Josh Hotz: Images of a concrete culture

 Monday, October 1, 2012

Post by Alex Gravelle  /  Photos courtesy the artist

Ottawa photographer Josh Hotz offers his first solo skateboarding photography exhibition at Must Wine Bar (41 William Street) from October 2 until November 4 titled Josh Hotz: Photos of my homies in the name of skateboarding. The opening night will run from 7 pm to 10 pm; after that the photos are on view during regular restaurant hours.


Hotz’s photographs are full of energy, whether capturing raw moments when his subjects are at their best or at rest. The exhibition features around 30 photos, including a giant five-foot-wide print, all taken from within the last three years. Some never-before-seen recent work will also be on view, but Hotz prefers to keep the nature of it a surprise.


“I don’t want to say too much,” says Hotz when asked for details, "but there will be around 16 action photos and 14 portraits.”


Aged 21, Hotz is currently attending SPAO (School of Photographic Arts Ottawa) but is already a veteran at skateboard photography. His work has been featured in publications including Skateboard Canada Magazine, SBC,, and several times Concrete magazine, including on the cover.


Hotz says his influences vary and can include everything his eyes meet that amazes him or disgusts him. Ottawa born and raised, Hotz received his first camera at the age of 11. “One of those big Polaroids with the flash,” Hotz recalls.


Hotz used that camera to shoot his friends, family, and local skaters tricking off mini-kicker ramps. With so much love for the art at such a young age, Hotz decided to pick-up his game: he traded in his Polaroid for a medium format camera. From there his love turned into a passion, even an obsession, and around 2007 he started really taking his art seriously.


The camera equipment progressed, but Hotz’s connection to skateboard photography has never wavered. He plans to hit the southern U.S. this winter with a crew from Top of the World (the Ottawa skateboard-lifestyle shop) for a full month of shooting. He will also be interning for Vancouver’s skate-intensive Color Magazine for the month of January.


“Tell everyone to check out,” adds Hotz, “the best skate-mag out there in terms of images.”


Framed photos in exhibition will be selling for $175 and unframed prints for $110. Attendees can also pick up a copy of Hotz’s zine The Units for $8. Those who purchase a print on opening night will receive a 10% discount as well as some free gear from Kichesippi Brewing Company.




For more information on Josh Hotz and his photography visit him at



Check out an interview with Hotz at






Nuit Blanche video artist meditates on conflict


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Nuit Blanche Ottawa Project Preview: Scott Duncan



It Takes Two

Two-screen video installation, 5 mins, HD

Showing the night of Saturday, September 22 at The Rectory Art House, 179 Murray Street




It Takes Two (part one of Conflict Scenes for a New Highway) is a two-screen video installation of a young man and an older man boxing in an imagined ring on a highway under construction. Each fighter was filmed boxing separately and instructed to box with their opponent in mind. The project aims to deconstruct physical conflict by separating the fighters and the images that may form the basis of a cinematic fight sequence. The location provides a backdrop to connect the more personal conflicts of the fighters with those between economic infrastructure and the environment. 



A dialogue with the artist, Scott Duncan



Guerilla: To what extent can this work (and/or the series) be read as environmentalist or activist?


Scott Duncan: One of the roles of art, to my mind, is to reflect the world back to viewers in a changed form. In It Takes Two, I'm imagining a new use for a highway under construction: as a backdrop for a boxing match. The construction of the new highway necessitated pulling down hillsides (both to level the highway out and to provide an inexpensive source of gravel and crushed stone for the builders). It was horrifying to watch the creation of this new landscape, and something quite troubling about doing the watching from a car, which eventually will roll on the new road. The new road is a theatre for a wide variety of conflicts, both personal and political.


I'm not an activist but would consider myself to be sensitive to environmental issues. It would be terrific if some of what I create provided some form of inspiration to activists, though I'm not sure what form that might take. There is something innately political in the act of showing images of a massive human-wrought change to the landscape—by showing it in images, an artist has the chance to ensure people really look the new landscape in the hopes of better understanding what's going on. Ultimately, why do we build four-lane highways to move more cars when we know that pollution from transport is a major source of greenhouse gases and will need to be curbed if we wish to continue to enjoy the planet?


