Due to surging COVID-19 cases, the Karsh-Masson Gallery has closed the exhibit early.
By Maude Lipsett
Karsh-Masson Gallery at Ottawa City Hall welcomes artists Raymond Aubin and Hugo Gaudet-Dion, who have created a surrealist and interactive exhibit titled Agitation. The gallery is filled with interactive moving images, three-dimensional objects, projections, flat wall-mounted works, and musical accompaniment.
“There are basically four works,” says Raymond Aubin, a contemporary photographer and experienced artist. “The two pieces that are interactive is where I spent most of my time, it is where my major contribution is.”
Aubin holds a Bachelor in Visual Arts from l’Université du Québec en Outaouais, where he also met Gaudet-Dion. “I had known him for a number of years. In fact, we were in school together,” he says.
Many of the pieces are either printed and mounted to the wall, or digitally dismantled and added to the interactive pieces. These works mostly matched Gaudet-Dion’s approach as a visual artist and illustrator.
The main interactive piece of this exhibit is a large projected video image with a fast-moving array of abstract colourful shapes done in Gaudet-Dion’s illustrative style. The shapes descend from the top of the projected image, some of the figures clumping together at the projection’s base. The viewer must move their body to recreate the original drawing made from the falling shapes.
“My drawings are always kind of a puzzle. So even when I’m drawing just the face of a fictional person, you can take it piece by piece,” Gaudet-Dion says.
As explained in the exhibition booklet, this exhibit focuses on the brutality of the world by bringing monstrous characters to life. Seen through the contemporary lens of technology and its power, these pieces interact with people using technology.
“It’s a lot about the human condition, our struggling of everyday, trying to fix things, our problems. The chaotic side of life and the stressful part of it,” Gaudet-Dion says. “I’m always thinking about the dark side of humans and the way we use that to entertain people.”
Both artists are extremely pleased to collaborate on their work and be able to present this exhibition together, especially with the interactive element, as it is new to them and still novel in the art community as a whole.
“This is uncharted ground that the art world is moving into,” says Aubin. “And we still have a lot to understand regarding these interactive installations. And certainly as an artist, I think one of the exciting parts of it is ourselves, not knowing where we go really, and experimenting and getting feedback from the viewers and at the same time.”
Agitation runs from December 2 to January 28 at the Karsh-Masson Gallery in Ottawa City Hall. Entry is free. Masks are mandatory and proof of vaccination is required.