Entre nous estivale – L’exposition Gail Bourgeois : Correspondance

Entre nous estivale - L'exposition Gail Bourgeois : Correspondence tv Rogers, 7:34 Barbara Laurenstin en entrevue avec Véronique Couillard Published on Aug 2, 2016 Entre-nous estivale visite une exposition qui présente des œuvre s conceptuelles que l’artiste Gail Bourgeois a réalisées en écho avec la Collection Firestone d’art canadien.

Entre-nous estivale visite une exposition qui présente des œuvres conceptuelles que l’artiste Gail Bourgeois a réalisées en écho avec la Collection Firestone d’art canadien.

Barbara Laurenstin en entrevue avec Véronique Couillard de l’GAO.

tv Rogers, 7:34 – publié le 2 août 2016 – regarder ici




Lovely photo by David Barbour from the Ottawa Art Gallery opening on June 23, 2016

Left to Right: Paula Murray, artist; Rachel Gotlieb, curator, Rebecca Basciano, curator; Gail Bourgeois, artist; Jerry Grey, artist; Alexandra Badzak, OAG Director and CEO; Robbin Deyo, artist and Michelle Gewurtz, curator.




Ottawa Art Gallery
Curator: Rebecca Basciano
Exhibition from June 4 to September 18, 2016

Photo D Barbour 044

Fluidity and openness infect the closed and static (detail), 2016
Photo: David Barbour

Events and talks / Événements et rencontres

  •  Curator’s Tour with Rebecca Basciano has been moved to Tuesday, July 5 at 6:00 PM  /  Parcours avec la commissaire Rebecca Basciano, le mardi 5 juillet à 18h. Veuillez noter que cet évènement à été reporté du 29 juin au 5 juillet.


  • HOW DEEP IS YOUR RHIZOME? Thursday, July 14, 7 PM
    What do old-growth forests, gift economies, and the Internet have in common? Find out on Thursday, July 14 during a multimedia looking, listening, learning, and making event inspired by the exhibition’s focus on organic connections and non-hierarchical networks. We’re crowdsourcing ideas for content. Participate in shaping the event by sending in links, ideas, projects, and excerpts in any format (podcasts, videos, people we can Skype… and beyond!) that deal with the themes of networks, systems and other nodes of connection.  
  • JUSQU’OÙ S’ÉTEND VOTRE RHIZOME ?  le jeudi 14 juillet, à 19
    Qu’est-ce que les forêts anciennes, l’économie de don et l’internet ont en commun? Découvrez le jeudi 14 juillet lors d’un événement multimédia où vous êtes invité à regarder, écouter, apprendre ou produire. Cet événement est inspiré conçu à partir des thèmes dans l’exposition, les connexions organiques et les réseaux non hiérarchiques, nous recherchons les idées du public pour le contenu. Participez à la définition de l’événement en nous envoyant des liens, des idées, des projets ou des extraits dans tout format (podcasts, vidéos, des gens avec qui nous pourrions « Skyper » etc.,) qui traitent des thèmes entourant les réseaux, les systèmes et autres nœuds ou connexions. 


    Thursday, September 15, 6:30 PM
    Browse the exhibition Gail Bourgeois: Correspondence in the company of artists Gail Bourgeois and Emily Rose Michaud.
    le jeudi 15 septembre, à 18 h 30
    Parcourez l’exposition Gail Bourgeois. Correspondance en compagnie des artistes Gail Bourgeois et Emily Rose Michaud.



BOOK-Gail Bourgeois Correspondence

Texts by:  Rebecca Basciano

This catalogue accompanies Gail Bourgeois: Correspondence, an exhibition highlighting new work by artist Gail Bourgeois inspired by her engagement with the Ottawa Art Gallery’s Firestone Collection of Canadian Art. Bourgeois interweaves motifs used by artists Arthur Lismer, A.Y. Jackson, Edmund Alleyn and Anne Savage into horizontal, non-linear renderings done in ink wash, wax crayon, graphite and watercolour. The works are simultaneously organic and architectural, delicate and bold, and reveal Bourgeois’ sophisticated understanding of composition. The artist draws inspiration from roots, rhizomes and mycelial networks found in nature, intermingled with themes such as connectivity, multiplicity and cartography found in A Thousand Plateaus (1980), the collaborative philosophical text authored by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, to produce works that cause a rupture in overarching narratives and serve as a departure point for new ways of thinking.