This said, I was asked by someone whether my piece is "for or against" the new highway. I don't wish to confound people, but I have to say that it is neither. It Takes Two calls attention to the new highway as visual form, and imagines a new use for it.




Why the young and old boxers? Do they represent the tug between established and progress?


I chose to film myself with a young boxer because I find myself thinking a lot about my own “middle” age. I'm still confronting my own father, and yet I am a father (and could indeed be the father of my opponent in the boxing match). The boxers never meet—the use of two screens to edit together the shadow-boxing matches gave me a chance to think about (and hopefully deconstruct) how cinematic fight scenes are created, and in a larger sense, deconstruct conflict, to better understand it. As will be clear to anyone who watches the film, I am out-boxed and out-smarted by my opponent. He was stronger, faster, more skillful and more strategic. So much for the adage of wisdom and age over youth and strength! 



You have called the work a kind of “personal meditation.” What does that mean?


I see this current project as a meditation on conflict—between the generations, between a father and a son, played out on a landscape that shows evidence of the conflict between large infrastructure projects and the environment.


I completed a video installation a few years ago, featuring long tracking shots in sea ports. The shots were edited together to create feature-length films of container, break-bulk, coal and other terminals of the ports of Vancouver, Rotterdam and Montreal. The presentation of that project was meant to leave viewers wondering about their own place in the world we've created, using the long tracking shots to bring about a sense of alienation that might roughly approximate the experience of being in these massive economic infrastructures. I am very interested in exploring how the economy impacts us as people. When I did that project, I was overcome with a sense of alienation—the locations were almost entirely devoid of humans and the editing process brought me face to face with the enormity of the systems around us.


I feel that rather than hide from conflict, I'm wise to look at it and understand it. 




Why did you choose this particular highway as a location?


I filmed on the Highway 5 extension toward Wakefield, which is my home. The highway engendered a lot of conflict in the community. On the one hand are people who feel the highway will bring more convenience and safety and probably drive up property values in and around Wakefield. On the other side are people who feel that the highway is an enormous, wasteful tear in the landscape. It will bring forces of suburbanization to the quaint village, and it encourages more people to drive further from where they work. The builders are using up the sand which may filter the famous Wakefield spring for the foundation. These are not just academic arguments: much of the village relies on the spring as their only source of safe drinking water. To my thinking, the new highway is a kind of theatre for all these conflicts, a notion that led me to consider other types of conflicts, as exemplified by the boxing match. 



This project is part of a series that will also include a remake of a scene from a film by Pasolini. What’s the connection there?


In Pasolini’s The Hawks and the Sparrows, a young man and his father walk along a highway under construction in Rome, and meet a talking crow. Pasolini did a really interesting thing in his films: he created bridges between mythology and the everyday life of regular people living in the rapidly expanding and modernizing suburbs of Rome in the 1960s. Mythology is amazing. When I read old stories or watch theatre—for example the recent cycle of Sophocles' plays about women at the NAC, directed by Wajdi Mouawad—I feel as though I'm going deeper into the conflicts that define me and coming to understand myself and the world better.


The types of issues faced in mythology don't often make their way into contemporary art, and yet myths raise issues that feel as contemporary today as when they were written. This has been the real question driving this project for me: how can personal conflict play out in a contemporary art context?



For more on Scott Duncan, visit his web site.





Les Fermières Obsédées to put new spin on pop culture

Saturday, September 8, 2012



For 12 years now, the Montreal-based performance collective Les Fermières Obsédées have been challenging popular ideas of female stereotypes, but the new show to be unleash at Nuit Blanche Ottawa on September 22 offers some added pop—literally.


“I Want Candies / Les Bonbons,” was first presented in June at the Rapid Pulse Performance Festival in Chigago. It features the usual costumed craziness of Les Fermières Obsédées though this time the performers will be bathed in a plentitude of fizzy soda.


“Accompanied by the live pianist composer Marie-Hélène Blay, Les Fermières Obsédées give a second life to their former uniforms in their own wild and sticky ways,” said collective co-founder Eugénie Cliche in an interview with Guerilla.


Led by visual and media artists Cliche and Annie Baillargeon, Les Fermières Obsédées aim to inspire reexamination of social and political behaviors “while transporting the representation of the female body outside the beaten tracks,” explained Cliche.


“We like to play with the viewer’s perceptions,” Cliche added. “As much to attract the eyes and then put them off,” spurring viewers to consider their assumptions and opinions.


