Artful Musing

THE ARTFUL BLOGGER: A long overdue tribute to Ottawa art star Pat Durr

Pat Durr, Waiting (War), 1988, acrylic on canvas, 167.6 x 241.3 cm, collection of the City of Ottawa, © CARCC, 2012

By Paul Gessell

There is much to be said against the Ottawa Art Gallery. Its exhibition spaces are too small and placed helter-skelter in the bowels of Arts Court. Its choice of exhibitions, artists, and curators are often perplexing and its relations with the local art community could certainly be better.

But sometimes the OAG gets it right. And the newly opened retrospective Pat Durr: Persistence of Chaos is one of those times.

First of all, Durr has been one of Ottawa’s art stars for half a century. A retrospective at the very gallery she helped found through her decades of arts activism was long overdue.

Born in Kansas City in 1939, Durr came to Ottawa in the 1960s and bravely demonstrated that women, too, could be abstract expressionists, a genre largely considered an all-boys’ club back then.