The School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa is home to the Redwall Gallery, the Ottawa region's only independent and critical gallery space dedicated to photographic and video art. Located in the heart of Little Italy, within SPAO, the Redwall Gallery is close to Ottawa's new Light Rail Transit system, Dow's Lake, and the Arboretum. The Gallery is a short walk from other arts hubs, small businesses, museums, restaurants, nightlife and entertainment.

Gallery programming includes the exhibition of photographic and video art work by emerging and established artists, working locally, nationally and internationally. Gallery programming will begin shortly after SPAO's facility is complete. For inquiries or partnerships, contact

2013-14 exhibitions


Photographs by Sarah Anderson
Vernissage: Friday, March 7, 2014, 17:00 - 21:00
Exhibition: March 7 to 21, 2014
Artist Talk: Friday, March 14, 15:00

Documenting personal journeys using photographs can leave us with poignant visual evidence of what we encounter. SPAO student Sarah Anderson’s upcoming solo exhibition begins with such evidence but ultimately runs much deeper. Stemming from a storyline full of ironic twists and turns, Return to the Pacific Coast Highway offers an atmospheric meditation on the intertwining of travel, memory, and identity.

The exhibition’s 50-plus colour prints (shot in medium format and 35 mm) and two short video installations date back to October of 2013 during Anderson’s solo drive down California’s Pacific Coast Highway. The trip was a meticulously planned to retrace of the same route driven by Anderson and her parents some 25 years earlier when the artist was a toddler too young to remember what she had witnessed.


Constellations of the Northern Celestial Hemisphere
Works by Treawna Harvey

Vernissage: Friday, February 14 (17:00–21:00)
Exhibition: February 14 – March 5, 2014

Human observation of the cosmos dates back to prehistory. The wondrous display of the astral night sky has served as a calendar and map—letting us chart time and space—and inspired myriad myths of gods, beasts and queens—helping us grapple with the enormity of the universe.

SPAO student Treawna Harvey has nurtured her own interest in stargazing from her early years, when she often gazed upward searching for the Little Dipper and its North Star. A recent SPAO course in astrophotography inspired Harvey to create NORTH, a collection of mixed media works that map out northern constellations. The project has been a learning experience that Harvey is keen to share.

“I wish to turn something of incomprehensible scale into an object that can be held in the hand or observed at a close distance,” explained the artist.

NORTH features ten 12x12-inch works. To create the three-dimensional pieces, Harvey poured a transparent resin on top of colour photographs and then etched the lines of constellations into the hardened resin surface.

Constellations are internationally recognized celestial patterns that feature imaginary lines drawn between stars with apparent proximity to one another. Some of the more recognizable constellations included in NORTH are Cassiopeia, Gemini and Ursa Minor.

After researching the constellations that are more readily visible in the northern hemisphere, Harvey travelled an hour south of Ottawa to rural Finch, Ontario to capture the images.


Zachary Pantalone: Still Life

Zachary Pantalone’s Still Life exhibition offers large servings of the vivid colours and textures of food inspired by American Mark Rothko’s transitional “multiform” or colour field paintings. Beginning in 1946, Rothko became acclaimed for these bold abstractions and continued producing them until his death in 1970.

Still Life will include seven very large prints (42 x 58 inches) of fresh food arrangements that stimulate both the mind and the appetite. The prints are limited edition; five of each will be available for purchase.

The two-week-long show opens with a vernissage at SPAO on Friday, January 24, 2014, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“With exclusively food as my medium, I mimicked Rothko and in some cases re-created his works as accurately as possible,” said Pantalone, an Ottawa native who balances a preference for fashion projects with recurring interest in food photography.

After completing an early series at SPAO photographing olives, “I strained myself trying to come up with new concepts involving portraiture and architecture but I was drawn in by food yet again,” explains Pantalone.

“In this exhibition, I try to use foods that are recognizable almost immediately,” the artist continues. “Fruits and vegetables work best with this type of work mainly because of their colour and shape, as well as their ability to be quickly identified.”



A multi-disciplinary solo exhibition on view at SPAO from Friday, January 10 (vernissage 4 to 9 p.m.) until Thursday, January 23. Artist talk: Friday, January 17, at 3 p.m.

Troubled by vivid nightmares since childhood, SPAO student Dante Penman found safe harbor in the work of H.P. Lovecraft (1890 -1937), an American now seen as one of the 20th Century’s most significant horror fiction authors. Inspired by Lovecraft’s gothic and weird narratives, Penman has painstakingly assembled Liebe Handwerk! (“love craft” in German), a multi-disciplinary exhibition that combines experimental photogram images, linocut relief prints styled after German expressionism, sculpture, and pictorial poems and other texts collected in a 40-page bound book. Also included are notes, sketches, and other physical evidence of the artist’s hands-on methods.