At Nuit Blanche Ottawa, Cliche and Baillargeon will be accompanied by the comic Marie-Pascale Picard and visual artist Isabelle Lapierre.


“We like to hire professionnal actresses and put them in the scene wth us,” explained Cliche. “As well as being solo artists we do photo and video, act in our own videos and photo shoots. In this way we can say we are very theater rooted.”


While the collective’s wild performances might seem spontaneous and improvised, Cliche reveals that the opposite is true.


“Our performances are always very planned out and take us around three months to conceptialize, construct, rehearse,” Cliche explained. “The fact that we have live music means that we also work and in collobaration with the pianist.”  

Les Fermières Obsédées will perform at Court des Beaux Art near the National Gallery some time between 6:22 p.m. and 4:33 a.m. Check the Nuit Blanche Ottawa web site for details.







Renée Yoxon campaigns in the name of jazz

Monday, August 20, 2012




By Tony Martins

Renée Yoxon is determined to make jazz happen.


The talented young singer and budding composer has a passion for the genre that’s been apparent since she first started performing in Ottawa a few years ago. She has also embraced the DIY philosophy that has fundamentally shifted the music industry in recent years. With an all-original album in the works and a successful Indiegogo fundraising campaign near completion, Yoxon is indeed making stuff happen.


Yoxon’s well-established “Crimson and Blues” sets with keyboardist François Gravel on Monday nights in the Mercury Lounge add an edgy and youthful air to a local jazz scene that, like any scene, needs to be cultivated with new energy.


Last year the singer received an Astral Emerging Artist Award from the National Arts Centre and Astral Radio. The award helped fund a summer of jazz study in New York with respected names John McNeil, Janet Lawson, Peter Eldridge, and Karen Nimereala.


This year, for her second LP, Yoxon is co-writing original material with Ottawa pianist Mark Ferguson.


“Our thought for our writing was to put together songs that have a traditional jazz aesthetic coupled with an updated lyrical and harmonic sense,” said Yoxon. “I think the music really accurately reflects what Mark and I love about playing jazz.”


“I have been writing original music since I was about 15 years old but my writing wasn’t strong enough to put out in the world until recently,” Yoxon continues.


“Also, until now I have been perfectly content singing standards. I still love interpreting great, tried-and-true songs, but now I also want to incorporate my own music into my repertoire.”


Out of necessity, that repertoire now reaches beyond writing music and includes self-directed career development from the ground up.


“Betty Carter is one of my vocal jazz idols,” noted Yoxon, "and I think she put it best when she said: ‘In the ‘50s ... a lot of musicians grew up with the record companies—Blue Note, Prestige—and they were recorded because they had potential. Miles Davis definitely wasn’t a great trumpet player when he first started, but the potential was there’.”


Now, continues Yoxon, record companies are looking to invest in artists who are already successful.


“Because of this, it’s a lot more difficult to get signed,” Yoxon explains. “The positive side of this is that artists today don’t really need the support of record companies to make records anymore.”


Online fundraising is an increasingly popular way for artists to finance recording projects. Yoxon’s Indiegogo campaign that ends on September 1 is a great example.


“The response has been really incredible,” Yoxon reports. “We’ve had over 65 funders give over $6,400 so far. We’re well on our way to our goal of $10,000 and I’m really excited to go through the rest of this campaign.”


Yoxon and Ferguson will start recording this fall. When the album is complete, the duo plan to tour regionally at first in Ontario and Quebec and then stretch out to other parts of Canada by the end of 2013.

For more on Renée Yoxon, visit her web site.



Nuit Blanche 'Bright Smiles' promises to light up the room

Thursday, August 9, 2012




Conceptual sketch of Bright Smiles by Britta Evans-Fenton

Nuit Blanche artist profile by Tony Martins  /  Images courtesy the artists






The concept is delightfully simple—the proof of concept is proving to be a little more challenging.


That’s just fine, however, for collaborators Britta Evans-Fenton and Darcy Whyte who are enjoying the process of realizing Bright Smiles, an installation dreamed up for Nuit Blanche Ottawa 2012, the one-night festival slated for Saturday, September 22.


