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Karsh-Masson Gallery

Public health update

This gallery is currently closed until September 2020 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Location and hours

Exterior of Karsh-Masson Gallery

Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West
613-580-2424 ext. 14167 (TTY: 613-580-2401)

The gallery is currently closed until September 2020 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Follow us on social media to learn more about our postponed exhibits!
Summer Series: facebook.com/karshmasson

About

This 1,500 square-foot gallery is proudly named after photographer Yousuf Karsh and painter Henri Masson in honour of their contributions to Canadian art. Exhibitions are selected annually by a peer assessment committee. 

Learn More

Current exhibition

The gallery is currently closed until September 2020 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Follow us on social media to learn more about our postponed exhibits!
Summer Series: facebook.com/karshmasson 

Call for proposals: 2021 exhibitions

Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery

This competition is now closed. The Call for proposals: 2022 exhibitions at Karsh-Masson Gallery‎ and City Hall Art Gallery will be announced in March 2021.

Once a year, the City of Ottawa Public Art Program invites professional artists and curators to propose an exhibition. Proposals are reviewed by a peer assessment committee and selected exhibitions are presented at Karsh-Masson Gallery or City Hall Art Gallery the following year.

Due to the temporary postponement of the current exhibition season, successful applicants might experience scheduling delays. 

About Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery

Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery 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 and are wheelchair accessible. Admission is free.

Exhibitions at Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery feature the work of professional artists working in all media and include solo, group and curated exhibitions, exhibitions from the diplomatic sector, and circulating exhibitions from other institutions. Both galleries present a combined total of approximately 10 exhibitions annually, each of which lasts approximately eight weeks. Annual programming consists of artist talks and tours and an exhibition featuring the City of Ottawa Art Collection. An exhibition related to the Karsh Award is presented every two years at Karsh-Masson Gallery and the next one will occur in 2022. Although City Hall has 24/7 security, gallery staff are not onsite daily therefore exhibitions must be self-sufficient and cannot require regular maintenance.

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 practices. These exhibitions are presented in the public domain allowing for an appreciation, understanding and interpretation of our past and present through gallery programming.

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. The City of Ottawa is committed to supporting cultural activities that respond to the Calls to Action put forward in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report. Applications from First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists and curators are welcome and encouraged. The City of Ottawa recognizes both official languages as having the same rights, status and privileges.

Floor Plans

Eligibility

  • This call for proposals is open to professional artists and curators working in all media. 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.
  • National and international applicants are eligible, however priority is given to applicants who live, or have lived, within a 150 km radius of Ottawa or who have a local connection, such as participating in the local arts community. Successful applicants will be responsible for all costs related to shipping artwork to and from the gallery, travel and accommodation.
  • Applicants who have exhibited at Karsh-Masson Gallery or City Hall Art Gallery within the last two consecutive years are not eligible to apply.

Only one proposal per applicant will be considered. City of Ottawa employees or elected representatives are not eligible to apply.

Artworks with electrical components:

  • Artworks that require electricity must be approved by an accredited certification or evaluation agency prior to being installed at Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery. The object(s) must have an official certification mark or label indicating that the product has been independently assessed for safety. A list of recognized certification marks and labels is available.
  • For more information, visit the Electrical Safety Authority or call 1-877-ESA-SAFE (372-7233).
  • Any costs associated with meeting the certification requirement are the sole responsibility of the artist.
  • Applicants must provide documentation that their artwork(s) meets ESA standards (i.e. certification mark) in their proposal.

Honorarium

  • Exhibiting artists will be paid an exhibition fee in accordance with the 2021 CARFAC-RAAV Minimum Recommended Fee Schedule, Section 1 (Exhibition and Screening Royalty Schedule, Institutional Category I). Curators will receive a professional fee.
  • The exhibition fee and the curatorial fee include all professional services related to the preparation, installation, consultation, writing tasks, and production of artwork(s) associated with the exhibition.
  • Each exhibition is allotted one presentation fee in accordance with the 2021 CARFAC-RAAV Minimum Recommended Fee Schedule, Section 4 (C.2.0 – Presentation and Consultation fees, Flat rate per half day, under 4 hours).
  • The City of Ottawa Public Art Program does not cover expenses related to travel, accommodation, per diems and the transportation of artwork(s).
  • Complex installations of any kind requiring special equipment or specific support beyond the City of Ottawa Public Art Program’s budget are the sole responsibility of the artist.

