2023 exhibitions

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Cat Attack Collective - Walk in the Park

February 23 to May 12, 2023 

Opening: Thursday, February 23, 5:30 to 7:30 pm 

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

Access is limited to the Laurier Avenue entrance during exhibit events. 

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, colorful 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 25, 2023 

Opening: Thursday, May 25, 5:30 to 7:30 pm 

Access is limited to the Laurier Avenue entrance during exhibit events.    

John Healey, Cloud (detail), 2019, pigment ink on paper, 102 x 76 cm, courtesy of the artist 

A white and grey cloud form floats against a stark black background.

Plastic Beach reminds us of the cost of convenience and documents our unrelenting poisoning of the environment and ultimately of ourselves. These images of plastic items recovered from the shores of the Great Lakes and other key locations along the St. Lawrence River are the messages in a bottle that have washed up on our shore. 

Manon Labrosse and Sharon VanStarkenburg - Re-Wilding

September 7 to November 17, 2023 

Opening: Thursday, September 7, 5:30 to 7:30 pm 

Access is limited to the Laurier Avenue entrance during exhibit events.    

(left to right) Sharon Van Starkenburg, Sun Dog (detail), 2021, oil on panel, 76 x 76 cm, courtesy of the artist; Manon Labrosse, Blasted Heath (detail), 2022, acrylic on mylar, 365 x 246 cm, courtesy of the artist 

On the left, a featureless face with the shadow of a hand further obscuring the figure. The background is a teal colour, with white paint dripping down the right side of the image. On the right there are green and yellow swirling lines form a green and yellow mass at the bottom of this image. The background is a blend of light purple, blue, yellow and white.

Re-Wilding brings together the work of Manon Labrosse and Sharon VanStarkenburg in an exhibition exploring natural landscapes as metaphors. Labrosse creates imaginary landscapes inspired by movies, literature and her own photos of the wilderness. She explores the idea of metempsychosis through anthropomorphic landscapes. VanStarkenburg depicts female figures in conjunction with animals and nature as an expression of intersubjectivity; her figures are viscerally and psychologically intertwined with their environments. 

City of Ottawa Art Collection – 2023 Additions

December 1, 2023 to February 9, 2024 

Opening: Thursday, December 7, 5:30 to 7:30 pm 

Access is limited to the Laurier Avenue entrance during exhibit events.    

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

2023 Exhibitions Peer assessment committee members

Gillian King, Cynthia O’Brien, Jakub Zdebik