Read the story behind the exhibition in the SPAO Blog.



Governor General's Award Winners in Visual and Media Arts: 2005–2-13. Portraits by Martin Lipman

 A Sight Better will open with a vernissage at the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa's in house Redwall Gallery on June 14th, from 6pm - 9pm. A complimentary set of portraits will be on view at Exposure Gallery from June 17 to July 26, 2013.

This collection of portraits represents Lipman's ongoing work documenting Canada's most senior artists. For the last nine years Lipman photographed Governor General Award laureates for the Canada Council for the Arts.

"Martin Lipman's portraits of Governor General's Award Winners in Visual and Media Arts are wonderfully crafted and executed photographs," said Michael Tardioli, SPAO's Creative Director. "Lipman is one of the top portraitists of our time. His sensitivity to individual artists has produced a powerful set of editorial and environmental images. These portraits are important archival records of individual achievement in the arts. They are also compelling pictures, unique in their response to given contexts. It is a pleasure to be able to celebrate both the artist and their image."


Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts and the Canada Council for the Arts



Directed Portfolio Projects, 2012-2013

SPAO is pleased to present The Seats, recent work by Mitchell Burton.

The Seats is a study of spaces that have been designed to welcome public attendance at a public event. This series considers spaces that host happenings of any kind: cinema, theatre, political discourse, and sometimes a mixture of these and more. These performative spaces shape our cultural, social and political lives.

Burton's photographs look at the infrastructure - the bricks and mortar - that forms the foundation of these features of our public culture: the seats. The Seats invite our attendance and are the points around which public events unfold. Taken from the perspective of the event, these images invite us to consider our place in cultural and social events.

The Seats opens at the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa's Redwall Gallery with a vernissage on Friday March 1, 6-9 pm. For more information, please call us at 613-562-3824. 

See you in The Seats!




SPAO is pleased to present Nicholas Adam Wojtas' series, Triptych: Identity, at our Redwall Gallery, from February 15 to February 27.

Triptych explores issues of identity, places of memory, and tranquility. Nick aims to create visual works that evoke feelings and sentiments to which all viewers may relate.

These works emerged from Nick's exploration of feelings of anxiety and confidence, positivity and negativity, acceptance, and memory. Rather than referring to specific events or physical traces, Nick has tried to create a visual impression that can be communicated to a wide public. Working between landscape triptychs and single images, Identity invites viewers to contemplate their own experiences through the visual field of photography.

An alumni of the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa's Portfolio Courses, Nick Wojtas has continued to use photography as a mode of exploring issues of identity and belonging. While Nick's work is strongly personal and intimate, his hope is that his photography will evoke a similar sense of exploration in those who view his work.




The School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa (SPAO) is pleased to present Havana Street: The Workshop Prints. Havana Street is a selection of photographs produced overseveral years by students of David Barbour's annual photographic workshops in Cuba.

Following a term at the Banff School of Fine Arts David Barbour pursued a balance of professional assignments, editorial work, personal projects, and curating and teaching positions. A working photographer and printer for close to forty years, Barbour has received a World Press Award, has worked overseas for various agencies, and has been featured by the Magenta Foundation and Canadian Geographic, among others. SPAO recently featured a series of Barbour's Ottawa landscape panoramas, and the City of Ottawa will be presenting David's landscapes in a solo exhibition in 2013.

David has an intimate and long-standing interest in Cuba. In 2000 he received a prestigious mid-career grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to pursue his photographic work in Havana. As Instructor at the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa David has taught photographic workshops in Cuba since 2005. Working in small groups in locales David has come to know through years of experience and personal networking, students move beyond the photographic assignment to photographic exploration. Indeed, Barbour's instruction encourages and facilitates a form of portraiture, and students return to Ottawa with their own intimate views of this dynamic city. Havana Street is a selection of views and impressions produced through David Barbour's Cuba Workshops.

Havana Street opens with a vernissage Friday February 1, 2013, 18:00-21:00 at the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa's Redwall Gallery.




ON VIEW January 18 to December 30, 2013

Stephan Gaydos is Artist in Residence at SPAO for 2012-2013. SPAO is pleased to present an exhibition of recent work by Gaydos called Great Lakes Project: Observations and Appropriations.

Great Lakes Project is a photographic study of industrial landscapes, fragmentary details and remains, and memory. The works in this series are the result of seven months of observations at, and appropriations from, industrial ports at four of the Great Lakes: Huron, Superior, Erie and Ontario.