2022 exhibitions

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Alexander Finlay – Alter ego

March 26 to July 3, 2022

Exhibition documentation images

Alter ego continues my dissection of altered superheroes through portraiture. I use iconic costumes and drag queen makeup to give each character a new identity. It is deliberate that some of the models don't have an exact resemblance to their character. These portraits represent freedom and were shaped by how the models see themselves. They personify confidence, vulnerability, stereotypes, and gender roles.

My previous projects examined specific elements of identity, including work uniform, pop culture, and drag. When I originally began working with drag queens, I started to see drag in a new light and discovered the experimental nature of dress, fashion and gender performance on stage. In my work, I am interested in identifying and expanding the definition of “costume.” A costume can either express or hide a person’s true identity. I use camp and drag sensibility to subvert traditional expectations. Drag queens “mask” their true selves on stage but are also comfortable in their own skins. They live double lives on and off the stage. My work poses questions to shift people’s perceptions and push societal norms.


Alexander Finlay is a visual artist in Gatineau, Canada whose art practice focuses on analogue portrait photography. His images explore identity and sexuality through pop culture references, the experimental nature of dress, and the concept of gender performance. Finlay has a diploma from the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa (2020). His work is included in the City of Ottawa Art Collection (2021) and he completed a six-month residency at the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa (2021).

Robert Hinchley – Shoreline

July 16 to October 23, 2022

Robert Hinchley, Shoreline, 2021, woodcut on paper, 57 x 76 cm, courtesy of the artist

Robert Hinchley, Shoreline 17, 2021, woodcut on paper, 57 x 76 cm, courtesy of the artist

abstract orange, brown and white swirls and lines

Exhibition documentation images 

Shoreline is inspired by canoeing on a small lake in the Ottawa Valley. The woodcut images create an environment that represents aquatic life (lily pads, water lilies, insects, water plants, stones, wind, fish ripples, reflections) and various times of the day. The woodcut series was developed from four birch wood blocks. Hand and power tools were used in the carving. The wood blocks were inked with rollers and printed on paper. Some of the Shoreline prints were only printed once in black, and others were printed in many coloured layers with multiple blocks. The repeated imagery takes its influence from pop artist Andy Warhol’s Flowers series.


Robert Hinchley is a visual artist and educator based in Arnprior, Ontario. His work is inspired by the natural regions of Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. In 1993, Hinchley graduated with honours from the Ontario College of Art and Design (now called OCAD University). In 2019, he had a solo exhibition at The Ottawa School of Art – Downtown Campus Gallery. His work can be found in the collection of Canadian art of the Carleton University Art Gallery and the City of Ottawa Art Collection. In 2014 and 2017, Hinchley was the recipient of the Gordon J. Wood Print Purchase Prize at the Carleton University Art Gallery. He is represented by Galerie St-Laurent + Hill in Ottawa.

Sandra Hawkins – In Search of Bearings

October 29, 2022 to March 12, 2023

Artist talk: Sunday, November 27, 2 pm 
Location: Festival Plaza Control Centre, Ottawa City Hall
Access is limited to the Laurier Avenue entrance.
Free admission. Presented in English.

Sandra Hawkins, Leclercville (Chart 35) from the series In Search of Bearings, 2022, mixed media, 81 x 109 cm, courtesy of the artist 

One red and one green form on bottom right. The background is a map that includes a river and other cartographic components. The river connects with a scene of mountains at the top left of image.

Sandra Hawkins, Lavaltrie (Chart 38) from the series In Search of Bearings, 2022, mixed media, 81 x 109 cm, courtesy of the artist 

One blue and one orange form on bottom right. The background is a map that includes a river, compasses and other cartographic components.

Exhibition documentation images 

In Search of Bearings is about the psychosocial uncertainty of finding our way through changing corridors of places and identities. Sequences of used and now cancelled nautical maps of the St. Lawrence Seaway are reinvented using this narrative theme. Stationary, wrapped boats, and melting glaciers are visually connected by embellished nautical symbols of water levels. The geologically carved Seaway connects our interior to contemporary globally rising ocean levels caused by melting polar glaciers.  

I am conceptually and emotionally inspired by my high Arctic sailing expedition documenting the rapid melting of glaciers in Spitsbergen Svalbard. Close to the North Pole and at the terminus of the Atlantic Gulf Stream, Svalbard is an area warming at four times the rate of the rest of the globe. This northward warming current swings by the St. Lawrence Gulf thus connecting inland tributaries, such as the St. Lawrence River, to these global forces. Painting the taut folds of the tarpaulin wrapped boats reminds me of the geological folds of the Svalbard mountains. My intent is to create spaces to which viewers bring their own interpretations.   


Sandra Hawkins is a Canadian visual multimedia artist and an author based in Ottawa. Her art provokes discussions on climate change impacts to the St. Lawrence Seaway, and on the psychosocial uncertainties of place identity. Hawkins’ practice is enhanced by the interdisciplinary artistic exchanges she did through international residencies. Her work is inspired by the 2019 tall-ship high Arctic sailing expedition she made documenting the impacts of climate change in Svalbard. Hawkins’ paintings, photographs and videos are displayed in public and private collections internationally and locally. Hawkins holds a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Ottawa, a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Architecture from Carleton University, and a Certificate in Fine Arts from St. Lawrence College with a nomination for the Premier’s Award in the Arts. Hawkins is the author of the photo book titled, Sailing the Top of the World – Climate Change in the High Arctic (2021).

Sandra Hawkins gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council.

2022 Exhibitions Peer assessment committee members

Gillian King, Cynthia O’Brien, Jakub Zdebik