Art School Confidential

Celebrating 50 Years of the Department of Visual Arts, University of Ottawa

Lynne Cohen, Spa, 1993, gelatin silver print on paper, 123.8cm x 98.4cm. Collection of the Ottawa Art Gallery: purchased with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance program, Glen Bloom and the Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation, 1998.

New Exhibition Opens at the Ottawa Art Gallery:

Art School Confidential: Celebrating 50 Years of the Department of Visual Arts, University of Ottawa

April 20 – September 22, 2024
Vernissage: April 25, 2024, 6:30pm – 8:00pm
Panel Discussion: April 28, 2024, 1:00pm – 2:30pm

Curated by Professor Penny Cousineau-Levine, Art School Confidential is an exhibition that celebrates five decades of Visual Arts at the University of Ottawa, representing the work of 50 artists who have taught and studied in the historic building located at 100 Laurier East since 1974. That year, artist, educator, administrator, and creator of the Canada Council’s ground-breaking Art Bank Collection, Suzanne Rivard Le Moyne, arrived at the University, where she brought together a formidable team of artists – several of whom had been her students at L’École des beaux arts in Montreal – and important art historians, to become the founding faculty members of the Department of Visual Arts.

As part of a bilingual university, the Department is unique among Canadian art schools: a dynamic and artistically productive site of exchange among artists and students from diverse language and cultural communities. The Department has largely been a hidden gem within the city of Ottawa, despite the many critically-acclaimed accomplishments of its artists and the wide-ranging impact of their works both in Canada and abroad.

Painting, sculpture, photography, media, installation, performance, and the intersection of these in interdisciplinary practice are all taught in the Department and are reflected in the exhibition. The branding and layout of the exhibition is designed by Visual Arts MFA graduate Sam Loewen and echoes the studio spaces shared by senior students in the Department, where interaction between artists generates not only artistic cross-fertilizations but also support systems and networks that endure long past graduation.

Art School Confidential opens April 20 and is on view until September 22, 2024. This exhibition is supported through several programming initiatives, including the public vernissage on the evening of April 25, which will celebrate the opening of both Art School Confidential and Spanning the Divide: Art from the University of Ottawa Department of Visual Arts 2023. On April 28, the OAG will host a live panel discussion linked to these two exhibitions and will speak on the role of art schools within the contemporary art ecosystem and feature exhibition artists Rebecca Bair, Martin Golland, Cara Tierney, Sarah Tompkins and Jinny Yu, and art historian Anna Paluch, moderated by Art School Confidential curator Penny Cousineau-Levine.

Stayed tuned to OAG’s events calendar for regular updates and event listings related to the Art School Confidential exhibition.

In addition to this public programming, the OAG is excited to release a digital catalogue featuring an essay written by art historian and past professor of the Department, Olivier Asselin. This digital catalogue will be available online through the OAG once the exhibition opens to the public.

This exhibition is realized with the support of the Faculty of Arts, University of Ottawa, and presented in partnership with the Visual Arts Department, University of Ottawa. For over 13 years these two institutions have collaboratively engaged artists and curators within the local arts community.

Featured artists include: A Fine Discipline, Edmund Alleyn, Rebecca Bair, Michael Belmore, Geneviève Cadieux, Alexandre Castonguay, Lynne Cohen, Heidi Conrod, Sylvain Cousineau, Max Dean, Pierre Dorion, Josée Dubeau, AM Dumouchel, Rah Eleh, Evergon, Rosalie Favell, Charles Gagnon, Chantal Gervais, Lorraine Gilbert, Martin Golland, Trevor Gould, Michel Goulet, Peter Gnass, Jacques Hurtubise, Zainab Hussain, Germaine Koh, Shelby Lisk, Kenneth Lochhead, Ken Lum, Gavin Lynch, Jennifer Macklem, Deborah Margo, Julia Martin, Andrew Morrow, Ron Noganosh, Gunter Nolte, Roland Poulin, Leslie Reid, Catherine Richards, Jean-Jacques Ringuette, Suzanne Rivard Le Moyne, Denis Rousseau, Amy Schissel, Michael Schreier, Cindy Stelmackowich, Laura Taler, Carol Wainio, Justin Wonnacott, Andrew Wright, and Jinny Yu.

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OAG is Ottawa’s municipal art gallery and cultural hub. Located in Ottawa’s downtown core, the expanded Gallery is a contemporary luminous cube designed by KPMB Architects and Régis Côté et associés.

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