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Karsh-Masson Gallery

Location and hours

Exterior of Karsh-Masson Gallery

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

Open daily 9 am to 8 pm, including holidays.
Free admission to exhibitions and events. 

Wheelchair accessible. Paid parking available.
FREE PARKING available at the City Hall garage on weekday evenings after 6 pm and all day on weekends.

While at City Hall, be sure to visit City Hall Art Gallery, featuring contemporary exhibitions by professional artists.

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 for installation.

2019 Exhibitions

Fiona Annis – Mormorii (Murmurs)

January 25 to March 27, 2019
Opening: Thursday, February 7, 5:30 to 7:30 pm
Artist talk: Friday, February 8, 12:30 pm

multi-channel sound and light installation

Fiona Annis, Mormorii, 2017, multi-channel sound and light installation, variable dimensions. Photo: Renée Méthot, courtesy of the artist.

An example of the type of work that will be included in the exhibition.

Fiona Annis, Mormorii, 2017, multi-channel sound and light installation, variable dimensions. Photo: Renée Méthot, courtesy of the artist.

Catalogue excerpt

Building on her previous multi-media installation, The Stars Are Dead but Their Light Lives On, this exhibition crystallizes the artist’s practice of exploring existing materials, images, and technologies in search of new meanings. In the case of Mormorii, Annis creates a charged encounter by remediating an archive that is fundamentally immaterial in nature. The artist activates the viewers’ senses in such a way that, when standing in the center of the installation, “the whole body begins to vibrate, accompanied by a slight shiver.”** The re-presentation of matter as intimate as lullabies into an amplified multi-channel environment is far from being a cold display of technological disembodiment. Rather, it constitutes a radical transformation of transmission that touches a powerful chord. Immersed in a field of lullabies, the installation is a strange and deeply moving experience that evokes presence through absence, a thousand times whispered.

- Véronique La Perrière M.

**As Bernard Lamarche describes in his review of Mormorii : « À activer nos sens de la sorte, et considéré la charge émotive des chants entendus, c’est tout le corps qui se met à vibrer au sein de cette installation, traversé par un doux frisson. » See: Lamarche, Bernard. Fiona Annis. De l’oralité à l’auralité. Espace art actuel, 2018.

Biography          

Fiona Annis lives and works in Montreal, Canada. Her practice includes a wide range of media to explore tensions between concept and material and to select the processes and rhythms that amplify the ideas underpinning each of her projects. Fiona has exhibited in museums, artist-run centres and university galleries across Canada and internationally. Her artwork is featured in the permanent collection of the Museum of Civilization in Quebec City, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the City of Ottawa Art Collection, and the Penumbra Foundation in New York City. Fiona continues an ongoing collaboration with The Society of Affective Archives, with projects that include a large-scale public art commission in the City of Montreal. Fiona is currently the recipient of a fellowship from the Brucebo Foundation to begin a new project at the Observatory and Museum of Astronomical Instruments in Naples, Italy.

 

L. KOLTUN – DEATH OF THE MONARCH

March 28 to May 20, 2019
Opening: Thursday, March 28, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

An example of the type of work that will be included in the exhibition.

L. KOLTUN, Death of the Monarch 5, 2018, inkjet print on paper, 81 x 122 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

The digital photographs in this exhibition are multiple exposures of the freezing rainfall on April 16, 2018 and of dying local milkweed. They signal a catastrophic reduction of 90% in the Monarch butterfly population of Eastern North America. This intimate interrelationship between living plant and insect with the untimely freezing rain evokes a slow, shared death resonating with both grief and the memory of hope.

 

Luce Meunier, Sarah Rooney and Monica Tap – Abstract Networks

Curator: Jakub Zdebik

May 30 to July 28, 2019
Opening: Thursday, May 30, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

An example of the type of work that will be included in the exhibition.

Monica Tap, Monument II, July 2016, 2016, oil on canvas, 229 x 152 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

This exhibition explores the contemporary emergence of a modernist formalist aesthetic within digital culture. Sarah Rooney, Luce Meunier and Monica Tap, through the facets of geometry, abstraction, abstract landscape, engage with digital reproducibility. Painting, photography as painting, and abstract photographic strategies create a network; all these variations on representation are connected through an engagement with the digital.

 

U of Ottawa MFA candidate – Thesis exhibition

August 14 to September 10, 2019

As a supplement to our regular programming, Karsh-Masson Gallery is pleased to partner with the University of Ottawa’s Department of Visual Arts to provide a valuable mentorship and professional development opportunity.

 

City of Ottawa Art Collection – 2019 Additions

November 22, 2019 to January 12, 2020
Opening: Thursday, November 28, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

This exhibition features a selection of artworks added to the City of Ottawa Art Collection in 2019 through purchase, commission and donation. After the exhibition closes, artworks will be installed in municipal buildings throughout Ottawa's neighbourhoods.

 

2019 Exhibitions Peer assessment committee members: Lisa Cresky, Manon Labrosse, Barry Pottle

Call for proposals: 2019 exhibitions

Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery

Images of City Hall Art Gallery and Karsh-Masson Gallery

(left) Ben Globerman – Call to Prayer, City Hall Art Gallery / Galerie d’art de l’hôtel de ville
(right) Mana Rouholamini – … de patience, Karsh-Masson Gallery / Galerie Karsh-Masson

This competition is now closed. The Call for proposals: 2020 exhibitions at Karsh-Masson‎ and City Hall art galleries will be announced in March 2019. 

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.

About Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery

Exhibitions at Karsh-Masson and City Hall art galleries feature the work of professional artists working in visual art, media art and fine craft and include solo, two-person and group exhibitions; curated exhibitions; exhibitions from the diplomatic sector, and circulating exhibitions from other institutions. Annual programming includes artist talks, tours and panel discussions as well as one exhibition of the City of Ottawa Art Collection and one exhibition of artwork by a graduating student from the University of Ottawa MFA program.

Karsh-Masson and City Hall art galleries 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. Admission is free.

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.

Gallery Floor Plans

Eligibility

  • Professional visual artists and curators who are emerging, mid-career or established, and working in visual art, media art, fine craft, design and other new art forms. 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.
  • Applicants who have exhibited at Karsh-Masson Gallery or City Hall Art Gallery within the last two consecutive years are not eligible to apply. City of Ottawa employees and elected representatives are not eligible to apply.

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.

Assessment criteria and process

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

  • artistic merit and professionalism
  • regional importance and innovation
  • quality and cohesiveness of the artwork examples and the written proposal statement
  • appropriateness of the proposal to the public nature of the gallery space

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.

Honorarium  

Exhibiting artists will be paid an exhibition fee as outlined by the 2019 CARFAC Fee Schedule. Curators will receive a professional curatorial fee.

The City of Ottawa Public Art Program does not reimburse expenses related to travel, transportation of artwork and accommodation, nor are per diem fees paid.

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 follow the publicly announced criteria and procedures.

Contact us

Karsh-Masson and City Hall Art galleries are operated by the City of Ottawa Public Art Program. For inquiries or assistance, please email publicartprogram@ottawa.ca or call 613-244-6852.

To receive emails about gallery exhibitions, programming and calls for proposals, email publicartprogram@ottawa.ca with the subject line “subscribe – exhibitions.”

Compliance Review: 2019 Exhibitions

Posted August 30, 2018 at 4 pm

The 30-day Compliance Review process is now closed. The final exhibition schedule for the Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery 2019 exhibition season will be announced in November 2018. More information about this 30-day process is included in section 4.2 of the Public Art Policy. Thank you for your interest in this review process.

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 Artstuff 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.