here to view David Blackwood’s Artist Page