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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

Call for proposals: 2020 exhibitions

Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery

An example of the kind of work included in exhibitions

(left) Cheryl Pagurek – Fragile, City Hall Art Gallery.
(right) Barbara Brown and Cynthia O’Brien with Judith Parker, curatorial collaborator – LifeCycle Conversations, Karsh-Masson Gallery. Photos: City of Ottawa

This competition is now closed. The Call for proposals: 2021 exhibitions at Karsh-Masson Gallery‎ and City Hall Art Gallery will be announced in March 2020.

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

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.

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 11 exhibitions annually, each of which lasts approximately seven weeks. Annual programming consists of artist talks and tours, 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. An exhibition related to the Karsh Award is presented every two years at Karsh-Masson Gallery and the next one will occur in 2020.

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.

Gallery Floor Plans

Karsh-Masson Gallery
City Hall Art Gallery

Eligibility

  • The 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 at www.esasafe.com/electricalproducts/marks.
  • For more information, visit the Electrical Safety Authority at www.esasafe.com 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 as outlined by the 2020 CARFAC Fee Schedule (A.1 – Category I). 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.
  • Complex installations of any kind which require support beyond the exhibition 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 of the proposal to the public nature of the gallery space
  • Regional importance

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. 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.”

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.