When installed in the ArtEngine M70 lab at Arts Court, the work will reward viewers who smile when gazing upon a cluster of crystalline stars fixed to the ceiling. The reward? Brighter twinkling from the stars.


“I started thinking of the theme of Nuit Blanche, ‘Life is Beautiful,’” explained Evans-Fenton, who first conceived of the installation idea. “When I thought about beautiful moments, I could not help crack a smile. It was that same feeling of happiness that I want to convey. The intent is to give everyone an excuse to smile.” 

To make her vision real, Evans-Fenton enlisted the ingenuity and technical expertise of inventor and designer Darcy Whyte. The first-time collaborators are frequent visitors to the M70, where Evans-Fenton is the lab coordinator.


To realize the artwork, multiple cameras will be installed while a custom-designed smile-detection program will convert pearly whites to twinkling lights. 


As Evans-Fenton points out, the required smile-detection technology is not new (it appeared about five years ago), but exactly how it will be incorporated in the installation remains to be determined.


“The technology is still up in the air and we are looking at a couple of things,” explained Whyte. “Hopefully the proof of concept will come forward soon.”


The materials that will create the star-like lights are also not finalized.


“We've been talking about lots of materials including acrylic and foam,” Whyte said. “I’ve already got some lasers and LEDs that I’ve been experimenting with.”  


Crystal experimentation images for the Bright Smiles project.

While Bright Smiles was conceived specifically for the inaugural Nuit Blanche Ottawa, the artists hope to exhibit a more refined version at other shows in the future.


“Ottawa could use a few more smiles,” explained Evans-Fenton.


Evans-Fenton is a recent graduate from the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at the University of Ottawa. She specializes in new media and installation work, much of which includes manipulation of light and interactive elements.


With an extensive background in physics and computer science, Whyte is an active member of ArtEngine and the Ottawa ModLab community. His notable projects include the highly successful Squirrel model airplane, drawing robots, and various interactive artworks.


'Backstories' show celebrates one year at Rectory Art House


Saturday, July 14, 2012


Backstories from the Rectory Art House Studios

July 18 to 24, Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts, Ottawa


Vernissage: Tuesday, 17 July, 5:30 p.m.








Sharon Lafferty, There Were Three, 2012

Acrylic on canvas (30 in x 36 in)




Intro text by curator Jaenine Parkinson   /   Backstories by the exhibited artists





In June 2011 the historic architecture of the former rectory of Saint Brigid’s Church was converted into artist studios and offices for arts organizations. Since then a strong, small and convivial community has thrived. This exhibition, Backstories from the Rectory Art House Studios, sheds light on the breadth of creation and thinking that happens behind the doors of 179 Murray Street in Ottawa and marks the first of many anniversaries to come.


In the exhibition, each resident artist tells the backstory of a work or series they have recently produced. Just like a character in a film or play, a work of art enters onto the exhibition stage with a history. We can pick up part of this history by looking at the material, form or subject of a work. Hearing from the artist about the process, inspiration, themes or driving questions that gave rise to a work, can deepen our understanding and connection. The stories offered here only touch upon all the details, insights and anecdotes generously shared by the artists; just enough to open the door for your own interpretation.




Karen Bailey

In my practice I document behind-the-scenes workers and under-recognized people. In theseries Mayday Mayday, those people are the volunteers from the May Court Bargain Boxcharity shop, which serves and supports the Hospice at May Court and many other community projects.


The May Court Club of Ottawa was founded in 1898, having a long history of providing volunteer services and financial assistance to charitable organizations in the Ottawa region. The Club's main purpose has always been the support of social services, education and healthrelated issues—a goal that remains as vital in 2012 as it was in 1898.


The volunteers, many in their eighties and nineties, wear their trademark uniform, a pink smock, and spend countless hours in the service of others. They make a significant contribution to our community yet seldom receive recognition for it. Moyra, Joyce or Pat will not receive medals nor do they expect any honours.


In Mayday, Mayday I highlight poignant moments at the charity shop whether it be the camaraderie of a group of volunteers sorting through clothing donations or a lone woman rearranging the jewellery counter. In documenting these women together and individually, I seek to celebrate their beauty, dignity and generosity of spirit.


Karen Bailey is a graduate of the Reigate School of Art and Design, England. In 2007, Karen traveled to Afghanistan as an appointed military artist to document Canadian military medical personnel. Twice she has received the prestigious Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation award for drawing and painting. She has exhibited in Britain, Ireland, the USA and Canada.



