The Karsh Award honors the artistic legacy of Yousuf Karsh and his brother Malak Karsh, while continuing an intergenerational chain of mentorship that fosters camera-based innovation.
Seven past Karsh Award laureates have selected seven emergent artists, Joi T. Arcand, AM Dumouchel, Leslie Hossack, Olivia Johnston, Julia Martin, Meryl McMaster and Ruth Steinberg, who will be featured in Continuum: Karsh Award artists welcome a new generation, an upcoming exhibition curated by Melissa Rombout at the City of Ottawa Karsh-Masson Gallery. The artists met with Mrs. Karsh for a cosy reception at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, where Yousuf Karsh’s studio was located.
“Continuum is a project based on connecting many moments in time. It was conceived as a way to celebrate a new wave of emerging Ottawa artists during Canada’s sesquicentennial year. Recipients of the City of Ottawa’s prestigious Karsh Award were invited to choose a local Ottawa artist working with photography as a medium, a relative newcomer to stand in the spotlight.
“The Karsh photographers, innovators stylistically, gracious in comportment and masters of film-based photography, would no doubt be astonished and delighted by the myriad of camera-based practices in this exhibition, and their roles as progenitors of a chain of connection radiating outward. These common threads of welcome entwine here.” – From the catalogue essay by Melissa Rombout.
Continuum runs from September 14 to October 22, 2017 at Karsh-Masson Gallery, City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa, ON. Vernissage: Thursday, September 14, 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Tour with the curator: Sunday, September 24, 2 pm.
The New Generation:
“To the depth of a plow” is an elegy for my father, a farmer on the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation (Saskatchewan), Treaty Six Territory. These photographs were taken during the farm auction marking the end of his career, linking his personal narrative to the spirit and intent of the Treaty to share land with the newcomers only “to the depth of a plow”.
Well into the 20th century, systemic racism and government policies such as the pass and permit systems restricted the travelling and business practices of reserve farmers. Despite these and the challenges of securing financing for farm operations, my father worked the land to make a living at a time when opportunities for First Nations farmers were severely limited.”
“My goal is to push the limits of photography through digital manipulation, image appropriation, scanning and the use of photograms. Abandoning the camera allows me to explore a hybrid photographic language.
Flesh and Stones is a triptych of collages composed of hundreds of digitized and manipulated objects (primarily meat and jewellery) through which the symbolism seems to find an echo in feminine artifice. Moving from the physical world to the virtual, these objects are transformed into unlikely and threatening bodies that exist on the line between the attractive and the repulsive.
“Taking inspiration from representations of femininity in religious iconography and on Instagram, I see these images as allegorical portraits of the contemporary body.”
“I am drawn to locations associated with the monumental events of the mid 20th century, such as Hitler’s Berlin, Stalin’s Moscow and Churchill’s London.
H-Hour, Normandy 1944 is a work in four parts: Juno Beach, Atlantic Wall, Official Telegrams and War Graves. My objective was to stand on the landing beaches at first light on June 6th, D-Day. I was acutely aware of the longing and loss all around me, as I photographed the empty silence.
I hope that these images of memory and commemoration will inspire viewers to look, listen, reflect, enquire and imagine.”