Feature, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 61 x 51 cm
Distant - Orange.jpg

Distant – Orange, 2017,
acrylic on canvas, 122 x 101.5 cm
Distant - Violet.jpg

Distant - Violet, 2017,
acrylic on canvas, 122 x 101.5 cm
Border V.jpg

Border V, 2013,
acrylic on canvas, 81 x 96.5 cm
Border R.jpg

Border R, 2013,
acrylic on canvas, 81 x 96.5 cm
Border W.jpg

Border W, 2013,
acrylic on canvas, 81 x 96.5 cm
Dark Mirror H2.jpg

Dark Mirror H2, 2013,
acrylic on canvas, 51 x 61 cm
Dark Mirror V1.jpg

Dark Mirror V1, 2013,
acrylic on canvas, 51 x 61 cm
Dark Mirror H3.jpg

Dark Mirror H3, 2013,
acrylic on canvas, 51 x 61 cm

Ribbon, 2012, acrylic on linen, 51 x 61 cm

Azure, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 147.5 x 117 cm

Version, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 147.5 x 117 cm

Red Blue, 2007, acrylic on canvas, 173 x 122 cm

Green Black, 2007, acrylic on canvas, 173 x 122 cm

Fall, 2006, gouache on paper, 41 x 51 cm

Cool, 2006, oil on canvas, 76 x 61 cm

Return, 2006, oil on canvas, 91.5 x 112 cm

Artist’s Dream, 1998, oil on canvas, 66 x 86.5 cm

Arrangement, 1998, oil on canvas, 76 x 96.5 cm

Shirley Wiitasalo

With her characteristically reductive painting vocabulary, Wiitasalo paints elusive figures that emerge from and disappear into rich and murky depths. Her “subjects” read almost as atmosphere – detectable yet indecipherable – with a palpability that is echoed in the vortiginous and billowing spaces of the painted ground.

“ [In the large paintings,] I have a lot of fun playing with tentativeness. I can barely see it myself. In a small painting, the mark is very direct, as if I were nailing down the shifting colours … I’m dancing between these almost extremes: it’s this repertoire I can play with… ”

— Shirley Wiitasalo

Born in Toronto, Canada

Selected Solo Exhibitions


Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
about the exhibition


Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
about the exhibition


Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
about the exhibition


Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
about the exhibition

Goodwater, Toronto
Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
Galerie René Blouin, Montréal
Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
The Power Plant, Toronto
Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
Kunsthalle, Bern, Switzerland
Galerie Paul Andriesse, Amsterdam,
   The Netherland
Carmen Lamanna Gallery, Toronto
Carmen Lamanna Gallery, Toronto
Shirley Wiitasalo, London Regional
   Art Gallery, London; Thunder Bay
   Art Gallery, Thunder Bay;
   Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
Carmen Lamanna Gallery, Toronto
Carmen Lamanna Gallery, Toronto
Forest City Gallery, London
Carmen Lamanna Gallery, Toronto
Carmen Lamanna Gallery, Toronto
Carmen Lamanna Gallery, Toronto
Carmen Lamanna Gallery, Toronto
Carmen Lamanna Gallery, Toronto
A Space, Toronto

Selected Group Exhibitions


Form Follows Fiction: Art and Artists in Toronto, Art Museum at the University of Toronto, Toronto

