This week, we had the pleasure of attending the Ottawa Art Gallery’s (OAG) opening reception for its new fall exhibitions. Ottawa’s creatives and friends of the gallery filled the first-floor atrium, palpable excitement buzzing in the air. The evening began with speeches by OAG’s Director and CEO Alexandra Badzak, Deputy Director and Curator Catherine Sinclair, Curator Rebecca Basciano, and community representatives.
Sipping on wine, we travelled through the gallery’s multiple floors to discover the new exhibitions: Angelina Barrucco’s Portraits in a Time of Social Distancing, on display until November 20, and A Family Palette, which brings together the work of Frances-Anne Johnston, Franz Johnston, and Franklin Arbuckle—three artists from the same family, on display until February 5.
Winner of the 2022 Project X Photography Award, Angelina Barrucco conducted 114 Zoom interviews with her subjects, capturing their portraits and the spaces they work in digitally for her exhibition. Through the pandemic, I’ve always found it immensely interesting to see where my colleagues and friends were working—is there a cat on their desk? Art in the background? Is it a garage, a basement, a home office, or a kitchen table? It’s a full-circle moment to see this collection represent our collective wondering and the beauty of digital connection. Through objects, family members passing in the background, and kids interrupting calls, we connect with others. You’re not just staring at someone’s face in front of a blank office wall.
Meanwhile, A Family Palette presents the works of Franz Johnston, a nationally recognized member of the Group of Seven, although he left pretty early on, as well as the art of his daughter Frances-Anne Johnston, who was overshadowed by her father in a patriarchal society, and her husband Franklin Arbuckle, who created many illustrations for the cover of Maclean’s magazine.
Other exhibitions currently on display at the gallery include Transcending Technology: Between Freedom and Surveillance, showcasing works by members of the OAG’s Youth Council in collaboration with the eQuality Project, a seven-year partnership initiative funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, until December 19, 2022. The Mind’s Eye, by Andrew Beck, Elle Chae, Amanda Lloyd, and Atticus Gordon, closes October 30, 2022. ᓯᑯ ᕿᕐᓂᖅᓯᓯᒪᔪᖅ | Dark Ice, by ᓕᐊᔅᓕ ᕇᑦ ᐊᒻᒪ ᕌᕗᑦ ᑲᐅᑐᖅ | Leslie Reid and Robert Kautuk is on until March 5, 2023. Don Kwan’s Landscape, Loss, and Legacy is on until January 22, 2023. Admission to OAG is always free, and donations are appreciated.