By Paul Gessell
Several of the most innovative artists in the Ottawa area are facing a quandary: Where to exhibit following the closure of Dale Smith Gallery at the end of August?
Smith opened her Beechwood Avenue gallery in 2003. Since then, she has been nurturing and exhibiting an impressive stable of artists, including Heidi Conrod, Sarah Hatton, Amy Thompson, Karen Bailey, Michele Provost, Kristin Bjornerud, Reuel Dechene, Jonathan Hobin and Genevieve Thauvette.
“I am saddened to see the gallery close,” says Conrod, creating of riveting portraits. “Dale created a very unique and refreshing gallery space with her choice of artists and helped many of us get to the next stage in our careers.”
Conrod summed up Smith using such words as “professional,” “fair,” “compassionate” and “ honest.” “Her dedication to the artists and their work was unparalleled and her encouragement of artistic growth suggested that she cared more about the artist than the sale.”
Indeed, throughout those eight years, Smith took chances on young talent and difficult work. Not for her a conventional decorator painting of flowers or a landscape imitating the Group of Seven.