2023 exhibitions

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Cat Attack Collective - Walk in the Park

February 23 to May 14, 2023 

Opening: Thursday, February 23, 5:30 to 7:30 pm
Access is limited to the Laurier Avenue entrance. 

Artists’ tour: Sunday, April 16, 2 pm
Free admission. Presented in English. 

Cat Attack Collective, SS Same Boat (installation detail), 2021, mixed media, variable dimensions, courtesy of the artists, photo: Justin Wonnacott

A multi-coloured installation made of various fabrics fills a gallery space. Paintings hang on the wall behind the installation.

Cat Attack Collective, Fresh Air (detail of diptych), 2020, oil and acrylic on canvas, 122 x 310 cm, courtesy of the artists 

A vibrant, multi-coloured painting of two figures with stylized features.

Exhibition documentation images

Exhibition booklet [ PDF - 3.7 MB ]

Sometimes, the best way to explore the real world is to dive into an imaginary one. Cat Attack Collective has built a fantastical, colourful park landscape where a plastic-wrapped tree emerges from the gallery walls and columns, and acrylic treats beckon from canvas diptychs. Visitors to this indoor park are invited to make their own paths through the space while reliving the pandemic practices of the mother-son duo who comprise Cat Attack Collective. The works ask visitors to reconsider common assumptions about authorship, originality, and creativity. What makes a park? What makes a family? And what, or who, makes art? 

The multimedia installations in Walk in the Park celebrate the value of sharing space for self-expression, whether that space is on a video screen, outdoors, or in an artist’s studio. At the beginning of the pandemic, Cat Attack Collective took daily walks at a local park. Later, they moved their collaborations into Bruvels’ studio at the University of Ottawa. 

- Excerpt by Victoria Solan


Cat Attack Collective consists of Natalie Bruvels and her son Tomson. They are a multidisciplinary collective working primarily in painting and large-scale installations. Established in 2020, Cat Attack Collective has exhibited at the University of Ottawa, Art Mûr, the Ottawa Art Gallery and along the Greenboro Pathway as part of Microcosm, the City of Ottawa Public Art Program’s COVID-19 pivot initiative (2020).

Natalie Bruvels holds a Master of Fine Arts (2021) and a Master of Arts in Contemporary Art Theory (2022) both from the University of Ottawa. She is currently enrolled in the Feminist and Gender Studies PhD program at the University of Ottawa. Bruvels is researching maternal subjectivity in art and visual culture, while advocating for caregiving supports in a university setting. Bruvels has presented the work of Cat Attack Collective at various online academic conferences, including the annual academic conference Museum of Motherhood in St. Petersburg, Florida; she has subsequently been published in the online journal, The Journal of Mother Studies (2022). She is represented by Studio Sixty Six.    

Tomson (also known as Zip-Tie Guy) is in grade six and is happy to be back at school in person to spend more time with his friends. He loves dodgeball and has a special affinity for zip-ties as an artistic material.  He is the youngest artist to have his work exhibited at the Ottawa Art Gallery.  

Cat Attack Collective gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council.

John Healey – Plastic Beach

May 25 to August 27, 2023 

Opening: Thursday, May 25, 5:30 to 7:30 pm 
Access is limited to the Laurier Avenue entrance. 

Artist tour: Friday, June 16, 12 pm 
Free admission. Presented in English. 

John Healey, Composition #4, 2022, digital C-Print, 122 x 165 cm, courtesy of the artist  

A photograph of various bits of plastic, fibre and cloth. Objects shown include a plastic water bottle, red frisbee, a plastic cup and a white cloth. These objects sit on a dark wooden table with a black tablecloth. Black curtains in the top right corner. The background is a black wall.

John Healey, Styrofoam Cloud, 2019, archival inkjet print, 102 x 76 cm, courtesy of the artist 

A photograph showing a grey and white cloud, made from Styrofoam pieces, floating against a plain black background.

Exhibition documentation images

Exhibition booklet [ PDF - 1.7 MB ] 

With the precision of a gentle archaeologist, Ottawa-based artist John Healey quietly began a collection of plastic objects he found along the rocky shores of the St Lawrence Seaway. He took his findings home, photographed them, and examined everything, trying to understand the mystery of each object; what it is, who threw it away, and why it was there in the first place. But these questions can be nearly impossible to answer. So why are Healey’s images so captivating, and feel like they are more than a simple reminder of our wasteful habits? What can his collection featured in this exhibition entitled Plastic Beach add to the complicated conversation that surrounds responsibility and legacy of plastics in Canada?   

Through masterful lighting and presentation, Healey brings forward imaginative ways to reuse materials, reigniting a desire for plastic, even as waste. Drawing on low light museum techniques, these plastic objects float in a historiographical context as if they’ve always been there and will be here forevermore, which in fact, will be the case. 

- Excerpt by Darren Pottie 


John Healey (he/him) is a devoted photographer and instructor who grew up along the St. Lawrence River in Brockville, Ontario. His work has been shown nationally at the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival in 2017 and 2020. His work has garnered numerous awards, including winner of the 2020 Project X, Photography Award and First Prize winner for the international Figureworks competition in 2019. Healey lives in Ottawa, on the unceded territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation and is currently an instructor at the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa (SPAO).  

The artist gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council. 