Assessment criteria and process

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

  • Artistic merit, originality and professionalism
  • Cohesiveness of the artwork examples and the written proposal statement
  • Appropriateness and suitability of the proposal to the highly public nature of the gallery spaces
  • Technical and physical feasibility

Peer assessment committee members first review eligible applications individually 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 chosen based on their knowledge and experience, fair and objective opinions, ability to articulate ideas, and ability to work in a team environment. Members of the committee change with every competition. City employees are responsible for the selection of peer assessment committee members. If you are interested in participating as a peer assessment committee member, please email publicartprogram@ottawa.ca.

Compliance Review

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

Contact us

Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery are operated by the City of Ottawa Public Art Program.
publicartprogram@ottawa.ca
613-244-6852

Public Art Program – newsletter sign up form
By signing up for our newsletter, you will receive calls and announcements regarding the City of Ottawa Art Collection, public art commissions, and exhibitions at Karsh-Masson Gallery, City Hall Art Gallery and Corridor 45|75 all in one place. 

Compliance review: 2021 exhibitions

Posted August 1, 2020

The City of Ottawa invites you to review the exhibitions selected by the peer assessment committee for the Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery 2021 exhibition season. Within the next 30 days, members of the public may bring forward any concern that the peer assessment committee did not follow the criteria and procedures as described in the Call for proposals. Please contact publicartprogram@ottawa.ca with your concern between August 1, 2020 and August 31, 2020 at 4 pm. More information about this 30-day process is included in section 4.2 of the Public Art Policy.

Exhibitions selected by 2021 peer assessment committee

Artists: Marisa Gallemit, Claudia Gutierrez, Guillermo Trejo
Working title: Manila-Acapulco

black tubular sculpture with sharp objects poking out; white frame with delicate line work on inside canvas; black and cream coloured geometric 2D work

Proposal synopsis: Manila-Acapulco: a visual conversation between three Ottawa-based interdisciplinary artists: Claudia Gutierrez, Guillermo Trejo and Marisa Gallemit. Borrowing its name from the Manila-Acapulco Galleon, the Spanish sailing vessel that voyaged between Mexico and the Philippines from 1565 to 1815, and invoking a juncture in history when the artists’ countries of origin converged, the exhibition assembles a selection of textile, printmaking and sculptural works to activate a contemporary site of convergence and a study of the space between three distinct artistic practices.

Images (left to right):
Marisa Gallemit, Marina, 2017, wooden mask, bicycle tubes, tube valves, nails, 25 x 23 x 10 cm, courtesy of the artist
Claudia Gutierrez, Manta IV, 2020, acrylic, cotton, wool yarn on canvas, 84 x 84 cm, courtesy of the artist
Guillermo Trejo, WCS01, 2019, relief monoprint on Stonehenge paper, 76 x 56 cm, courtesy of the artist

 

Artists: Raymond Aubin, Hugo Gaudet-Dion
Working title: Agitation

installation view of this exhibit – speakers on floor, red wall and projected video

Proposal synopsis: Agitation was born of a desire to create an installation focused on the event and the experience. It includes two interactive video devices, an animated video, and printed drawings. Through their movements, spectators will attempt to reproduce the drawings that are displayed in a distorted or fragmented way on the screens, but success will always escape them, barely. They will also attempt to reproduce sound compositions. The drawings show expressive fictional characters in confusing and intense situations. Agitation deals with the nature of myth.

Image: Raymond Aubin and Hugo Gaudet-Dion, Agitation, 2019, Interactive video device, projector, Kinect sensor, computer, audio interface, speakers, animated video, tv, loop flow MP4 file, courtesy of the artists

 

Artists: Andrew Morrow, Cindy Stelmackowich, Karina Kraenzle
Working title: Stacks and Queues

a sculpture of interconnected legs and hands; a 2D drawing of abstracted bodies; an image of a non-representational curved and round sculpture in muted tones

Proposal synopsis: Stacks and Queues is a 3-artist exhibition of new and existing work from 3 Ottawa-area artists, including drawings, collages, and paintings, by Andrew Morrow, digital photographs by Karina Kraenzle, and sculptural works by Cindy Stelmackowich.

