The Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group (GNAG) endeavors to provide emerging artists of all ages and working with all mediums the opportunity to showcase their creations in an annual, month long exhibition that has developed an Off Broadway reputation for artists in Ottawa. The exhibition, which is running from April 30 until June 1, saw the vernissage take place at the Glebe Community Centre May 3 with great success.
The thrilling surprise, once again, was the rising number of women involved in the show. Art history is haunted by lack of women representation, and seeing how women take the centre stage when it comes to showcasing new and original work today, critics and historians should concede the shortsightedness with which the art world operated in the past.
The caliber of the artwork on show was very high, and many of the artists deserve to be lauded for their work. To highlight some exceptional pieces, it is befitting to start with the captivating 3D woodcut maps of James Karpa Bomhof who gives us Ottawa in all its beauty and grandeur from aerial views. These maps would look commanding adorning the walls of headquarters and executive offices around the city.
High Water by Dave Nicholson is an extraordinary piece that combines high-end landscape painting that is worthy of David Hockney, with urban scenery over meticulously painted waters. Those trees are simply magnificent.
Another gifted artist communicating his remarkable painting skills is Drew Bernard with his beautiful piece, Dan. A small painting, it possesses so much character that one’s eyes cannot help being drawn to it. An unusual yellow halo behind Dan and his trucker cap gives you a feeling that he is not to be dismissed, and the chemistry shorthand formulas add to the allure.
Yeojing Jung gives us Cloudy Evening, an acrylic painting that has been treated as if it is a watercolour. The mood of this piece is just so mysterious and enigmatic that one becomes taken with it even though the title sounds foreboding. Excellent yellows and blues giving us contrast, and mixing to give us a hint of green on the ground.
Shard, also sherd is an avant-garde multilayered and multimedia multimaterial collage by Nancy M Green that brings hyper complexity with its minimalistic colour palette. In terms of design and assemblage, it is by far the most thought provoking piece in the show.
A young artist that deserves praise is Maya Li, whose pieces are charmingly experimental in their colour and composition. She is a promising rising star, and Ottawa is sure to see a lot more from her.
The exhibition’s pièce de résistance, and undeniably the most relevant piece in today’s #MeToo uprising is Votes for Women: The Women’s Mock Parliament by Juanita Sauve, who brings us history of resistance. Women’s suffrage is on full display through printed political patches that are fixed on top of a colourful quilt. The effect is just powerful, and one is reminded of so many different stages of women’s struggle to gain their human rights. A reminder that these rights are not given to all women globally, and still today, there are entities within our very own societies that are looking reverse these hard-earned advances for women.
GNAG Art Show and Sale is on at the Glebe Community Centre (175 Third Avenue) until June 1, from 8am to 8:45pm. The artists keep 100% of the sales, so please spend generously and support local art. For more from GNAG, follow them on Twitter or visit their website.