Manon Labrosse and Sharon Van Starkenburg - Re-Wilding

September 7 to November 19, 2023 

Opening: Thursday, September 7, 5:30 to 7:30 pm 
Access is limited to the Laurier Avenue entrance.

Artists' tour: Tuesday, November 14, 12 pm
Free admission. Presented in English. 

Sharon Van Starkenburg, Bascule (diptych), 2023, oil on canvas, 183 x 244 cm, photo: Tom Evans

Artwork depicting a crouching female figure and a brown horse leaping over her.

Manon Labrosse, re-wilding (detail), 2023, acrylic on mylar, 457 x 228 cm, courtesy of the artist

Artwork depicting abstractions of various foliage in cool tones.

Exhibition documentation images

Exhibition booklet [ PDF – 2.4 MB ] 

Re-Wilding presents paintings by Manon Labrosse and Sharon Van Starkenburg exploring natural landscapes as metaphor. The term “rewilding” refers to the movement of the same name, which encourages a return to a more wild, natural state. Through their separate bodies of work, Labrosse and Van Starkenburg use scenes of nature combined with symbolism, mythology and surrealism to investigate the notion of human rewilding.   

The term “rewilding” comes from the world of conservation biology and is defined as a progressive approach that enables natural processes to shape human-disturbed (and often damaged) landscapes into healthy, diverse, and sustainable ecosystems. In its simplest terms, it refers to the active transformation from an impacted state to a natural state. The concept of “human rewilding,” recommends conscious undoing of human domestication. Domestication, in this sense, refers to how humans are shaped to become conforming members of society. When viewed through a feminist lens, the term refers specifically to the role girls and women play in a culture structured to benefit and empower men.   

- Excerpt by Rose Ekins


Manon Labrosse is an Ottawa-based visual artist. Labrosse studied visual arts at the University of Ottawa and has been exhibiting her work in Quebec and Ontario since 2004. She has received multiple grants, including from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Ontario Arts Council and the Ottawa Arts Council.  

Sharon Van Starkenburg is an artist, curator and instructor based in Ottawa. She studied at the University of Ottawa and New York University. Van Starkenburg’s work can be found in international private and public collections. She has received multiple grants and awards, as well as artist residencies. 

Rising Tide: 2023 Additions to the City of Ottawa Art Collection

December 1st, 2023 to February 11, 2024 

Opening: Thursday, December 14, 5:30 to 7:30 pm 
Speeches will begin at 6 pm.
Access is limited to the Laurier Avenue entrance.

Jude Griebel, Flight Path, 2020, wood, clay, acrylic, 63.5 x 79 x 94 cm, 2023-0020, photo: Blaine Campbell

A sculpture of various animals fleeing a forest fire along two divergent pathways. The fire is bright orange and the animals are brown toned. A small blue house rests on one end of the pathway.

Dion Prints, Warriors n03, 2023, pigment print on paper, 51 x 40.5 cm, 2023-0002

A figure crouches, viewed from above so only their back, back of head and one hand at the back of their neck is visible. The figure crouches on a white, fluffy surface with red ribbon strands throughout.

Stephanie Hill, Spring Paddler, 2022, watercolour on paper, 56 x 76 cm, 2023-0023 

A painting of a bird and human hybrid figure on a bright red canoe, paddling down a stream where fish, foliage and birds surround.

Ranajit Sinha, Immersed, 2020, wood burning and acrylic on plywood and canvas, 132 x 96 cm, 2023-0042

A blue toned painting with a dark figure on the right bottom corner, facing away from the viewer. A piece of canvas has been cut or torn and hangs down.

Wolf Babe Collective, please take off your shoes, 2022, porcupine quills, coir mat, 9 x 90 x 60 cm, 2023-0003

A welcome mat with the word welcome spelled out in porcupine quills facing upward.

Exhibition documentation images

Rising Tide: 2023 Additions to the City of Ottawa Art Collection features work by 45 artists who use their artistic practices to explore themes related to a wide variety of societal challenges such as the climate emergency, numerous plights of equity and justice, housing security and the cost-of-living crisis, while offering diverse perspectives on identity and memory. The exhibition title, Rising Tide, suggests a collective sense of imminent change and growing tensions around things that may seem out of our control. The artists in this exhibition invite us to explore our relationship to time and personal history in the context of knowing and discovering ourselves and others – to reflect on our shared experiences, and our responses to the transformative properties of community and connection. 

This exhibition features a selection of artworks added to the City of Ottawa Art Collection in 2023 through purchase and commission. Artworks from the City of Ottawa Art Collection are on display in over 170 municipal spaces across the city. 

2023 Direct Purchase Peer Assessment Committee: Stéphane Alexis, Jocelyn Keays, Jim Logan, Cindy Stelmackowich, Amy Thompson 

Peer Assessment Committee members for Public Art Commissions added to the City of Ottawa Art Collection in 2023: Jill Anholt, Caitlind Brown, Hannah Claus, Michelle Gewurtz, Adrian Göllner, Yong Fei Guan, Mitchell Hall, Ann Hutchings, Jyhling Lee, Ken Lum, Bozica Radjenovic, David Seaborn, Ranajit Sinha, Jason St-Laurent, Michael Trouten

2023 Exhibitions Peer assessment committee members

Gillian King, Cynthia O’Brien, Jakub Zdebik