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Five Major Ottawa-Gatineau Artists Honored by Ottawa Art Gallery at Inaugural Investiture Ceremony

December 1, 2023

(from left to right) Duncan De Kergommeaux, Jennifer Dickson, Michael Sproule, Norman Takeuchi and Russell Yuristy at the 2023 OAG Artists Investiture Ceremony, photo: Lindsay Ralph

OAG honored the artists during a ceremony while also celebrating its 35th anniversary and 5th year in its new building

On Thursday November 30, 2023, the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) Board of Directors paid tribute to five exceptional visual artists from the Ottawa-Gatineau region. The Artists Investiture Ceremony, held in the Alma Duncan Salon and attended by donors, stakeholders, and artists, celebrated the influence of these established artists and their impact on the Ottawa art scene and beyond while also marking milestones for the OAG.

The memorable celebration reflected on the 35 years of the Gallery and the fifth anniversary of its new building. OAG has flourished as an institution since its beginnings in 1988 thanks to a grassroots group of artists and city-builders who fought to have a gallery to represent the art of our region and share it with the nation and the world. In 2010, OAG began an eight-year journey to design and construct a new, purpose-built gallery. The OAG Expansion opened on April 28, 2018 with five times the space to showcase more artists, stories and voices.

(from left to right) Mark Schaan, Chair, Board of Directors, Ottawa Art Gallery; the Hon. Mona Fortier, MP Ottawa Vanier; Alexandra Badzak, Director and CEO, Ottawa Art Gallery; Mark Sutcliffe, Mayor of Ottawa; Vanessa Pilotte, Vice Chair, Board of Directors, Ottawa Art Gallery, photo: Lindsay Ralph

Throughout the decades, OAG has showcased, collected and advocated for hundreds of artists and continues to support them at every stage of their trajectory. With the Artist Investiture, a new annual initiative, the OAG Board of Directors aims to brings attention to the important legacies of influential Ottawa-Gatineau artists, celebrating their remarkable artistic achievements and contributions to the field of art. These artists not only enriched our community, but they also played integral roles in the foundations of the Ottawa Art Gallery.

“As we renew our strategic plan, we are thrilled to recommit to fuelling the love of art and artists, the lifeblood and mission of our organization. Tonight’s investiture is testament to the unique vision we aim to bring as the cultural amplifier and catalyst in our communities, and of the remarkable artistic talent we are so lucky to draw on. We will continue to position the Gallery as path-breaking institution, fostering community and connection in much the same ways these tremendous artists have done.”  

– Mark Schaan, Chair, Board of Directors, Ottawa Art Gallery

The OAG Board of Directors is thrilled to share the name of the five outstanding artists inducted into this year’s investiture, in alphabetical order:

Jennifer Dickson, photo: Lindsay Ralph

Jennifer Dickson is one of Canada’s most distinguished photographic artists. She had already established an international reputation as an artist, before emigrating to Canada in 1969. Born in the Republic of South Africa in 1936, she studied at Goldsmiths’ College School of Art (University of London, England) from 1954-1959; and from 1960-1965 was an Associate of the prestigious graphic workshop, Atelier 17 in Paris, studying under the late S.W. Hayter. She has lived and worked in England, France, Jamaica and the United States. In 1974, she became a Canadian Citizen and now resides in Ottawa, ON. Since 1962, Jennifer Dickson has had more than 60 one-person exhibitions in six countries and has participated in more than 400 group exhibitions. She has been a guest lecturer at nine US Universities, and she has been invited to speak across Canada at Canadian art schools and universities.

Duncan de Kergommeaux, photo: Lindsay Ralph

Duncan de Kergommeaux was born in British Columbia in 1927 and attended the Banff School of Fine Arts.  From 1955-1957 he studied with Hans Hofmann where he began to develop a sensibility towards abstraction.  From 1970 – 1993 de Kergommeaux taught in the visual arts department at the University of Western Ontario where he was Chair of the Department from 1981-1984. De Kergommeaux has had more than 60 solo exhibitions and over 100 group exhibitions since 1953 including exhibiting at various Biennials of Canadian Art and a solo show at the National Gallery of Canada. His work is in the Ottawa Art Gallery, National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, Museum London, McIntosh Gallery and the Canada Council Art Bank as well as countless corporate art collections. Duncan de Kergommeaux lives and maintains a studio in Chelsea, QC.

Michael Sproule, photo: Lindsay Ralph

Michael Sproule is a Canadian landscape painter focusing on geology and geological themes such as glaciers, deposition, erosion, uplift and the transforming role of nature over time. Born in Ottawa in 1934, Michael Sproule spent formative summers in the Gatineau Hills and was strongly impressed by visits to Alberta and Newfoundland. In 1974 he began studying with Bruce Heggtviet at the Ottawa School of Art. In 1976 he left his job as Manager of Operations for the Ottawa Carleton Regional Film Library in order to devote full time to his art. Sproule’s solo exhibitions include: Christie Gallery, Merrickville, 1979; Lee Brandy Gallery, Ottawa, 1980; Gallery Jean, Ottawa, 1982. He has also participated in group shows at the Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa City Hall, IODE Exhibition, Ottawa Art Lending, Ottawa Little Theatre, Ottawa Symphony Orchestra Auction, Heritage House Museum, Wallack’s, Mazarine, McPherson, Sussex, Smiths Falls, Del Bello Gallery Toronto, and the National Council of Jewish Women, Ottawa. At present, Michael Sproule teaches advanced landscape painting at the Ottawa School of Art.

Norman Takeuchi, photo: Lindsay Ralph

Norman Takeuchi is a Japanese Canadian painter. Shortly after graduating from the Vancouver School of Art, he moved to London, England, for one year to concentrate on painting. While there, a chance encounter with a gallery owner resulted in his first solo exhibition. Back in Canada, he found employment in Ottawa as a graphic and exhibition designer, all the while continuing to paint and exhibit. In 1996, he took early retirement in order to devote himself full time to painting. His work is represented in the permanent collections of the Ottawa Art Gallery, Canadian War Museum, Canada Council Art Bank, the City of Ottawa Fine Art Collection, Carleton University Art Gallery, Confederation Gallery in Charlottetown, P.E.I., Mitel Corporation, and in private collections in Canada and abroad.  Norman Takeuchi still resides in Ottawa, and his solo exhibition “Shapes in Between: Norman Takeuchi A Retrospective” is currently on view at the Ottawa Art Gallery, until March 24, 2024.

Russell Yuristy, photo: Lindsay Ralph

Russell Yuristy was born in Goodeve, Saskatchewan in 1936. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Masters of Science in Art from the University of Wisconsin. He is a well-known printmaker, painter and teacher whose works are based on the land and animal life around him. He is also known for designing playground structures for parks in various cities (he has playground structures in Ottawa, Spokane, Churchill, Swift Current, Saskatoon, Vancouver and Regina). His works can be found at the National Gallery of Canada, Canada Council Art Bank, Mendel Art Gallery, MacKenzie Art Gallery, McDonald Corporation (Chicago) and Shaklee Corporation (San Francisco). Russell lives in Ottawa, where he has taught printmaking at the Ottawa School of Art.

The name of each inductee will be permanently displayed in a prominent location at OAG, with each year’s slate of artists added cumulatively. The selection was through a jury of peers.

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