2024 exhibitions - Karsh-Masson Gallery

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Emily DiCarlo – Tenuous Systems

February 1 to April 14, 2024 

Opening: Thursday, February 1, 5:30 to 7:30 pm 
Access is limited to the Laurier Avenue entrance. 

Artist tour: Sunday, April 14, 2 pm  
Free admission. Presented in English. 

Emily DiCarlo, The Propagation of Uncertainty (video still), 2020, three-channel video installation and server racks, 5:40 min., courtesy of the artist

A video still of a clock, with its hands pointing to twelve. Various buttons and screens are below the clock. Text above the clock reads “National Research Council of Canada”

Emily DiCarlo, Circular T: A Collection of Uncertainties (installation detail), 2020, HD video with stereo sound, binders, transmission reports, 51:16 min., courtesy of the artist, photo: Alison Postma

A three-ring, red binder is open and showing white paper in the binder.

Exhibition documentation images

Exhibition booklet [ PDF – 2.2 MB ] 

Toronto-based artist Emily DiCarlo’s exhibition Tenuous Systems demonstrates through multi-channel video and sound installations the many ways in which clock time is variable, vulnerable, and far from absolute. Known officially as Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which is measured at the Greenwich meridian (0° longitude) in Greenwich, England, clock time purports to standardize time across borders, cultures, and economies. While we might describe time as stilling, skipping, dragging, marching or flowing, our lives are forever grinding against the 24-hour standard. And yet, the reality of time is far more slippery. Subject to human error, environmental catastrophe, and even shifts in consciousness, time is not static and changeless, but rather actively produced by governments, corporations, and even individuals. In this way, DiCarlo invites us to imagine time not as an abstracted, universal measurement indifferent to our existence, but as an embodied entity, endlessly woven into the fabric of our ordinary, everyday lives.    

- Excerpt by Justine Kohleal


Emily DiCarlo’s interdisciplinary practice considers site, temporality and collaboration as the foundational principles for meaning-making, connecting the infrastructure of time with the intimacy of duration. She writes about the sociopolitical implications of predominant time structures in contrast to alternative temporalities through feminist phenomenology, queer time theory and more-than-human ontologies.

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

Christine Fitzgerald – Requiem

2023 Karsh Award Laureate

Curator: Melissa Rombout 

May 9 to July 21, 2024 

Opening: Thursday, May 9, 5:30 to 7:30 pm
Speeches will begin at 6 pm.
Access is limited to the Laurier Avenue entrance. 

Moderated panel discussion: Friday, June 7, noon to 1:30 pm
Free admission. Bilingual presentation. Presented in-person and virtually

“Natural History Collections and Creative Exchange: Christine Fitzgerald’s Photographs of Specimens”  

  • Moderator: Dr. Melissa Rombout (exhibition curator) 
  • Panellists: Christine Fitzgerald (2023 Karsh Award Laureate), Dr. Danika Goosney (President and CEO, Canadian Museum of Nature), Guy Levesque (Associate Vice-President, Innovation, Partnerships and Entrepreneurship, University of Ottawa) 

This panel discussion considers innovative approaches to creative collaboration across disciplines and how activating aesthetic reconsideration of scientific collections addresses our present moment of ecological precarity. 

Artist and curator tour: Sunday, June 23, 2 pm 
Free admission. Bilingual presentation. Presented in-person. 

Christine Fitzgerald, Murre Egg, 2023, duo-colour gum impressions on palladium on archival rag, 69 x 58 cm (framed), Canadian Museum of Nature Collection, courtesy of the artist 

Photograph of a white and gold speckled bird egg on a white background with blue and gold painted brushstrokes around the edges.

Christine Fitzgerald, Long-tailed Jaeger, 2023, pigmented gum impressions on palladium on archival rag, 57 x 44 cm (framed), Natural History Museum Collection, Tring, UK, courtesy of the artist 

Sepia toned photograph of a deceased bird. The bird has a tag on its foot, identifying it as a museum specimen.

Exhibition documentation images

Exhibition booklet [ PDF – 2.9 MB ] 

The Karsh Award honours the artistic legacy of celebrated Ottawa photographers Yousuf and Malak Karsh. It is presented every four years to a local mid-career or established artist for their outstanding body of work and their significant contribution to the artistic discipline in a photo/lens-based medium.  

