Skip to main content

Karsh-Masson Gallery

Current exhibition

José Luis Torres – De l'horizontal au vertical (From Horizontal to Vertical)

May 4 to June 11, 2017

Vernissage: Thursday, May 4, 5:30 to 7:30 pm 
Tour with the artist (in French): Sunday, May 28, 2 pm

Catalogue excerpt

De l'horizontal au vertical (From Horizontal to Vertical) provides Torres with an opportunity to fill the Karsh-Masson Gallery with his personal vision and produce a newly imagined environment. The reconfigured gallery displays both the process and the result of an exercise in cartography whereby the artist maps his own reality. His way of occupying space; his approach to the transformation, presentation and manipulation of objects; even the materials he works with are all important markers of his artistic universe. After all, although site-specific art provides a clearer window into an artist’s thought process, thereby supporting a more faithful representation of reality, this reality remains steeped in subjectivity.

- Excerpt from the catalogue essay by Céline Le Merlus

Jose Luis Torres_Cartographie

José Luis Torres, Cartographie, 2016, tennis balls and steel, 110 x 80 x 20 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

Jose Luis Torres_Prospection

José Luis Torres, Prospection II, 2015, paper, metal and cork. Courtesy of the artist.José Luis Torres, Prospection II, 2015, paper, metal and cork. Courtesy of the artist.


José Luis Torres was born in Argentina. In addition to holding a bachelor's degree in visual arts and a master's degree in sculpture, he has training in architecture and integrating art with architecture. He has been living and working in Quebec since 2003. His work has been featured in many solo and group exhibitions, public art interventions and artist residencies in Canada, Argentina, the United States, Mexico and Europe.

Upcoming exhibitions

In recognition of Canada’s sesquicentennial in 2017, the City invited professional artists, artist collectives and curators working in visual arts, media arts and fine craft to propose exhibitions that address the theme of mapping.

“Mapping is a fundamental way of converting personal knowledge to transmittable knowledge.”-Arthur Howard Robinson, The Nature of Maps

Mapping includes ways of knowing, organizing and presenting the world as well as our place in it and in relation to others. It helps us track where we’ve been and where we’re going. In addition to cartography, the term mapping has been used in reference to biological, psychological and digital terrains, among others. Mapping can be physical, cultural and emotional. Like an art practice it is a process in constant transformation.

Wapikwanew: Blossom

Curator: Jaime Koebel

Artists: Barry Ace, Christi Belcourt, Simon Brascoupé, David White Deer Charette, Kelly Duquette, Myrosia Humeniuk, Nathalie Mantha, Florence Yee

June 22 to July 30, 2017
Vernissage: Thursday, June 22, 5:30 to 7:30 pm 

Through Indigenous and non-Indigenous floral cultures, the use of flowers in art objects become markers of cultural identity, a source of beauty and an act of elegance. Cultural identity through floral symbolism provides a source of distinct placement and discoveries of cultural mapping through art objects. In collaboration with the NAC’s Canada Scene.

  Artwork by Christi Belcourt
Christi Belcourt, Family, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 91 x 152 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

University of Ottawa MFA candidates – Thesis exhibitions

Kizi Spielmann Rose
August 5 to 15, 2017
Vernissage: Thursday, August 10, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

Kizi Spielmann Rose, Three Stacked Planes, 2017,
Kizi Spielmann Rose, Three Stacked Planes, 2017, oil pastel and flashe on panel, 30.5 x 35.5 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

Jonathan Théroux St-Cyr
August 19 to 29, 2017
Thursday, August 24, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

Jonathan Théroux St-Cyr, But it’s getting there (video still), 2016,
Jonathan Théroux St-Cyr, But it’s getting there (video still), 2016, digital video projection, 38:00 min. Courtesy of the artist.

As a supplement to our regular programming, Karsh-Masson Gallery is pleased to partner with the University of Ottawa’s Department of Visual Arts to provide a valuable mentorship and professional development opportunity.

