Margo McDiarmid & Kelly McDonald | Book Launch

Margo McDiarmid & Kelly McDonald | Book Launch

Margo McDiarmid | The Outdoor Rink & Kelly McDonald | Relics
June 20 - 27 

Vernissage: Thursday, June 20 @ 5 - 7 pm
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Wall Space Gallery is proud to present the works by Margo McDiarmid and Kelly McDonald. Through book-making and the photographic process, these artists use the camera as a way to connect with others and create narratives about loss. Both projects focus on Ottawa and the uniqueness that comes with looking inwards in relation to the surrounding landscapes. They each depict themes about how our environments shape us and of narratives that can be relayed visually when we pay attention.


The Outdoor Rink by Margo McDiarmid is a study on outdoor rinks and their cultural significance in the Canadian landscape. McDiarmid reflects on the role these outdoor community spaces played during the pandemic and how they became a place for people to safely convene. Her photographs depict harsh Ottawa winters bundled in hazy romantic light which evokes similar feelings to the imagery of Gregory Crewdson. While approached from a documentarian perspective, there is a dream-like surreal quality to her style that edges on dystopian. McDiarmid forces her viewers to notice moments ordinarily passed by, like the long cast shadows from the haloing of the rink lights.


Relics by Kelly McDonald depicts her desire for softness juxtaposed with the rigidity of her body due to living with Parkinson’s disease. McDonald sources local indigenous botanicals from the Ottawa area and documents them. Fascinated with their sculptural nature and freeness she preserves them using historical processes, much like the German artist, Karl Blossefeldt. The erosion of her prints mirrors her gradual and ongoing loss in mobility. McDonald’s searching for florals is as important as documenting them, feeling as though they are gifts from the natural world. Her openness about her disease and acceptance shine through in these works while highlighting how easy it is to ignore these realities of life. The preservation of beauty reminds us of what we’re holding on to but also what’s to come. 

While these projects seem different at first glance they represent the range of depictions of grief and joy through the photographic process. From historical processes to contemporary works, Margo McDiarmid and Kelly McDonald’s typological works echo photo-masters from the past 200 years.

 - Ava Margueritte

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