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Spanning the Divide: Art from the University of Ottawa Department of Visual Arts, 2023

Heer Mandaliya, Kelly Rendek, Sarah Tompkins

March 16, 2024
 - May 26, 2024

Curators: Karen D. Miller and Rebecca Anne Rama

Opening Reception: Thursday, April 25, 2024

How do we interact with the places we inhabit? Whether it be our homes, the wider community, or even our perceptions of self, this exhibition explores place as it exists through sensory experiences, between boundaries and memories, and across a set of ongoing, changing relationships. Here, artists Heer Mandaliya, Kelly Rendek, and Sarah Tompkins, recent University of Ottawa Master of Fine Arts (MFA) graduates, consider place as spanning the divide between uncertainty and familiarity.

Each artist explores their own personal narrative as it relates to a sense of belonging, and brings us into repetitive activities of the everyday - whether that be walking on floors, re-imagining our homes, or embracing intuitive gestures. The artworks invite us to create new relationships with the ubiquitous things that surround us, by transforming settings into intimate places.

Our curatorial role is to be mindful of site-specificity and the dialogue happening within the gallery. Each time these works are presented the narrative will shift as they respond to the context of place. In this way, Spanning the Divide expands the artworks’ affective atmosphere into the context of the gallery, accepting the presence of transference and uncertainty. By cultivating a spatial sense of self, the notion of being in between states is unbound.

Presented in partnership between the University of Ottawa, Visual Arts Department, and the Ottawa Art Gallery. For over 13 years these two institutions have collaboratively engaged artists and curators within the local arts community.


The Ottawa Art Gallery would like to recognize RBC Foundation’s support of the OAG’s Connect: Artist Mentorship Program, and also acknowledge the support of the City of Ottawa, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. 


Image: Kelly Rendek, 2023, The Practice of Home (detail), aluminum rounds and tubes, 3D-printed PLA, acrylic and oil on canvas, acrylic on spun polypropylene, 487.6 x 609.6 x 243.8 cm. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Kelly Rendek.

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