Five visual arts students demonstrate growing use of multimedia in art

A student exhibition exploring the open-ended concept of ‘spaces’ and the way we interact in and with them is open now at Gallery 115, with a vernissage set for Tuesday, Feb. 27.

The exhibit, called Enter-Space, is being curated by fourth-year University of Ottawa visual arts student Anika Lalonde, and features works by bachelor of fine arts students Kelsea Shore, Maria Merheb, Lila Maitre, and Lalonde, and master’s student John Ancheta.

Enter-Space is all kinds of different interpretations of spaces. A space is an undetermined or determined amount of area that you can present differently: digitally, through Instagram, or through virtual spaces using phones, or a really abstract sound-based (space), or things you can recall or remember,” said Lalonde. “It’s really open to interpretation.”

The interpretations of “space” really are varied in this exhibit. Lalonde pointed out Shore’s exhibit using phones to explore virtual space, in which people can see themselves in the screen, while Merheb photographed typical winter scenes in the eastern National Capital Region (NCR).

Lalonde pointed out that the number of artists using multimedia in this exhibit is part of a growing trend in the wider art world. As technology increases and becomes more accessible, artists are exploring ways to use common technologies in unique ways. For instance, Lalonde uses Instagram to make maps and a photo board of her walks around Ottawa.

“There’s definitely more multimedia going around,” Lalonde said. “Like combinations of two different mediums or using digital sources as their medium of expression.” There is now an interactive element to art that was unavailable a decade ago.

The other pieces on display are a photo book of Sandy Hill houses by Maitre, and a sound and video installation by Ancheta.

The multimedia element at the exhibit is somewhat of a rarity in Ottawa right now. There aren’t any other shows in the region quite like it, Lalonde noted, so this is the best opportunity to explore the burgeoning use of multimedia in art.

The vernissage on Feb. 27 will be an opportunity to meet the artists and enjoy some food and drink. Lalonde says people should come out to explore the multimedia element, as this is the latest trend in the art world overall.

The big draw, says Lalonde, is “the fact that it’s media-based.”

Gallery 115 is always open to student artists, and any visual art student can pitch an idea for an exhibit and curate the space.

The irony of the exhibition happening in a space isn’t lost on Lalonde, who wants visitors to be aware that as they explore these other spaces—Sandy Hill, the eastern NCR, abstract video spaces—they are themselves in a space.   

“Keep in mind that it’s a space, and there are different ways to view and perceive a space, and hopefully (visitors) see their world differently,” Lalonde concluded on her hopes for the exhibition.