June 1 – September 2, 2024

Performative Painting: LOOK PAINT REPEAT + International Passport Paintings 


Netherlands, Canada

A female artist painting a portrait of a woman in a dimly lit room.

Doreen Wittenbols NO LAND gallery (Stranger’s Collective) Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2019. Photo by Kyle Farrell.

Event Info At A Glance

Price Overview: *Pay What You Wish

Venue Overview: Gallery 235


The exhibition covers a range of works from the last five years, addressing the world’s many challenges, particularly in the United States, where Wittenbols currently resides. 

During the pandemic, Wittenbols situated her own artworks in her garden or studio and painted them from observation. She views these “paintings of paintings” as a memento mori or vanitas. This summer, she will work at Harbourfront Centre and continue the LOOK PAINT REPEAT from her art and installations on display. Wittenbols will also experiment with new directions in her practice, leaving them on view and in progress, giving us a glimpse into her migrating studio. 

For her multi-city International Passport Paintings, a project about freedom and identity, visitors are invited to participate in her artistic process. She will produce eight passport paintings per day, inspired by the days of analog photography. Wittenbols, as passport painting officer, creates a swift portrait at her migration desk with water-soluble oil paint on archival paper. 

Visitors must register for an appointment. Appointments will be scheduled at 30-minute intervals. The actual portrait will take approximately 15 minutes or less. Appointments can also be made in person at our Information Desk.

Each passport portrait will accumulate in a large grid installation until the end of the exhibition. Individual portraits will then be mailed to each participant in a special sleeve.

Note: The exhibition will be open with regular hours on the Civic Holiday, Monday, August 6.

Artist Statement

“The experimental aspect of this project lies in the process of painting extremely quickly and not knowing the subject. Through the initial steps in starting a painting, in employing the formal elements of art, I feel that I break down the person visually, in creating shapes and forms, light and dark. There is no time to think – no time to judge who is sitting in front of me. I will challenge myself to treat each participant equally but at the same time strive to make a good painting. Through this way of working the portraits become less specific and perhaps less private/personal but hopefully still retain individuality. The project is therefore also an exploration in my painting process.”

About Doreen Wittenbols

Doreen Wittenbols is a Dutch Canadian queer visual artist and migrator currently based in New York City. She is an Ontario College of Art & Design and Concordia University graduate. Her work encompasses single-session observational paintings and longer exploratory projects involving abstraction, installation, performance,  serialized painting and ephemeral art.

Since 2016, Wittenbols’ figurative painting practice has expanded to incorporate “souvenir” objects from her life and vintage items. Through installation projects and conceptually driven series, Wittenbols reworks these non-traditional art elements from female and queer LGBTQIA+ perspectives to alter or subvert their superficial significance, questioning the patriarchy and societal roles.

Doreen Wittenbols’ work has been exhibited in the UK, the Netherlands, Canada, the United States and France. Her exhibition at Harbourfront Centre will be her first major solo exhibition in Toronto, Canada.


Gallery 235

(Formerly Artport Gallery)

Wednesdays to Sundays 12pm–6pm

Large gallery located in the middle of the main building. Doors will remain open during gallery hours.

Wheelchair Accessible

235 Queens Quay W

Toronto, ON, M5J 2G8