Arts & Culture

Art & food to salivate over — Smorgasbord of bargains at OAG’s Le pARTY auction

When Ottawa artist Drew Mosley exhibited his small, round, nature-friendly dioramas at the Ottawa Art Gallery sales and rental venue last year, he sold all but one of the works on opening night.

A star was born.

Drew Mosley Owl & fox pup 2016
Owl & Fox Pup, Drew Mosley, 2016

So, expect a stampede June 9 at the Ottawa Art Gallery fundraiser Le pARTy towards the sole Mosley diorama that is among the 65 artworks to be auctioned off. But don’t despair if someone else snaps up Mosley’s scene of a rather anthropomorphic owl cradling a baby fox. The 64 other works on sale include everything from one of Mimi Cabri’s gaily painted ceramic plates to a phosphorescent Group of Seven-inspired landscape by Gavin Lynch, a mesmerizing ceramic sea creature by Susan Roston and an eerie photograph by Shahla Bahrami of a woman in a face-hiding burqa.

Le pARTy is the Ottawa Art Gallery’s biggest fund-raiser of the year and one of the highlights of the spring social season. This is the 20th anniversary of the auction and the last one in the current premises, a new OAG building opening next year. The gallery is hoping to raise $100,000 on June 9 through ticket sales and auction proceeds. The money goes towards future exhibitions.

Gavin Lynch The Glade No. 3 2016
The Glade No. 3, Gavin Lynch, 2016

The glamour quotient of Le pARTy seems to increase each year with the variety, quality and quantity of food from the city’s top eateries. This year, expect tomatilli-rhubarb cheddar churros from Dish Catering, tuna tartare nori hand rolls from E18hteen, veal and pork meatballs with marinara sauce from The Grand, green papaya rice rolls from Sidedoor, smoked pork rillettes with pickled asparagus and maple mustard from Social, and fresh oysters from Supply and Demand. And that’s only a fraction of what’s on the menu.

Now, stop salivating. Remember, this is an art auction. Each artist has placed a market value on his or her artwork so that this event is not like so many charity art auctions in which artists receive little or nothing for their works. The average market value at this year’s auction is about $1,200. Bids on the painting, sculpture or whatever must start at no less than 45 per cent of the market value. The gallery and artist split the money.

Tim Desclouds A Party for Pieter Brueghel the Elder and his Beekeepers
A Party for Pieter Brueghel the Elder and his Beekeepers, Tim Desclouds

The participating artists vary from emerging creators like Mosley and Roston to more established figures such as Michael Sproule, Carol Wainio and Duncan de Kergommeaux, who is in the process of making a large donation of his paintings to the Ottawa Art Gallery to help the institution fill some rather large gaps in its collection of important local artists. The media of works for auction include paintings, photographs, sculptures, jewellery and a genre-defying, whizz-bang creation by Tim desClouds.

Some of the other artists represented include Cindy Stelmackowich, Barry Ace, Meryl McMaster, Karen Bailey, Mustapha Chadid, Christopher Lea Dunning, Isabelle Gauvreau, Rebecca Mason, Juliana McDonald, Andrew Morrow, Marie-Jeanne Musiol, Norman Takeuchi, Cara Tierney, Eric Walker and Jinny Yu. You can certainly find at least one work to fall in love with among this group.

Christopher Griffin Kent Street Raccoon 2016 smaller
Kent Street Raccoon, Christopher Griffin, 2016

The biggest bargain of the night is the so-called pizza box, which contain four photographic prints, one each from photo-artists Chantal Gervais, Jeffrey Thomas, Justin Wonnacott and Whitney Lewis-Smith. Four prints from four great talents for $300 in total. It’s a steal.

Alexandra Badzak, gallery director, sees the annual auction as an opportunity to bring patrons, artists and art together. “There is no doubt this is a significant event where patrons have real exposure to the talent of the city.”

For information on Le pARTy and to view all the works for auction, visit here and follow the links.

Mimi Cabri Joyful Flag Dance 2005
Joyful Flag Dance, Mimi Cabri, 2005