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War artist Molly Lamb Bobak’s paintings capture the pulse of crowds and the everyday

June 24, 2019

Press Release

OTTAWA – June 24th, 2019 – The Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) presents the work of Molly Lamb Bobak (1920 – 2014), the first Canadian woman war artist, a painter fascinated by gatherings and the everyday life. The exhibition Molly Lamb Bobak: A Woman of the Crowd features works from private and public collections and highlights this artist’s unique ability to capture the pulse of crowds.

”One of the OAG’s curatorial strengths and strategic directions includes recovering artists who have been underrepresented within the Canadian art canon, most especially researching and presenting works by women artists from the modernist period such as our exhibition on Molly Lamb Bobak.”
– Alexandra Badzak, Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ottawa Art Gallery

Part of the first generation of Canadian women earning their livings as artists, Lamb Bobak became known for her paintings, drawings, and watercolours. In 1942, the artist joined the Canadian Women’s Army Corps and was sent overseas where she depicted female military training as well as dynamic scenes of marches and parades.

”Molly Lamb Bobak’s career as a professional artist began as Canada’s first official woman war artist. She remains best known for the paintings she produced once the hostilities ended in Europe and for the humorous, satirical drawings she included in her wartime diary—often with subtle critiques of gender.”
– Michelle Gewurtz, Curator, Ottawa Art Gallery

The exhibition is based on Gewurtz’s publication Molly Lamb Bobak: Life and Work, available in print September 25th, produced for the Art Canada Institute (ACI) and builds upon the foundations of the Firestone Collection of Canadian Art that reflects change from representational art to abstraction in Canadian Art. Lamb Bobak never fully embraced abstraction, but her crowd scenes show its influences. Throngs of people in a multitude of situations, from leisurely activities to student protests and formal gatherings, were recurring themes throughout her sixty-year-long career.

Molly Lamb Bobak: A Woman of the Crowd, curated by OAG’s Curator Michelle Gewurtz, will be on view from June 29, 2019 to January 12, 2020, in the Firestone Gallery.

Michelle Gewurtz
Michelle Gewurtz is the curator at the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG). She holds a PhD in the History of Art from the University of Leeds with a specialization in Feminism and the Visual Arts. Her curatorial projects explore the convergence of gender politics and creative identity, and her research interests extend to both historical and contemporary art practices.

Molly Lamb Bobak
Painter, watercolourist, and printmaker, Molly Lamb Bobak was born in British Columbia in 1920. She is remembered as the first and only woman accredited by the federal government as an official Canadian war artist of WWII. In 1995, Lamb Bobak was presented with the Order of Canada for her work.

Molly Lamb Bobak: A Woman of the Crowd artworks and captions:

Listing information:
Exhibition Title: Molly Lamb Bobak: A Woman of the Crowd
Exhibition Dates: from June 29, 2019 to January 12, 2020
Location: Ottawa Art Gallery, Firestone Gallery, 50 Mackenzie King Bridge, Ottawa, ON, K1N 0C5, CANADA
Admission: Free
Gallery Hours: 9 AM to 9 PM daily (except holidays)
Free Childcare: Fridays from 3 PM to 7 PM

Curator Tour with Michelle Gewurtz
Wednesday, August 21, 2019, at 10 am
Join curator Michelle Gewurtz for a tour of Molly Lamb Bobak: Woman of the Crowd.
Tour at begins at the Visitor Experience desk.

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For media enquiries, to book an interview with the Curator or for a tour:
Véronique Couillard
Officer, Media, Public and Francophone Relations
613-233-8699 +244

About the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG)
OAG is Ottawa’s municipal art gallery and cultural hub. Located in Ottawa’s downtown core, the expanded Gallery is a contemporary luminous cube designed by KPMB Architects and Régis Côté et associés.

OAG receives funding from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Ottawa.


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