Open Spaces at the Ottawa Art Gallery

H’Art artists exhibit their paintings with paintings from the Firestone Collection, which includes works from the Group of Seven

For several months the Thursday artists have collaborated with Stephanie Nadeau, Curator of Public, Education, and Community Programs  for the Ottawa Art Gallery, to choose pieces from the Firestone Collection, and to create their own art, which will be exhibited for the show, Open Spaces.

Opening: Thursday October 2, 2014, from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
Click here for directions on Google Maps.

Featured artists:
Malinda Caron, Anna Coulombe, Jenny Francis, Carol Gregory, Christine Hammond, Jessie McComb, Debbie Ratcliffe, Alexa Vanveen, and Mandy Wellman


More information about Open Spaces, provided by Stephanie Nadeau


Evening in the Prairies, Anna Coulombe,

Open Spaces features nine painters from H’Art of Ottawa—a studio that supports the creative practice of artists with developmental disabilities—responding to their choice of artworks from the Firestone Collection of Canadian Art. This exhibition offers open spaces of interpretation and emphasizes the importance of broadening the vital research function of this public art collection to reflect a wide spectrum of perspectives and interests.

Beyond the paintings they have created, these artists have played an integral role in the visual design and overall implementation of the exhibition. Works on paper, found objects, memorabilia, creative writing, and audio recordings suggest unexpected links between objects, images, memory, and fiction, while proposing personal narratives as a valid way of relating to and understanding historical works of art.
Mainstream culture imposes many labels on these nine women artists, often defining them as different from and existing outside of the dominant perceptions of normality. Like race, gender, and sexuality, ability contributes to identity and provides distinct perspectives of the human experience. Bodies and minds relate to the world in ways that are endlessly unique.

Open Spaces turns questions of perception back on the audiences and consumers of historical collections by showcasing alternative perspectives on the work of famed Canadian artists, such as A.Y. Jackson, Marian Scott, Norval Morrisseau, and Lawren Harris. It also opens a dialogue about whose stories are told in our public galleries and museums.

This exhibition participates in the global Disability Rights Movement framework, which seeks to secure equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities, including the right to self-determination and opportunities for cultural representation and participation.

Ottawa Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges Lin Rowsell, Eliora Hall, Azucena Rogers, Carmel Whittle, and the H’Art of Ottawa volunteers.

~ Stephanie Nadeau, Curator of Public, Educational, and Community Programs

The Firestone Collection of Canadian Art is a significant art collection that spans the modern period. In 1973, O.J. and Isobel Firestone donated their collection to the Ontario Heritage Foundation. In 1992, the Foundation transferred ownership to the City of Ottawa. The OAG houses and presents the collection through changing exhibitions that highlight its breadth and diversity.

About H’Art

H’Art of Ottawa is an innovative and inclusive visual arts studio that supports and facilitates the creative practice of artists with intellectual disabilities. The studio’s unique art and literacy program fosters and promotes creative and cultural experiences, collaboration, self-expression, and self-determination. Exhibiting their work through the studio, galleries, and community venues, the artists participate in society in a meaningful way.

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