Women at Work, 2012

Acrylic on canvas

(30 in x 30 in)





Elle Chae

My paintings emerge out of my dreams. They are potent, inexplicable dreams that drip with heavy emotion and linger long past morning. The more lasting dreams seem to be those filled with violence, vulnerability, pain and confusion. The characters who feature in my dreams and then in my work, are both people I know and strangers from mass media who become lodged in my subconscious. Faces loom large, and like dreams, they conceal as much as they reveal about their owners. In my paintings images and reality are distorted and filteredthrough my own prism of perception.


I work directly on the canvas. No preparatory sketches, no working drawings, I just start. It's a back and forth process: I lay down masking tape, slather on some oil paint, more tape, more paint, then I rip off pieces of tape, taking paint with it. I keep going like this; adding and subtracting. It's a process of stratified construction that is both deliberate and instinctual.


Peeling back the tape reveals different layers and breaks open the surface of the canvas, cutting hard unnatural edges into the soft organic forms of the people and faces I depict. I use this aggressive and exposing gesture to suggest the fragility and complexity of the personalities and relationships that dance through my dreams and out onto my canvases.


Elle Chae was born in Incheon, South Korea and lived in South Korea and Fiji before moving to Ottawa. She obtained her BFA from the University of Ottawa in 2011. Elle's paintings have been exhibited in Ottawa and Montréal.


, 2012

oil on canvas

(78 in x 54 in)





Krisha Dayola

Although I depict myself in my paintings, I don't consider my work self-portraiture. I see myself, or my body, as an anchor for my ideas. I am interested in how we relate to other people. How we perceive and interpret them, through facial expressions, movements and body language. Ever since I got tattoos I notice that people will just stare at me and I can never tell if it is positive or negative. I never know what people are thinking. I suppose no one can ever know; that is a universal. Perceiving and being perceived by others causes a reaction in me, and I want my paintings to cause that reaction in the viewer. And they do. People react; they interpret these non-verbal signals, such as posture and expression, and form candid opinions very quickly.


I don't approach my work in a calculated or pre-meditated way, instead I like to leave myself open to change and chance. This starts with the source photos that I take myself casually and spontaneously in everyday situations with friends and family. I have hundreds of sketchbooks where I work over these photos, blending, cropping and editing together many photographs and drawings. Rather than spending my time staging a composition, I rely heavily on experimentation when working on a canvas. What I may consider to be a "plan" can find itself completely dismantled into another composition or way of expression. The viewer can almost see my conversation with the painting through the push and pull of each stroke and the colours that fight against each other or move together. In this way, my paintings remain a genuine creation of mine and contain a life of their own.


Krisha Dayola was raised in Ottawa. She graduated in 2012 with a BFA and a minor in Psychology. She was in residence at The Rectory Art House from June 2011 to June 2012.




Untitled, 2012

Oil on canvas (36 in x 30 in)





Carolyn Frank

In the images I create, the protagonists are always found at the height of some incomprehensible drama. These situations are always surreal and uncomfortable to intentionally provoke a strong reaction from the viewer because rarely do we confront our own anxieties. More often, strong emotions like fear and anxiety are masked, manipulated and trivialized through everyday occurrences, consumerism, and even politics.


The faceless people in my work are no-one in particular. This way they can easily take on any identity or any species. They can be either human or the animal we so vehemently deny ourselves to be. Their animal masks separate them from cultured human action, which always side steps the fact that humans are animals and are just as easily overcome by base desires, especially anxiety and fear.


When I draw all of my energy goes straight into the work I am focused on; I don't waste it on doing preliminary sketches. I do sketch, but I see these as just a warm up and these images rarely or never cross over into finished or large-scale watercolours.


Carolyn graduated from the University of Ottawa with a BFA in 2011. Her work has been shown throughout Ottawa, including at the now defunct Canteen Gallery. Until recently she was the Graphics Editor for Canculture, an online Canadian Arts and Entertainment magazine. Carolyn has been at the Rectory Art House for one year, and departs in July for Japan.