Dissolutions, Galerie René Blouin, Montréal
Rope of Sand, Soi Fischer, Toronto
Figure out of Place, MacLaren Art Centre,
Governor General’s Awards in Visual and
   Media Arts 2011, National Gallery of
   Canada, Ottawa
In and Out of Space, Stewart Hall Gallery,
Momentum, Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto
Recent Acquisitions, Musée d’art
   contemporain, Montréal
Pulse: Film and Painting after the Images,
   Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery,
News from Nowhere, Susan Hobbs Gallery,
Dreamland, Edmonton Art Gallery,
Les Peintures, Galerie René Blouin,
Moira Dryer and Shirley Wiitasalo,
   GreeneNaftali, New York
Carol Wainio and Shirley Wiitasalo,
   Galerie Rochefort, Montréal
René Daniëls/Shirley Wiitasalo,
   Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany
Art Gallery of York University, Toronto;
   Illingworth Kerr Gallery/Alberta College
   of Art, Calgary; Mackenzie Art Gallery,
Urban Inscriptions, Art Gallery
   St. Thomas-Elgin, St. Thomas;
   London Regional Art And Historical
   Museums, London; Macdonald Stewart
   Art Centre, Guelph
Canadian Biennial of Contemporary Art,
   National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Toronto: A Play of History
   (Jeu d’histoire), The Power Plant,
Late Capitalism, Art Gallery at
   Harbourfront, Toronto
Allegorical Procedures in Recent
   Canadian Painting, Agnes
   Etherington Art Centre, Kingston
Toronto Painting ‘84, Art Gallery of
   Ontario, Toronto; Glenbow Museum,
   Calgary; Beaverbrook Art Gallery,
   Fredericton; Art Gallery of Windsor,
   Windsor; The Gallery, Stratford;
   Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton;
   Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg
Subjects in Pictures, YYZ, Toronto;
   49th Parallel, New York
Amsterdam-Toronto, Fodor Museum,
Fiction, Art Gallery of Ontario,
   Toronto; Art Gallery of Windsor,
   Windsor; Glenbow Museum, Calgary;
   Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon;
   Agnes Etherington Centre, Kingston;
   49th Parallel, New York
Robin Collyer, General Idea,
   Shirley Wiitasalo, Carmen Lamanna
   Gallery, Toronto
20th Century Canadian Painting,
   organized by the National Gallery of
   Canada, Ottawa; The National Museum
   of Art, Toyko, Japan; Hokkaido
   Museum of Modern Art, Sapporo, Japan;
   Oita Perfectural Art Centre, Oita City,
   Kyusha, Japan
Aspects of Canadian Painting in the
   Seventies, Glenbow Museum, Calgary
7 Toronto Artists, Artist’s Space, New York
Kanadische Künstler, Kunsthalle, Basel,
17 Canadian Artists – A Protean View,
   Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver
Carmen Lamanna Gallery at Owens
   Art Gallery, Owens Art Gallery,
   Mount Allison University, Sackville
Some Canadian Women Artists,
   National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Contemporary Ontario Art,
   Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
Toronto 4 + London 1, Carmen
   Lamanna Gallery, Toronto
Hart House, University of Toronto, Toronto

FrameWork 5/21

by Craig Rodmore (essay)

Susan Hobbs Gallery, May 2021

read (pdf)

Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries, 1971-1989

by Wanda Nanibush (exhibition catalogue)

Art Gallery of Ontario, 2018

FrameWork 5/17

by Katie Lyle (essay)

Susan Hobbs Gallery, May 2017

read (pdf)

Shirley Wiitasalo at Susan Hobbs

by Terence Dick (review)

akimblog, 13 May 2014

FrameWork 5/14

by Heather White (essay)

Susan Hobbs Gallery, May 2014

read (pdf)

Stripped right down to the peek-a-boo

by R.M. Vaughan (review)

The Globe and Mail, 29 May 2010

read (pdf)

The Donovan Collection

by Daniel Donovan (book)

Toronto: University of St. Michael’s College, 2010

Shirley Wiitasalo

by Diana Nemiroff (book)

The Gershon Iskowitz Prize: 1986 to 2006; Toronto: The Gershon Iskowitz Foundation, 2009

Shirley Wiitasalo: Goodwater, Toronto

by Jen Hutton (review)

Canadian Art, Fall 2008

read (pdf)

The Calibration of Chance

by Claire Christie (exhibition brochure)

Toronto: Susan Hobbs Gallery, 2008

read (pdf)

Gallery Going

by Gary Michael Dault (review)

The Globe and Mail, 8 March 2008

read (pdf)

Shirley Wiitasalo

by Peter Blendell (review)

CanadianArt.ca, Summer 2007

Elusive Clarity: An Interview with Shirley Wiitasalo

by Robert Enright (interview)

