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RBC Artist Incubator Lab

Gallery A and the RBC Artist Incubator Lab are an innovative exhibition and studio space within The Robert McLaughlin Gallery that support community activation and provide artists with professional development opportunities. The Artist Incubator Lab is a space for creativity and experimentation that strives to support the local arts ecosystem. The space provides artists with an opportunity to experiment, innovate, and grow their artistic practice. While in residence, artists are encouraged to create new work, generate bold ideas, have vision, and make meaningful connections with our visitors and our community.


RBC Artist Incubator Lab Programming


RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program


The RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program is generously sponsored by the RBC Foundation and the RBC Emerging Artist Project.



Current Artist in Residence

Jaspal Birdi

Residency Dates: September 8 – December 13, 2020

Exhibition: Can I play outside? December 18, 2020 – January 24, 2021

We are excited to introduce the RMG’s fall RBC Emerging Artist in Residence: Jaspal Birdi. Jaspal will be working in the Artist Incubator Lab until December 13, 2020 on a project called, Can I play outside? Fusing photography and painting in large-scale works, the artist will draw on her own memories and experiences to create new paintings of suburban environments. The work will be exhibited in Gallery A at the end of her residency. The exhibition will invite viewers to contribute overlapping stories and novel interactions with the artist’s imagined worlds, encouraging community collaboration, integration, and sustainability.

Jaspal Birdi is a Canadian artist who combines photography and painting by experimenting with contemporary technologies. Born in Toronto, Canada 1988, Birdi completed her BFA in drawing and painting from OCAD University 2010, a Masters in Arts Management from Istituto Europeo di Design 2013, and a Specialization in Curating Contemporary Art from Venice School of Curatorial Studies 2016. She is the recipient of the Arte Laguna Solo Exhibition Prize in 2013, as well as the 2017/18 Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa Artist Residency Fellowship, during which she also received the BLM Stonefly Art Award. In 2017 Birdi co-curated the exhibition “Command-Alternative-Escape” for the opening week of the Venice International Art Biennale. During the 2018 Berlin Art Week, her works were presented in “Transferred Recall,” a curated solo exhibition. Currently, Birdi is a 2020 Visual Arts Fellow for the Fondazione Culturale SanFedele Art Prize.

Previous Artists in Residence

Sophie Sabet

Residency Dates: December 16, 2019 to March 22, 2020

Exhibition: August 1 – September 24, 2020

We are excited to welcome Sophie Sabet to the RBC Artist Incubator Lab as the fourth Emerging Artist in Residence, supported by the RBC Foundation. During her residency, Sabet will be developing a multi-media installation that draws on found home-video footage from her family’s home in Iran, before they immigrated to Canada. The installation will investigate social and political themes related to family, geography, and representation.

Artist Bio: Sophie Sabet is a Toronto-based visual artist working predominantly in video. Her practice is often autobiographical and intimately traces the complexities and fluidity of the domestic sphere. She is interested in different forms of communication, creating space for empathy and the process of working through heterogeneous cultural and personal perspectives. She holds a BA in Art History from Queen’s University, and a MFA in Documentary Media Studies at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. Sabet has exhibited solo exhibitions at the Student Gallery at the Ryerson Image Centre (Toronto) in 2016 and Flux Gallery (Winnipeg) in 2017. She has participated in several artist residencies including the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in 2017 and the Vermont Studio Centre in 2018. Sabet recently completed a solo show at the Mississauga Museums for CONTACT’s 2019 photography festival (Toronto) where she received the Gattuso prize for an outstanding Featured Exhibition.

Ellen Bleiwas


Residency Dates: September 23 to December 15, 2019

Exhibition: Lithic Innards, January 3 to February 2, 2020

Reception + Artist Talk: Friday, January 3, 2019 | 7PM – 10PM

During her residency in the Artist Incubator Lab, Bleiwas will be creating a new body of sculptural work that explores the nature of ritual and cycles, including seasonal cycles, economic cycles, and political cycles. In particular,the artist will consider the vulnerability of these cycles, to aging and change over time, through her use of materials.

Artist Bio: Ellen Bleiwas is an emerging visual artist currently based in Toronto. She has recently exhibited at Idea Exchange (Cambridge), Angell Gallery (Toronto), and Art Mûr (Montreal). Bleiwas holds an MFA from York University (2017) and a Master of Architecture from McGill University (2010). She has done artist residences in Berlin, Toronto, and New York. Her practice has been supported through grants and awards from the Toronto Arts Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and 401 Richmond, through the 2017-18 Career Launcher Prize.

Brian Hoad


Residency Dates: July 2 – September 22, 2019

Exhibition: Wild Braid, September 24 – October 20, 2019

Reception + Artist Talk: October 4, 2019 | 7PM – 10PM

During his time in the Artist Incubator Lab, Brian will be developing a new body of work inspired by his familial history and recent experiments with new mediums and abstraction. This new work will draw on the shapes, colours, and forms of traditional quilt patterns, Brian’s existing printmaking practice, and lived experience in some of Ontario’s natural landscapes, allowing him to react to nature in new and exciting ways.

Artist Bio: Brian Hoad is a visual artist from Port Hope, ON. He received his Bachelor of Fine Art Honours, Visual Art in 2015 from Queen’s University and Master of Fine Art, Visual Art in 2017 from the University of Regina. He maintains a studio practice at Dead On Collective in Kingston, ON, where he works as the Technician Supervisor for the Fine Art (Visual Art) Program at Queen’s University. Prior to attending university, Hoad served as a full-time studio assistant to Canadian Artist David Blackwood while receiving instruction in traditional oil painting methods, copper etching, and woodcut. His practice-based research has been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation.

Alex R.M. Thompson


Residency Dates: April 1 – June 23, 2019

Exhibition: Civic Study (interim), July 7 – 28, 2019

Reception + Artist Talk: July 27, 2019 | 2PM – 4PM | Artist Talk 2:30PM

Alex R.M. Thompson is the first artist in our newly launched RBC Emerging Artist Residency Program. Using the studio space in the Artist Incubator Lab, Alex will be working on two projects over the course of his residency.  Advancing a project currently in-progress; Alex will be working on prototypes for an artist’s book. His interest in installation will shape his second project, which will be a collaborative drawing/animation piece. Stop by the Lab to meet Alex and learn more about this work and ongoing practice in installation and print-based mediums.

Artist Bio: Alex R.M. Thompson is a Brantford-born, Toronto-based artist, working with installation and print-based media. He graduated from OCAD University’s Printmaking program in 2013, earning the medal for his year. He has exhibited work at Art Toronto, The Artist Project, Nuit Blanche, Studio Sixty Six (Ottawa), and Timeraiser 150 at the Power Plant. He is an active member at Open Studio in Toronto, where he also acts as a custom printer and teaches etching, and has been an artist-in-residence at Centre[3] and the Banff Centre. His practice investigates the relationship between the urban environment and its occupants, and the architectural representation of meaning.