Such a head on those shoulders, 2011

Ink on paper (22.2 in x 30 in)




Sharon Lafferty

The people in my paintings are anonymous individuals, often they gaze directly out of the canvas, inviting you to connect with them. These characters well up out of my mind or come from one the thousands of vintage photographs I enjoy sifting through. I look for that slightly odd or funny shot that sticks at the back of my mind and makes me wonder.


As I speculate about what is happening with these people, I create new worlds and stories for them in my paintings. I work in an intuitive manner, adding, deleting and rearranging people as the story develops.


It is interesting that some people feel these kids are creepy or afraid. I think they have been interrupted whilst playing, and are surprised, bemused or annoyed at being disturbed. What I love about my work is that the scene is open enough that, everyone can have a different story. I get to tell my stories and then the viewer gets to tell theirs; the painting becomes an intermediary.


My curiosity extends to the use of my materials, and I am continuously experimenting with technique. I look back through art history for inspiration. So, when I started painting these trees, for instance, I remembered admiring Kilmt's with his large fields of tiny marks. My trees are different from Kilmt's, but still remind me of how enchanted I was the first time I saw his tree paintings in person.


Sharon Lafferty is a painter who studied art education and art history at the University of New Brunswick. After pursuing a career in forest entomology, she returned to art full time as a self- taught artist, exhibiting in Canada and the United States. From 2007 to 2009 Sharon studied studio arts full time at the Ottawa School of Art.



There Were Three, 2012

Acrylic on canvas (30 in x 36 in)


Andrew Morrow

A few years back, I started feeling increasingly bored while painting. I was overly familiar with my processes and felt constrained by the limitations presented by the canvas. I turned to animation as a means of introducing time and change to a medium that is usually considered to be static and fixed. The work in this show is part of an ongoing exploration of the intersection between material painting and digital technology.


My work has long stemmed from history painting, and currently, I am interested in the visual and narrative history of 1914. I started working with this self-imposed constraint when I heard the story of the Christmas Truce; an informal armistice that took place along the Western


Front in December of 1914. From here, the history of this particular year opened up, presenting me with a rich source from which to draw. The piece in this show comes from a story about a young soldier who left his bicycle chained to a tree before setting off to war. It is said that he was killed in battle and so never reclaimed his bike. The tree then grew around the bicycle, raising it high into the air, creating an accidental memorial. This tree remains on Vashon Island, in Puget Sound. Apparently, though, the story is untrue, as the bicycle can be dated to the 1940's or 1950's. For me, the story's inauthenticity in no way lessens its impact. In some ways, I think it makes it richer.


Andrew Morrow holds a BFA from Queen's University and a MFA from the University of Ottawa. His work has been widely exhibited and reviewed throughout Canada and abroad. He is active as a teacher, mentor, writer, arts advocate and speaker.



Photograph of model tree with bicycle for Tree, Version 3, 2012




Andrea Mueller

I have always been drawn to the patterns and colours of fabric as a source of endless inspiration. My new series of work is based on the process of transferring fabric textures onto a sterling silver sheet. I wanted the metal to act as a receptive surface, like fabric. So, I experimented with embossing the silver with various fabrics, metal screen and even cut out paper shapes. Each produced amazing results. These results became the basis of the series, but in order to get a deeper relief I carved these forms out of wax and cast them into metal.


This enabled me to give each piece a hollow back, so it can appear solid while also being light to wear. I believe that my role as a jewellery designer is to create a wearable piece of art that has fundamental meaning and symbolism to the wearer. It may represent a lifelong commitment between two people, it may be a redesigned heirloom that holds important memories or it may be quite simply a piece that makes an individual feel good when they wear it.


Much of my inspiration comes from balancing simplicity and complexity. In my designs, I pare down objects and shapes into their most basic elements. Once I have narrowed in on a form, I accent it with a hint of decoration or detail that compliments the clean lines and original shape. It is the combination of a simple shape and small details that together create a strong and visually interesting piece. I work in gold, silver and platinum and I often use pearls, semi precious and precious stones as accents in my designs.


Andrea Mueller has a BA in History from Dalhousie University and a BFA in Jewellery and Metalsmithing from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. She works closely with her clients in the custom design process and prides herself on creating each piece of jewellery by hand.


