Ode, this year’s grad show, will be one of the largest ever. An annual tradition, this is the last opportunity for artists in their final year of their undergraduate degree to present their work that has been the product of four years of artistic exploration and self-discovery. The exhibit is run entirely by the students, who organized themselves into groups responsible for fundraising, planning for the opening night, or creating the catalogue.
The nature of this gallery makes its latest exhibit, Full Catastrophe, appear almost ironic. The pieces, all created by University of Ottawa MFA candidates, disrupt the tranquility, leaving behind a catastrophe of sorts, reflecting the nature of the seven artists’ pieces featured in the exhibit.
The exhibit is the brainchild of second-year visual arts students Kelsea Shore and Sarah Elizabeth Beltrame and features paintings by Beltrame, an installation piece by Shore, performative pieces by the dancing thneeds, and an interactive piece where you can become a part of the art yourself.
For University of Ottawa visual arts alumna Shelby Dawn Smith, her latest exhibit Different Every Time was all about challenging herself as an artist and creating pieces which reflected her personal growth.
Curious Creatures is Studio LaMouche’s latest exhibit, and includes graphic drawings and prints that use an abstract take on anatomy. Lucie B’s pieces in the show are part of her ongoing “Fly” collection, which includes black-and-white prints of the insect taking part in human activities—in one drawing he is playing a guitar, in another wearing a suit.
One of the artists behind this mural was Kalkidan Assefa, an Ottawa-based artist also known as @drippin_soul, his Instagram handle and tag for his art. When members of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) decided they wanted a mural painted in the University Centre (UCU) for Black History Month, they knew exactly who to call.
Rachel Kalpana James, one of the artists involved with the exhibition, explains that all the artists who contributed to There’s Room have had experiences or a personal connection to migration. Each artist has a unique story about crossing borders—some have lived in Ottawa for many years, whereas others have recently arrived.
The collaboration between art and science was natural and probably destined to happen. The curators chose the space based on the similarities between artists and engineers.
When assigned with the theme of water, Razek says the group wanted to approach the subject in a more psychological context, studying controversial water conservation issues in Canada, “and how contemporary art can play a role in that.”