I have gone to the National Gallery, one of my favourite places, on most of my visits to Ottawa. The interior is a beautiful space, and despite its size, creates an intimate experience with art. My visits have luckily not been at busy times, and the exhibitions so numerous that each visit is a combination of new experiences and re-acquaintances with some favourite works. And sharing the experience this time with Jennifer made this visit even more special.
At the top of the order was the Forty Part Motet in the Rideau Chapel. This historic Sacred Heart convent chapel, with a rare Tudor-style fan-vaulted ceiling, was completely reassembled within the National Gallery, and is a perfect venue for the Motet. The Motet is a collection of 40 speakers arranged around the chapel, each recording the voice of a single choir member. Walking among the speakers feels and sounds as if you are wandering through a choir, pausing to hear each voice singing. The music itself has a spacial architecture. The effect is magical, and the music beautiful.
One criticism of the Gallery is the lack of daylight-balanced lighting. It’s really noticeable on a cloudy day (as it was) and made white balance correction a processing nightmare. I gave up on a Rothko painting and created an interesting black and white instead (see the slideshow above).