Earrings from the Textiles series, 2012, 0.5 inches diameter each, sterling silver




Corinne Nieuwburg

My painting is fueled by my passionate fascination with people and their endless diversity. The constant and pleasurable challenge is to translate an impression of someone into paint. I experience this process of translation, as something comparable to translating between languages. It is visual linguistics to move from a series of lived impressions of a person and their personality, to a single image, formed first in my head and then as paint on canvas.


I am drawn to and seek out people to paint who are slightly different and unusual, be it their features or someone whose emotions are unintentionally legible in their expression, or a young child who looks straight through you like an old soul. These people can be family members, people on the bus, people who I am commissioned to paint or others who emerge out of the canvas and my imagination.


I generally work at a smaller scale and always in oils. With thick, rich oil paint, I feel more like I am sculpting with pigment, rather than painting. I enjoy creating pieces that allow me to introduce tension and experiment with composition and balance, through techniques like offsetting a face out of the frame.


Corinne Nieuwburg has a BA (Psychology) from Acadia University , and studied at the Ottawa School Art for two years. Her work has been exhibited and is in collections throughout Ontario and Quebec, and teaches painting at the Glebe Centre. She recently had a solo exhibitionThe Dutch Connection at the Bytown Museum in Ottawa.


Green Space, 2010

Oil on canvas (10in x 12in)



Karen Rasmussen

I make most of my art pieces under the spell of a personal artifact that I have saved, often for many years—like my Mom's button collection, my grade two pencil sharpener shaped like a globe of the world, or a pair of rusted children's scissors I found at an abandoned prairie schoolhouse. These artifacts always seem to hold an essential meaning, or question, that I feel compelled to explore — usually about some of our shared desires and fears: desires for meaning, independence, belonging, health; fears of loss, failure, aging, death. Plus, the questions both raise concerning our ability to learn about, and change, ourselves and our world. These are the ideas I pursue in my work. And each time I focus on a particular artifact, I have the sense that it has been waiting patiently for this attention and involvement.


Gradually, and very experimentally, I assemble just the right elements and materials—some found, some made-to-measure, some of quite an unusual nature. These I integrate with the artifact, so that they form a complete embodiment of the art work I see in my mind. For me, how I make a piece, and what it's made from, are a critical part of its meaning or purpose. Together they contribute to the work's clarity and evocativeness. I find that this interdependence of process, materials, and meaning, can encourage a viewer to experience the work through thought and feeling, simultaneously. My art pieces wait patiently for just such viewers.


Karen Rasmussen holds a BFA Studio, and an Honours BA in Art History and Theory from the University of Ottawa, and an MA in Sociology from University of Toronto. Her three-dimensional constructions, drawings, prints and paintings, have been shown at: cube gallery, the Ottawa School of Art, Gallery 115, and open houses at Mainworks Studios.



Earthship, 2007

Wood and pencil sharpener (8 ft x 6 ft)




Lori Victor

This series of paintings, Crossing Lines, evolved from photographs I took at the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the Musée des Beaux arts de Montréal in 2011. I was compelled to transform and simplify this ostentatious extravagant subject matter into basic forms and shapes, enabling me to make my own visual comment.


The source imagery I extract for my paintings – from this over-the-top fashion design – includes abstracted lines, shapes and colour. The translation into a graphical, two-dimensional form happens over a number of stages from photography, digital composition and transcription into acrylic on canvas. As such, this series 'crosses the line' between haute couture culture, photography, graphic design and painting.


As each of my paintings evolve, the original subject matter becomes less important than communicating my personal reaction and moulding of the visceral effect of the abstracted imagery. I construct each work to act as a 'window' into a realm of colour, an effect I feel is heightened by the square confines of the canvas frame.


I work and rework each field of colour, applying up to five layers of paint sometimes, to achieve a flat, sharp and completely opaque stretch of paint. I hand mix and adjust each hue, using complementary and tertiary colour schemes, to create an exact balance in composition and expression.


Lori Victor has been painting for 12 years, studying first at the Ottawa School of Art and completing her BFA at the University of Ottawa in 2011. She has exhibited her work in Ottawa since 2006. Lori has been a professional graphic designer for many years, and now paints full-time.




Fly Away, 2012

Acrylic on canvas

(40 in x 40 in)




Jaenine Parkinson is a writer and curator originally from New Zealand. She graduated with an MA in Art History from the University of Auckland in 2005 and is currently Programs Manager at Saint Brigid's Centre for the Arts.