Images (left to right):
Cindy Stelmackowich, Fingers and Knees, 2017, fibreglass mannequin parts, tile, wood, 147 x 45 x 61 cm, courtesy of the artist
Andrew Morrow, The Worst Possible Thing Happening to the Best Possible Person, 2018, pastel and charcoal on paper, 46 x 61 cm, courtesy of the artist
Karina Kraenzle, Untitled, 2019, inkjet print, variable dimensions, courtesy of the artist

 

Artist: Miles Rufelds
Working title:
TBC

black and white 2D work that resembles 35 mm film both small and enlarged is fastened to a wall

Proposal synopsis: Composed of both recent works and new projects made site-specifically for the Karsh Masson /City Hall galleries, this exhibition’s photo-installations, sculptures, and videos attempt to aesthetically reckon with the overwhelming systems of global trade, transportation, resource extraction, and neo-colonial capitalist exploitation. Several new works, acting as the exhibition’s centrepieces, will specifically explore Canada’s and Ottawa’s roles in the histories of global trade, critically examining the Rideau Canal and Canadian Pacific Railroad as they contributed to the development of globalized capitalist imperialism.

Image: Miles Rufelds, Frozen Dead, Frozen Sleep, and Some Consequences, 2019, inkjet prints on premium bond, nails, yarn, rubber spraypaint, variable dimensions, courtesy of the artist

 

Artist: Pascale Théorêt-Groulx
Working title:
TBC

couple looking up at screen suspended from ceiling; tv screen balanced on a green object on floor; clear cube of water on floor

Proposal synopsis: As part of your 2021 programming, I am proposing an installation composed of video works and sculptures that explore the human desire to control the world in which we live and the impossible feat of understanding it as a whole with all its complexities. I hope to create a walkable space that suspends certainties and brings introspection, while maintaining a sense of humour and lightheartedness.

Images (left to right):
Pascale Théorêt-Groulx, 123 Go!, 2019, video installation, variable dimensions, 5‑second infinite loop, courtesy of the artist
Pascale Théorêt-Groulx, À Perpétuité, 2019, video sculpture, 39 inch TV, roll of green bubble wrap, steel wire cables, 92 x 53 x 81 cm, 5 minutes 25 seconds, courtesy of the artist
Pascale Théorêt-Groulx, Machine à bulles, 2019, sculpture, plexiglass box, pump, timer,PVC pipes, wood blocks, water, 92 x 56 x 46 cm, courtesy of the artist

 

Artist: Antonietta Grassi
Working title: Lifelines

straight line brush strokes that make an abstracted square in bright pink tones

Proposal synopsis: I would like to propose an exhibition of new paintings titled Lifelines for either the City Hall Art Gallery or the Karsh-Masson Gallery. The works reference obsolete data systems, early computer programming and textile production, and honour the forgotten history of the women who worked in these fields. Although the series was begun in 2018, many of these paintings were completed in 2020 during the pandemic. The meditative and time intensive nature of my work process provided me with a lifeline, a way to cope with the anxiety experienced during this time.

Image: Antonietta Grassi, Linkers (for Grace Hopper), 2020, oil, acrylic and ink on linen, 122 x 152 cm, courtesy of the artist

2018 exhibitions

Barbara Brown and Cynthia O’Brien – LifeCycle Conversations

Judith Parker, curatorial collaborator

November 8, 2018 to January 9, 2019

Vernissage: Thursday, November 8, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

Death Café: Wednesday, November 21, 5:00 to 7:45 pm in the exhibition
Death Café is an opportunity to talk about all aspects of death over a cup of tea, coffee and cake.
Seats are limited, RSVP to reserve a place: deathcafe613@outlook.com
Information: deathcafe.com or facebook.com/deathcafeottawa

Artists’ tour and catalogue launch: Sunday, December 2, 2:00 pm

Curatorial talk: Sunday, January 6, 2:00 pm

An example of the kind of work included in this exhibition

Barbara Brown and Cynthia O’Brien, She Remembers Me, 2017, archival pigment print (photograph of a collaborative clay sculpture installation), 160 x 106 cm. Courtesy of the artists.

An example of the kind of work included in this exhibition

Barbara Brown and Cynthia O’Brien, She Remembers Me (detail), 2017, archival pigment print (photograph of a collaborative clay sculpture installation), 160 x 106 cm. Courtesy of the artists.

Catalogue excerpt

LifeCycle Conversations is inspired by the theme of memento mori – a reminder of human fragility, mortality and the inevitability of death. In traditional Western painting it is represented symbolically by flowers, fruit and other objects, but here memento mori has been transposed into immersive installations created collaboratively by Barbara Brown and Cynthia O’Brien.