32 pages + 6 page foldout (softcover)
ISBN: 978-1-894906-52-4

This catalogue from the OAG Intervention Series can be purchased at the Ottawa Art Gallery or ordered through ABC Art Books Canada.



I am showing new works created as an intervention into the Firestone Collection of Canadian Art at the Ottawa Art Gallery.
Meet me in the gallery the afternoon of Sunday June 12th between 1 pm and 5 pm.
It will be a pleasure to see you!

Gail Bourgeois: Correspondence
from roots to rhizomes to mycelial networks

Curator: Rebecca Basciano
Exhibition from June 4 to September 18, 2016
Opening reception : June 23 from 6 pm
Arts Court, 2 Daly Ave., Ottawa



promo image_72

Je présente de nouvelles œuvres à la Galerie d’art d’Ottawa.
Je vous invite à venir m’y rencontrer le dimanche 12 juin entre 13 h et 17 h.
Au plaisir de vous y voir !

Gail Bourgeois. Correspondance
de racines en rhizomes en réseaux mycéliens

Commissaire : Rebecca Basciano
Exposition à l’affiche du 4 juin au 18 septembre 2016
Vernissage : le jeudi 23 juin à compter de 18 h
Arts Court est situé au 2, avenue Daly, Ottawa



Cold War Pieces

Gail Bourgeois

Harvest, Sweep, Gather
May 13 – August 20, 2016

Workers Arts and Heritage Centre
Hamilton, Ontario

Source material for Cold War Pieces came from three areas: the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum archives where I was artist-in-residence in 2013, and from emblematic images which circulate as currency about the period. An important source of visual information was gained through commissioning two photographers, Giuliano Pirani and Maggie Knaus, to produce pinhole photographs. These blurred and distorted images provided an excellent resemblance to cold war information gathering where there is little control over what will be recorded in a dark chamber through the tiny single beam of light that is allowed to enter.

A broadsheet for Cold War Pieces was produced for this exhibition.

Exhibition essay by Siobhan Angus.



ottawater, issue 12

nodes + lines

Lines + nodes (seen above) was included in Ottawa’’s annual pdf poetry journal
edited by rob mclennan

Founded to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the City of Ottawa, “ottawater” and its chemical formula/logo “O2(H2O)” is a poetry annual produced exclusively on-line focusing on Ottawa poets and poetics. The first issue appeared in January 2005.

Download ottawater, issue 12


BYOA 2016

BYOA (Bring Your Own Art) on the Meaning of Life was the sixth exhibition in RIA’s series Growing Up Human. On January 1, 2016, the walls in the RIA Project Room were empty. René stood ready with his hammer, nails, hooks and tape. Artists arrived with everything from large paintings, to poems, and even a cookie! By 3 pm most of the works by 35 participants were installed and we enjoyed the festivities, including a reading of poems, some story-telling and chanting. – Petra Halkes

There Is No Inherent Meaning_BYOA_2016

Artists were asked to bring a work which responded to the question: What is the Meaning of Life?  My response was a pencil drawing with the text “There Is No Inherent Meaning” printed on the inside bottom edge of the frame.

Visit the RIA Project Room blog What is the Meaning of Life?





The Ottawa Art Gallery and the Ottawa School of Art

OAG_OSA fall 2015

Student-led tour and discussion
Wednesday November 11, 2015
The Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario

The OAG’s ArtWise Council, Gail Bourgeois and the Ottawa School of Art invite you to attend a student-led tour and discussion of the artworks in the current exhibition nichola feldman-kiss: witness.

Students leading the tour are: Carol Brodkin-Sang, Andrea Clinton, Assel El-Rayes, Farida Houseiny, Patricia Kenny, Julie Mercantini, Mary Ann Penashue, Delphine Saint-Fort, Debbie Sleeman and Joshua Sullivan.