Continuum – Karsh Award artists welcome a new generation

Curator: Melissa Rombout

September 14 to October 22, 2017
Vernissage: Thursday, September 14, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

Continuing an intergenerational chain of mentorship that fosters camera-based innovation, past Karsh Award laureates have selected seven emergent artists: Joi T. Arcand, AM Dumouchel, Leslie Hossack, Olivia Johnston, Julia Martin, Meryl McMaster and Ruth Steinberg. Presented as part of Canada’s 150th anniversary, this special exhibition celebrates the future of artistic achievement in a photo-based medium.

 Artwork by Leslie Hossack et AM Dumouchel
Left: Leslie Hossack, Bunker, Juno Beach, Courseulles-sur-Mer, 2015, pigment ink on cotton fibre, 81 x 122 cm. Courtesy of the artist.
Right: AM Dumouchel, ROYAL (RAMSCHAKLE 2), 2016, digital collage, 112 x 157 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

Khadija Baker – Behind Walls/Maps 

November 2 to December 3, 2017
Thursday, November 2, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

Khadija Baker is interested in how countries create official histories while unwanted memories of the marginalized are erased or suppressed to serve a new political agenda. The map is essentially an arbitrary, artificial notion that does not necessarily correspond to people’s day-to-reality. Baker’s work explores how the processes of exile, loss, and erasure affect the identity, memory and history of individuals and communities. 

 Artwork by Khadija Baker
Khadija Baker, Behind Walls/Maps (installation view), 2008, 80 clay spheres, strings spun from clothing, sand, audio and video, variable dimensions. Photo: Guy l'Heureux, courtesy of the artist.

Mélanie Myers – Ce qui touche au sol (What Touches the Ground)

December 14, 2017 to January 21, 2018
Vernissage: Thursday, December 14, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

Mélanie Myers uses drawing and the fabrication of objects to modify the all too familiar urban environment. This exhibition is an observation of systems and incentive measures put in place to ensure the adequate administration of a city. To highlight certain variances in conduct, the spaces assigned to the residence and the landscape, as well as to traffic and contemplation, are represented in a realistic yet improbable way.

 Artwork by Mélanie Myers
Mélanie Myers, Sans titre (eau), 2015, graphite on paper, 152 x 150 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

Call for proposals: 2018 exhibitions

Public Art Program – Karsh-Masson‎ Gallery & City Hall Art Gallery

Photos (left to right): Karina Bergmans – Ligaments and Ligatures, City Hall Art Gallery; Full Catastrophe, Karsh-Masson Gallery

Deadline: Monday, May 1st, 2017

Information meeting: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 7 pm
Karsh-Masson Gallery, 110 Laurier Avenue West, main floor
A short presentation in English will be followed by a bilingual question and answer period.

The City of Ottawa invites professional artists and curators to propose exhibitions. Proposals are reviewed by a peer assessment committee and selected exhibitions will be presented at Karsh-Masson Gallery or City Hall Art Gallery in 2018.

Exhibitions at Karsh-Masson and City Hall art galleries feature the work of professional artists working in visual art, media art and fine craft, including solo, two-person and group exhibitions; curated exhibitions; exhibitions from the diplomatic sector, and circulating exhibitions from other institutions. Annual programming includes artist talks, tours and panel discussions as well as one exhibition of the City of Ottawa Art Collection and one exhibition of artwork by a graduating student from the University of Ottawa MFA program.

Karsh-Masson and City Hall art galleries are located on the main level at Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West. Both galleries are open daily from 9 am to 8 pm. Admission is free.

A public gallery is a forum for the exploration of diverse ideas. The City of Ottawa exhibits artwork in all media that are of interest and importance to the community, that foster a sense of who we are, and that reflect current artistic practice. These exhibitions are presented in the public domain allowing for an appreciation, understanding and interpretation of our past and present through gallery programming.

Gallery Floor Plans

New this year!

All documents can be sent electronically via WeTransfer. 


  • This call for proposals is open to professional visual artists and curators who are emerging, mid-career or established, and working in visual art, media art, fine craft, design and other new art forms. A professional artist is someone who has specialized training in his or her artistic field (not necessarily in academic institutions), who is recognized by his or her peers as such, is committed to his or her artistic activity, and has a history of public presentation.
  • Applicants who have exhibited at Karsh-Masson Gallery within the last two consecutive years are not eligible to apply. City of Ottawa employees and elected representatives are not eligible to apply.