Requiem features fascinating photographs of natural history specimens by Christine Fitzgerald through which the pleasures of looking and the experience of wonder are again present. During her artist residencies studying natural history collections, Fitzgerald selected specimens, collected long ago by naturalists for scientific study, situating these formerly living creatures within a tradition of photographic image-making itself. Fitzgerald presents each unique specimen as the precious object it appeared to be to its bygone human collector. Fitzgerald’s photographs are in themselves material objects: she intermingles digital images with a resuscitation of bygone photographic techniques, practised during the same era of avid specimen collecting—daguerreotypy, wet collodion plates, platinum and palladium printing onto archival rag, pigmented gum impressions.

- Excerpt by Dr. Melissa Rombout 


Christine Fitzgerald is a photo-based artist and the City of Ottawa’s 2023 Karsh Award Laureate. In her practice, she merges historical photographic methods with digital technology, experimenting with photographic printing techniques, substrates, and the manual application of pigment. Fitzgerald experiments with the imperfections and permutations achieved from mixing current and obsolete photographic techniques, allowing her to push the boundaries of her medium and create a unique aesthetic. Fitzgerald is a graduate of SPAO: Photographic Arts Centre, and Acadia and Dalhousie universities. Her work is held in private and public collections and has been featured by the CBC, The Washington Post, and National Geographic. Fitzgerald was selected in 2016 as the Fine Art Photographer of the Year by the Lucie Foundation in New York City, and in 2017 she was a category winner of the International Julia Margaret Cameron Competition for Women Photographers. Her artwork was part of the 2019 Open Channels National Exhibition at the Âjagemô Hall Gallery at the Canada Council for the Arts, and then featured in 2020 at the International Book Fair in Frankfurt, Germany. In 2020, her artwork was at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC as part of the featured exhibition, New Light: Canadian Women Artists. Her large collage of cyanotype prints was a top jury selection for Art & Science Initiatives showcased at the influential American Geophysical Union International 2022 Meeting in Chicago, IL, and in 2023, Fitzgerald’s solo exhibition Vanishing was featured at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

Dr. Melissa Rombout is an independent curator and lecturer on histories of photography. She received her Ph.D. from the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis and has had a prolific career working with museums, libraries, and archives in Canada and internationally. Her recent doctoral research revisited J.L. Austin’s How to Do Things with Words (1961) in her proposal for a theoretical blueprint to consider the performativity of contemporary art as political speech. Her current curatorial projects focus on collaborative practices between artists and scientists in fostering environmental advocacy and the resurgence of “extinct” photographic technologies as medium and metaphor in addressing eco-anxiety.

Aylin Abbasi, Nic Cooper, Theo J. Cuthand, Kama La Mackerel and Cara Tierney – Origin Story

Curator: Ash Barbu 

August 1 to October 27, 2024  

Opening: Thursday, August 1, 5:30 to 7:30 pm
Access is limited to the Laurier Avenue entrance. 

Cara Tierney, Back and Forth, 2011, chromogenic print on paper, 81 x 102 cm, courtesy of the artist 

Two figures wearing plaid shirts, one blue, one red, face eachother. The setting is natural, with water on either side of the peninsula on which the figures stand.

Origin Story explores trans narrative agencies in times of extended crisis. Pursuing a range of material and conceptual strategies, Aylin Abbasi, Nic Cooper, Theo J. Cuthand, Kama La Mackerel, and Cara Tierney gather from the unresolved past and invent shared futures. Together, they engage with intersecting histories of trans care, queer activism, and Indigenous world making to illustrate new models of inheritance and becoming. 

Nicholas Crombach – Landslip

November 7, 2024 to January 26, 2025 

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

Nicholas Crombach, Chariot Burial, 2023, altered found objects, various types of stone, cast aluminum, brass, glass, porcelain, 3D printed plastics, cement, wood, gypsum epoxy, fiberglass, paint, flocking, 200 x 305 x 180 cm, courtesy of the artist, photo: Mike Patten 

A large sculpture made of various wooden, bone-like and velvet materials.

Landslip merges past and present into a timeless universe that converges different landscapes — an archaeological site, a traffic accident, a construction zone, and the storage facilities of a museum. By drawing parallels between geological shifts and human acts of excavation, Crombach contemplates the merging of nature and culture that characterize our current geological epoch. Landslip confronts issues surrounding archaeological practices, museum display, and environmental decline. 

2024 Exhibitions Peer assessment committee members

Gabriela Avila-Yiptong, Claudia Gutierrez, Carl Stewart