Reading Out Loud at the JNAAG

 Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery

Reading Out Loud
Thursday, July 9, 2015
The Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery, Sarnia, Ontario

I had the pleasure of facilitating another Reading Out Loud event in the context of the brilliant traveling exhibition, Alma: The Life and Art of Alma Duncan (1917-2004). This retrospective exhibition, organized and circulated by the Ottawa Art Gallery, celebrates Duncan’s lifework in recognizing her as an inextricable part of Canadian art history.

Here is a link to the Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery.


Blink Gallery 2005-2015

Blink 2005-2015

It is so great to see this vital Ottawa-based artists’ collective celebrating their 10 year anniversary !

Go Blink!


Lines in Nature / La nature des choses

 Press release-Ad_FINALCOPY

Lines in Nature / La nature des choses
May 23 to June 21, 2015

I initiated and organized a community-based collaborative exhibition project structured through inviting the artists and not by choosing the works. In this way I avoided thinking of myself as a curator and rather as one of the artists participating in an experimental project. Seventeen artists, professionals paired with junior artists, produced collaborative art works. The art pieces contain the marks and sensibilities of two artists working in close communication. In addition, the project is a partnership between La Fab – Centre des arts, de la culture et du patrimoine de Chelsea (Québec) and the Ottawa School of Art. It brings together artists from two distinct communities with students and recent graduates of the Fine Arts Diploma Program at the Ottawa School of Art.



n.paradoxa international feminist art journal


Six page portfolio in War/Conflict, n.paradoxa, London, England, vol. 35, 2015, pp. 16-21

n.paradoxa (ISSN: 1461-0434) publishes scholarly and critical articles written by women critics, art historians and artists which extend feminist art, theory, criticism and history on and about the work of contemporary women artists post-1970 (visual arts only) working anywhere in the world. The editor is Katy Deepwell.





Reading Out Loud

Reading Out Loud with artist Gail Bourgeois │Lire à voix haute avec l'artiste Gail Bourgeois

Ottawa Art Gallery

Thursday, November 6, 2014, 7 – 9 PM | Registration Required

Artist Gail Bourgeois will lead an open reading of Linda Nochlin’s groundbreaking article “Why have there been no great women artists?” (1971). Explore the evolution of feminist theory as it relates to art history, as part of the OAG’s current exhibition ALMA: The Life and Art of Alma Duncan (1917-2004).  Also in attendance will be Jaclyn Meloche, part-time professor at the University of Ottawa, and Catherine Sinclair, OAG Senior Curator, the exhibition’s co-curators.

Reading Out Loud_OAG_2014


Poignant Art in Canada’s Cold War Bunker

Bourgeois_review_Poignant Art in Canada's Cold War Bunker - The Epoch Times

Dr. Maureen Korp presented on To warn other Canadians at the School of Visual Arts Conference, Session 12, NYC, New York, October 31, 2014.

Read Maureen Korp’s review: Poignant Art in Canada’s Cold War Bunker – The Epoch Times


 Exhibition of the Month: To warn other Canadians

Espionart page

It was an honor to be listed as ‘exhibition of the month’ in Espionart Hot Art / Cold War, July 8, 2014.


 The Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum

My solo exhibition To warn other Canadians / Avertir les autres Canadiens,
took place in The Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum, former CFS Carp, Ontario,
April 26 – September 30, 2014

portrait of the artist

Text below was published with artist’s pages in n.paradoxa, London, England, vol. 35, 2015, pp. 16-21

In November 2013, I was invited as artist-in-residence to the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum. The museum, started in 1997, occupies the Canadian Government’s coldwar bunker, active between 1961-1994, as central command-control centre to house 535 key members of government and military in the case of nuclear war.

The residency’s main aim was to develop new works based on the museum’s unique history, its archive and architecture. Source material for Cold War Pieces came from three areas: the museum’s vast archive; emblematic images from the Internet which circulate as currency about the period and pinhole images of the bunker’s spaces which I commissioned from two photographers, Giuliano Pirani and Maggie Knaus. I was looking for blurred and distorted images to parallel a culture of spying, fear and mistrust. The pinhole camera photographs provided an excellent resemblance to cold war information gathering where there is little control over what will be recorded in a dark chamber through the tiny single beam of light that is allowed to enter. Generally, these distortions provide little certainty about what is being looked at.

