3 Picks by Catherine Sinclair
Catherine Sinclair is the Senior Curator of the Ottawa Art Gallery
After having witnessed the success of the provincial scenes over the years, there is no doubt that this summer’s Canada Scene will be anything short of ambitious and exciting in terms of visual arts.
Besides the incredible works of installation art within the walls of the NAC itself, here are my top picks for Canada Scene exhibitions to visit this summer:
It’s Complicated by OO7 Collective
June 15 to July 31 @ Central Art Garage (66 LeBreton St N)
It’s Complicated by the OO7 (Ottawa Ontario 7) Collective marks the first exhibition in a while of this roving group of Ottawa-connected contemporary indigenous artists, who last showed in 2014 at the FiveMyles Gallery in Brooklyn. Here they bring together their individual and unexpected responses to the 150th Anniversary of Confederation, offering an alternative narrative to this very-present, yet notorious, celebration. Works will be on view by the 10 core artists, including Rosalie Favell, known for her photographic practice and more recent engagement with painting, Barry Ace whose beaded and embroidered multi-media creations layer historical and contemporary references, and their newest member, Michael Belmore, whose site-specific land-art installations recently landed him the prestigious Hnatyshyn Foundation Indigenous Arts Award.
Endless Landscape by AXENÉO7
June 28 to August 30 @ La Fonderie (211 rue Montcalm)
Residents and visitors to the region can’t miss Endless Landscape, presented by AXENÉO7 in collaboration with DAÏMÔN and Galerie UQO, in the unique and impressive venue of La Fonderie. This old industrial building in Gatineau offers the vast space that is needed to accommodate the monumentally-sized work requested of 10 artists, including Nadia Myre, Samuel Roy-Bois and Noémie Lafrance. The latter is originally from Quebec, but Brooklyn-based since 1994, and is sure to be a highlight. Lafrance is a conceptual artist, writer, film director and choreographer, and has received international attention for her reclamation of space through large-scale and site-specific performance.
Open Access: A Demonstration
June 23 to August 16 @ OAG Annex (110 Laurier St W)
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the exhibition opening in the OAG Annex by Vancouver-based social practice artist Carmen Papalia. Open Access: A Demonstration forefronts Papalia’s experience as a non-visual learner in relation to institutional accessibility. In other words, he highlights the difference between what institutions and policies deem accessible vs. the lived experience of those who depend on such services. While the exhibition will feature documentation and objects from his research, Papalia will also offer performances including White Cane Amplified on June 26th. Previously performed as part of exhibitions in New York, Dublin, Chicago, San Diego, Toronto and Vancouver, this time it’s Ottawa’s turn, as Papalia will use a megaphone to try to navigate the downtown through the verbal help of strangers rather than his white cane.
For the full Canada Scene lineup, visit www.nac-cna.ca. The festival takes place from June 15 to July 23 at numerous venues. Prices vary and a great deal of the programming is free or pay-what-you-can.