This is the first time that Barbara Brown (photography) and Cynthia O’Brien (clay sculpture) have chosen to work in a collaborative manner – their new works are the fruit of their combined artistic vision. Though the artists work in different media, both employ the changing beauty and delicacy of plants and flowers as a commemorative act and as an observance of transience, loss, memory, decline and rejuvenation in all living things. Brown and O’Brien’s installations also reflect the emotional impact that working as artists in a long-term care residence, where they befriend individuals who are near the end of their lives, has had. Their work reveals profound insights gained from this experience.

-Judith Parker

Biographies

Barbara Brown’s recent exhibitions include Red Oak Labyrinth, an outdoor installation in Beyond the Edge: Artists’ Gardens, Experimental Farm, Ottawa, 2014 (Canadensis Botanical Garden Society), and Desire for Acadia, a solo exhibition at David Kaye Gallery, Toronto, 2018 (Contact Photography Festival). Residencies include Kingsbrae International Residence for the Arts, Saint Andrews, NB, 2017; the Art Collaborative Residency, Jaipur, India, 2017; and Alchemy: An Artist-Led Residency, Hillier, ON, 2018. Recent grants include support from the Ontario Arts Council.

Cynthia O’Brien’s clay sculpture is collected by the Taipei County Yingge Ceramics Museum, Taiwan, the Canada Council Art Bank and the City of Ottawa. O’Brien’s recent grants include the Explore and Create Program, Canada Council for the Arts, 2018 and Arts Funding, City of Ottawa, 2015. Residencies include Tanks Arts Centre, Australia, 2012; Watershed, USA, 2013; Ayatana Artists’ Research Program and CPAWS-OV Dumoine River Art Camp, Quebec, 2017; and MASS MoCA, USA, 2018.

Judith Parker is a curator and art historian. Exhibitions include: co-curator, Beyond the Edge: Artists’ Gardens, Experimental Farm, Ottawa, 2014 (Canadensis Botanical Garden Society); two artist-in-residence exhibitions at the Bytown Museum, Michèle Provost – Rebranding Bytown, 2012, and Cindy Stelmackowich – Dearly Departed, 2011; and Freedom of Association: Dennis Tourbin and Other Artists, Ottawa Art Gallery, 2012. Residencies include Elsewhere – Living Museum, North Carolina, USA, 2014. The Ontario Arts Council has supported her work.

Adrienne Scott – Magpie Landscapes

September 13 to October 31, 2018
Vernissage: Thursday, September 13, 5:30 to 7:30 pm
Artist talk: Sunday, October 21, 2:00 pm

An example of Adrienne Scott's artwork

Adrienne Scott, Conkers, 2016, inkjet print on paper, 60 x 90 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

An example of Adrienne Scott's artwork

Adrienne Scott, Mouths, 2016, inkjet print on paper, 60 x 80 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

Catalogue excerpt

Adrienne Scott’s way of collecting hints at a deeper understanding of the significance and potential contentiousness of imposing rigid codifications on—and claiming authority over—the world and its knowledge, an approach traditionally adopted by museums and archival institutions. As the artist gathers her ephemeral inventory, she “underscores the nature of all archival materials as found yet constructed, factual yet fictive.” [Hal Foster, “An Archival Impulse”, October, Vol. 110 (Fall 2004), The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, p. 5.] It’s as though her fluid taxonomies support obscure fantasies tinged with a personal nostalgia for unspoiled ecosystems. In this sense, Magpie Landscapes can be read as an abstract catalogue of the world’s impermanent textures.

-Laura Demers

Biography

Adrienne Scott is an artist currently working in Toronto, ON. She is a graduate of the BFA program at the University of Ottawa (2016) and a recipient of the Edmund and Isobel Ryan Scholarship in photography. She has also participated in interdisciplinary projects through programs such as the 2017 Montreal Contemporary Music Lab (LMCML). She has participated in exhibitions throughout Ontario, including at Voix Visuelle (Ottawa, ON), the Gladstone Hotel (Toronto, ON) and Idea Exchange (Cambridge, ON).

René Price – The Art of City Building

July 12 to September 4, 2018
Vernissage: Thursday, July 12, 5:30 to 7:30 pm
Artist talk and walkabout: Sunday, August 19, 2:00 pm


Image of baseball cap

Image of found baseball cap by Petra Halkes. Courtesy of the artist.

An example of René Price's work

René Price, Towers of Power series, 2010-2017, mixed media, variable dimensions. Courtesy of the artist.