Only one proposal per applicant will be considered.

Artwork exhibited at Karsh-Masson and City Hall art galleries that requires electrical components must be approved and inspected in accordance with the rules defined in the Ontario Electrical Safety Code (OESC), as well as Canadian Standards Association (CSA) prior to acceptance by or installation at the Gallery. For more information, visit the Electrical Safety Authority at

The City of Ottawa supports cultural activity that is inclusive of Ottawa's diverse community, including people from diverse ancestries, abilities, ages, countries of origin, cultures, genders, incomes, languages, races and sexual orientations. The City of Ottawa recognizes the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation as Ottawa’s Indigenous Host Nation. Applications from artists and curators of diverse origins including First Nations, Inuit and Métis are welcome and encouraged. The City of Ottawa recognizes both official languages as having the same rights, status and privileges.


All eligible proposals are reviewed by a peer assessment committee based on the following criteria:

  • artistic merit and professionalism
  • regional importance and innovation
  • quality and cohesiveness of the artwork examples and the written proposal statement
  • appropriateness of the proposal to the public nature of the gallery space

Each peer assessment committee consists of three art professionals. Individual committee members first review the proposals independently then meet to review them together. The composition of each committee aims to balance representation of artistic specialization, practice, style and philosophy, as well as fair representation of official languages, gender, geographic areas and culture-specific communities. Peer assessment committee members are invited to participate by City employees based on their knowledge and experience, fair and objective opinions, ability to articulate ideas, and ability to work in a team environment. Committee members change with every competition. If you are interested in participating as a committee member, please email


Send your proposal by WeTransfer or by mail:

  • WeTransfer
    Send all support material electronically using WeTransfer to
  • Mail
    Send a CD, DVD or USB device containing your support material to the mailing address below. Include your name, mailing address, telephone number and email address on or with the CD, DVD or USB device.

Call for proposals: 2018 exhibitions
City of Ottawa Public Art Program
172 Guigues Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 5H9

Proposals can also be delivered in person to the Routhier Community Centre first floor customer service desk, 172 Guigues Avenue, 613-244-4470. Do not deliver your proposal directly to Karsh-Masson Gallery or to City Hall Art Gallery.

Proposal guidelines & requirements

  • A complete proposal must include the support material listed below.
  • Support material may be written in English or French.
  • Proposals are considered for both galleries.
  • Files must be saved in a format compatible with Windows 7.
  • To format a PDF document utilize Save as, or Export, from a Word or similar text based document.
  • Support material items 1, 3, and 4 can be saved as one PDF.

Support material

1. Proposal statement
Describe the proposed exhibition’s content and a coherent theme for your show. Two pages or 800 words maximum. Save as a PDF.

2. Proposal synopsis
Summarize the proposal statement. The peer assessment committee will refer to the synopsis as a quick reference during deliberations. 80 words maximum. Save as a PDF.

3. Artistic résumé
Include your name, mailing address, telephone number and email address. If multiple artists are involved, include each artist’s résumé and indicate one contact person. Three pages maximum (per artist). Save as a PDF.

4. Image/media list
Include the following information about each image/media file submitted: file number, artist’s name, artwork title, date of work (year), medium and support, metric dimensions, and duration of artwork (if applicable). One page maximum. Save as a PDF.

5. Digital images and/or video or time-based media files
Ten digital image files or ten minutes total of video/media content that support the proposal statement and follow the guidelines listed below.

  • At least half of the images/media files submitted must be artwork that will be included in your final exhibition should your proposal be successful.
  • Curated, two-person and group exhibitions: send ten files maximum.
  • Applicants who wish to include a combination of digital images and video/new media files: send ten files maximum with no more than ten minutes of content total. For each minute of video/media content, remove one digital image. 
  • Strict adherence to naming convention is necessary for images to be successfully viewed during the peer assessment committee meeting.