The drawing method I devised for these works played an important role in organising vast amounts of information and in developing a personal response to the specifics of place and historical moment. The document-sized scale relates to human proportions and to the time and space referenced by the exhibition site. I hoped these constructed narratives in the artworks would encourage the viewers’ own engagement through their own interpretations of these images. Motifs repeated throughout the series construct and interweave related themes and references. For example, Potsdam Conference / Hiroshima represents the confluence of Churchill, Truman and Stalin at the conference dividing Germany and Western Europe four days before the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

The exhibition at the end of my residency displayed the series of 95 black and white inkjet prints scanned from my drawings of layered information placed among the already existing bunker displays. Marcia Lea, in the exhibition catalogue, contrasted my work with Martha Rosler’s:

Bourgeois’ use of juxtaposition and the subject matter reference the photo-montage work, Bringing Home the War: House Beautiful, 1967-1994, by American artist Martha Rosler made in protest of the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War. Rosler contrasted the disturbingly different realities of the war zone, as represented by soldiers or casualties, with the idealized home in America, as depicted in magazines …Both Bourgeois and Rosler bring together surprising images and symbols to raise issues concerning war. Bourgeois’ work approaches the Cold War from the perspective of the twenty-first century and although it is recent, it is history. While Rosler compressed ‘here’ and ‘there’, Bourgeois compresses the ‘then’ and ‘now’ … [Cold War Pieces] deals with issues that are relevant, not only to the recent past, but also to the here and now. Bourgeois’ work artistically mines the recent past to inform the critical present.

My approach in these works was to find a way to draw my subject as something intimate, to be looked at closely and to be reflected upon, another look at what is familiar. As an artist I believe my role is parallel to that of the fool in the royal courts of Europe. Only the fool was permitted to speak of a truth to the king. The fool could be beaten if the message displeased, but his role was to report what was observed.


 A Tangential Exploration

Tangential Exploration_RIA Project


Attic drawing I   Attic drawing I_ detail

Drawings and collages developed from Deborah Margo’s Salt and Paper. My works for A Tangential Exploration were produced for and shown in the RIA Artist Project Room, Ottawa. In addition, they have been produced as an envelope project.


RIA Artists Project Room

One Thing Led to Another
The Story of Deborah Margo’s Salt and Paper Intervention and the Tangents and Events that Followed
Petra Halkes (ed.)


DOCUMENTUM ONE –  online catalogue here
 Pages with images and text covering my works:

  • Early Tangential Exploration, pp 12-14
  • Never Forever, pp 29-31
  • Art in Odd Spaces, pp 41-43

RIA (Research in Art)
This is an initiative started by Petra Halkes, artist, writer and curator and her artist-husband Rene Price, who live in Ottawa, Canada. From the local to the global, RIA aims to promote discussions and reading on contemporary art. RIA wants to serve real-life intellectual and social needs of a broad spectrum of artists, art writers, curators, dealers and viewers in Ottawa and the region. RIA takes place but needs no space of its own. Although at the moment most of the events happen at Petra and René’s house, RIA at times branches out to other locations.

RIA (Artist Project Room)
The project room is part of a domestic setting, the living area in Petra and René’s home. From November 2011, [link to my exhibition, Incidental things] the RIA Artist Project Room has been an exciting and very satisfying experience for René and me, and, judging from responses, just as much for the artists that had exhibitions here and the many, many viewers who dropped in.

Beginning in September 2013, with Deborah Margo’s domestic installation Salt and Paper, we looked for different ways of exhibiting art at RIA. Inspired by Anthony Huberman’s  The Artist’s Institute, New York, we used Deborah’s Salt and Paper installation as a springboard for related group or solo shows, discussions, lectures, screenings etc., over a span of twelve months.  Unlike The Artist’s Institute, however, we did not pre-plan any of these events. Also unlike The Artist’s Institute, our focus was not not so much on Deborah, the artist, but on the evolving themes that emerged from her work.  A wrap-up of the year-long project took place on Sept. 7 and 13, 2014.

Petra’s RIA
The Research In Art Project Room has a more personal note. Petra says,  “Ria was my sister, who died in 2006. I like to hear her name”
You can contact Petra Halkes by email at: researchinart.ria@gmail.com