Reacting to the never-ending controversial development plans in Ottawa, satiric artist René Price has built a model utopian city, “OTTOWA” that will be presented on the floor, sprawling out from the middle of the gallery, giving the viewer an overview of it all, zoning and OMB permitting. Profit, growth, gentrification, human foibles and luck, all play a part in mapping out our collective future.

Catalogue excerpt

The Art of City Building is a modelled city, not a model city. Instead of a speculative representation of carefully planned and rationally managed development, it presents us with haphazard hoarded collections of juxtaposed, manipulated, and hacked objects that resemble and parody the city we know. But what city do we know?

-Sarah Gelbard

Biography

René Price is an Ideaguy/inventor, Quirky Mockartist, Scribbler, Rascal, Non-smoking cyber Luddite and Grand Amateur. He has shown his art stuff from Sainte-Foy (Quebec) to Montreal, Ottawa, Cornwall, Toronto, Hamilton, London (Ontario), Sault Ste. Marie, Winnipeg (twice) and Calgary. He has been reviewed in Border Crossings, Art Papers (USA), Espace, Artichoke and various newspapers. His artworks are in the odd collection. He wants to create MORCA (Museum of René’s Contemporary Art) in the Ottawa area, sometime soon!

René Price gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council.

Jennifer Anne Norman – Forest for the trees

April 26 to July 4, 2018
Vernissage:
Thursday, April 26, 5:30 to 7:30 pm
Artist talk: Sunday, May 6, 2:00 pm

Catalogue excerpt

Jennifer Anne Norman’s graphite and mixed-media drawings depict the assemblages she creates by repurposing post-consumer waste to repair and redress fragile tree branches. Norman carefully wraps the knotted limbs of broken branches with pieces of local debris, a tender gesture that invites us to consider our responsibility towards the natural world.

-Isabelle Lynch

Un exemple d’une œuvre d’art conçue par Jennifer Anne Norman

Jennifer Anne Norman, Becks, 2017, graphite and mixed media on paper, 48 x 61 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

Un exemple d’une œuvre d’art conçue par Jennifer Anne Norman

Jennifer Anne Norman, Reclaim (work in progress), 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

Biography

Jennifer Anne Norman is a multidisciplinary artist with ecological motivations. She hails proudly from Northern Ontario and is currently based in Toronto. She received her BFA from OCAD University, and her MFA from the University of Ottawa. Norman has received multiple grants from the Ontario Arts Council for the production of her work and has participated in numerous national and international artist residencies. She has exhibited in Canada, Scotland, Italy, Korea and the USA, and her work is included in numerous private and public collections including the National Art Bank of Canada.

Jennifer Anne Norman gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council.

Andrew Ooi – Anatomy of Resilience

February 8 to April 18, 2018
Vernissage: Thursday, February 8, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

an example of Andrew Ooi's work

Andrew Ooi, Matrix 2, 2015, acrylic on gampi, 25 (diameter) x 2 cm. Photo: Natalie Shahinian, courtesy of the artist.

an example of Andrew Ooi's work

Andrew Ooi, Trinity, 2015, acrylic and ink on gampi paper, 19 x 35 x 3 cm. Photo: Natalie Shahinian, courtesy of the artist.

Catalogue excerpt

Andrew Ooi has chosen an unpretentious material to work with, even if his paper is Japanese gampi, made by hand from the inner bark of a bush.  He cuts it into strips, then into small rectangles before drawing and painting it; after that comes the folding, gluing, and assembling.  This is patient work, the gradual building occurring over many hours, and there is, I imagine, a playful element here, something of the concentrating child sitting cross-legged on the floor.  This painting and folding seems a simple practice, but what Ooi produces isn’t simple at all.  This is the first of the many contradictions in his work.

-Cary Fagan

Biography

Self-taught in matters of art and origami, Andrew Ooi made his debut in the interior design community who quickly took notice of his radiant objects. The works were published in Illuminate: Contemporary Craft Lighting (Bloomsbury Publishing) and 1,000 Product Designs: Form, Function, and Technology from Around the World (Rockport Publishers), after touring at events and exhibits in Ontario, Canada and Jyväskylä, Finland. Exhibiting in galleries introduced him to the potential freedom of pursuing a visual art practice, which has led him to explore paint and paper; colour, and especially pattern. Andrew Ooi’s artworks have been exhibited in group and solo shows in the US and in Canada where he is currently based. His work is represented by L.A. Pai Gallery in Ottawa, ON and by BoxHeart Gallery in Pittsburgh, PA.

Andrew Ooi gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council.