Image files must be:

  • Saved as JPG, TIFF or BMP
  • 72 dpi, no larger than 2 MB each. RGB format with a maximum of 1240 pixels (length or width).
  • Named with the corresponding image list number, artwork title, date of work (year), medium and support, and metric dimensions, each separated by an underscore. Do not leave a space before or after the underscore. For example:
    01_Xylophage_2014_wood and paint_20 x 30 x 40 cm.jpg            
    02_The Mountain_2014_graphite, acrylic and metal_96 x 106 cm.jpg
    03_Untitled 2_2013_chromogenic print on paper_206 x 122 cm.tiff
    04_Untitled 2 detail_2013_chromogenic print on paper_206 x 122 cm.tiff
    05_Untitled 2 alternate view_2013_chromogenic print on paper_206 x 122 cm.tiff
    06_Untitled 3_2010_LED and resin_1 x 4 x 7 m.jpg
    07_Untitled 3 view at night_2010_LED and resin_1 x 4 x 7 m.bmp
    08_Untitled 4 framed_ 2006_oil paint on canvas_85 x 95 cm.bmp
    09_Installation at Karsh-Masson Gallery_2005_mixed media_variable dimensions.jpg
    10_Reason Over Passion_1968_quilted cloth assemblage_257 x 302 cm.jpg

Video/time-based media files must be:

  • Saved as MP4, MOV, AVI or WMV
  • Viewable in Windows Media Player or VLC
  • No larger than 500 MB each
  • Named with the corresponding media list number, artwork title, date of work (year), medium, and duration, each separated by an underscore. Do not leave a space before or after the underscore. For example:
    01_Memorial_2012_looped video_2 min.mp4
    02_Echelles_2014_video_4 min 30
    03_Diaries_2014_video_6 min.avi

Support material that requires specialized software, plug-ins, extensions, or other executables that need to be downloaded or installed (e.g. website hyperlinks or presentations such as PowerPoint) will not be reviewed. Applicants are responsible for testing support materials to ensure readability. The City of Ottawa is not responsible for any loss or damage to support material. CDs, DVDs and USB devices will not be returned. Please retain a copy for your records.

Deadline and notification

Proposals must be received by Monday, May 1st, 2017 or postmarked on or before this date. Late or incomplete proposals will not be accepted.

Receipt of your application will be acknowledged by email. This email does not confirm that your application is eligible. Applicants will be notified of the peer assessment committee’s decisions by email approximately three months after the proposal deadline. Artistic feedback will not be provided.


Exhibiting artists will be paid an exhibition fee as outlined by the 2018 CARFAC Fee Schedule.  Curators will receive a professional curatorial fee.

The City of Ottawa Public Art Program does not reimburse expenses related to travel, transportation of artwork and accommodation, nor are per diem fees paid.

Public consultation

Following the peer assessment committee’s deliberations, the selected exhibitions will be announced on Members of the public are invited to bring forward, within a 30 day period, any concern that the peer assessment committee did not follow the publicly announced criteria and procedures.

Confidentiality of information

Personal Information in your submission is collected under the authority of the City Council approved Public Art Policy.  

Personal information will only be used for evaluating your submission and administering the City of Ottawa Public Art Program. City of Ottawa employees and peer assessment committee members are required to treat both the content of submissions and the deliberations of the committee as confidential.

Copyright and moral rights

The artist shall retain the copyright of the artworks. Moral rights also remain with the artist. The City of Ottawa will seek copyright permission to reproduce images of the artwork for non-commercial purposes.

Contact us

Karsh-Masson and City Hall Art galleries are operated by the City of Ottawa Public Art Program.

Accessible formats and communication supports are available upon request. If you are unable to view documents or require alternative file formats, please complete an Accessible Formats Document Request Form.

Are you on the list? Email with the subject line “subscribe – exhibitions” and receive emails about gallery exhibitions, programming and calls for proposals.

Location and hours

Karsh-Masson Gallery
City Hall
110 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 1J1

Open daily 9 am to 8 pm, including holidays.

Free admission. Wheelchair accessible. Parking available. 

613-580-2424 ext. 14167
TTY: 613-580-2401

Named for renowned portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh and painter Henri Masson, this municipal gallery features artwork by local, national and international professional artists working in various styles and mediums. 

Exhibits on display at Karsh-Masson Gallery have been selected by an independent, professional arts jury. The artwork, themes, points of view or comments conveyed in each exhibit are those of the artist and do not represent those of the City of Ottawa.