Border Crossings, August 2005

Fire Sign

by Betty Ann Jordan (review)

Toronto Life, October 2004

Small is subtle

by Sarah Milroy (review)

The Globe and Mail, 17 September 2004

Aluminum at Susan Hobbs Gallery

by Greg Humeniuk (review)

Circa, Spring 2003

Obscure Imaginings: Visual Culture and the Anatomy of Caves

by Mark A. Cheetham and Elizabeth D. Harvey

Journal of Visual Culture, 2002

Shirley Wiitasalo at the Power Plant

by Gary Michael Dault (review)

The Globe and Mail, 30 December 2000

Let down your avant-garde

by Daphne Gordon (review)

The Toronto Star, 17 December 2000

Shirley Wiitasalo

by Barry Schwabsky (exhibition catalogue)

Toronto: The Power Plant, 2000

Shirley Wiitasalo at Susan Hobbs

by Gillian MacKay (review)

The Globe and Mail, 3 April 1999

Moira Dryer/Shirley Wiitasalo

by Ken Johnson (review)

The New York Times, 22 January 1999

Moira Dryer/Shirley Wiitasalo


The New Yorker, 11 January 1999

Image as Phantasm: Opticality and Experience in Shirley Wiitasalo’s Recent Work

by Gregory Salzman (article)

Parachute, 1998

Report from Toronto: Opening Doors

by Roni Feinstein (article)

Art in America, November 1994

René Daniëls/Shirley Wiitasalo

by Ingo Arend (review)

Kunstforum, März-Juni 1994

Mal wieder Maler

by Martin Bochynek (review)

Marabo, März 1994

Shirley Wiitasalo; Paul Andriesse

by Edna van Duyn (review)

Flash Art, January/February 1994v

Befragen der Räume

by Eva Buhrfeind (review)

Berner Rundschau, 15 July 1993

Über Fotographie und über Malerei

by Niklaus Oberholzer (review)

Luzerner Zeitung, 5 July 1993

René Daniëls/Shirley Wiitasalo

by Jeanne Randolph (review)

Parachute, Summer 1993

Radiant Days

by Gillian MacKay (article)

Canadian Art, Spring 1993

Show pairs Toronto, Netherlands painters

by Nancy Tousley (review)

The Calgary Herald, 19 March 1993

Vibrant pair’s painterly works prove power of subtle images

by Deidre Hanna (review)

Now Magazine, 11-17 February 1993

The uses of illusion

by Kate Taylor (review)

The Globe and Mail, 16 January 1993

René Daniëls / Shirley Wiitasalo

by Ulrich Loock (exhibition catalogue)

Toronto: Art Gallery of York University, 1993

Canadian Biennial of Contemporary Art

by Diana Nemiroff (exhibition catalogue)

Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1989

Subversive Action

by Gary Michael Dault (article)

Canadian Art, March 1988

Shirley Wiitasalo

by Philip Monk (exhibition catalogue)

Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1987

Free at Last, Toronto Painting and Sculpture

by Donald B. Kuspit (article)

C Magazine, Winter 1985

Distance, Desire: Shirley Wiitasalo’s Landscape Images

by Peggy Gale (article)

Vancouver Magazine, Fall 1985

The Allegorical Image in Recent Canadian Painting

by Bruce Grenville (exhibition catalogue)

Kingston: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, 1985

Late Capitalism

by Tim Guest (exhibition catalogue)

Toronto: Art Gallery at Harbourfront, 1985

Subjects in Pictures

by Philip Monk and Antonio Guzman
(exhibition catalogue)

Toronto: YYZ, 1984

Fiction: Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, April 2-May 30

by Philip Monk (review)

Parachute, September/November 1982


by Elke Town (exhibition catalogue)

Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1982

Shirley Wiitasalo: Carmen Lamanna Gallery

by Bruce Ferguson (review)

Parachute, Summer 1980

Kanadische Künstler

by Jean-Christophe Ammann
(exhibition catalogue)

Basel, Switzerland: Kunsthalle Basel, 1978

Some Canadian Women Artists

by Mayo Graham (exhibition catalogue)

Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1975