About RIA



 Ria was my sister, who died in 2006. I like to hear her name.                                                                                                              – Petra

RIA (Research in Art) is an initiative started in 2006 by Petra Halkes, artist, writer and curator and her  artist-husband Rene Price, who live in Ottawa, Canada. From the local to the global, RIA aims to promote discussions and reading on contemporary art.  RIA wants to serve real-life intellectual and social needs of a broad spectrum of artists, art writers, curators and viewers in Ottawa and the region. In addition to the Salons, discussion and study groups,  and Art Mags Mornings, the living area in Petra and René’s home has been an Artist Project Room since 2011. Although the exhibitions at RIA are well thought out, they are not usually planned far in advance. We look at curating as a long-term collaborative thought process, in which ideas evolve from artworks, and new artworks are inspired by curatorial ideas. One exhibition leads to the next. RIA is not owned by anyone and has no institutions, no money, and no jury system behind it. RIA is malleable and can be picked up by anyone or any group wanting to make creating and looking at art a discursive experience through real-life discussions. Providing face time rather than facebook time, RIA uses the internet only to help organize live events.

RIA takes place but needs no space of its own. Although most of the events happen at Petra and René’s house, RIA has at times branched out to other homes, and to other art spaces such as the Enriched Bread Artists Studios, the Ottawa School of Art, the Ottawa Art Gallery and Cube Gallery.  Connections are set up primarily through email and through this wordpress site.

Contact Petra if you would like to subscribe to the RIA’s list:  researchinart.ria@gmail.com

Current and past events of RIA   include:

RIA Artist  Project Room   Since January 1 2015 we grappled with the concept of “Human”. What does it mean to be human in an era when our place in the world has shifted away from the centre? How can we re-imagine our place in an interconnected life-world?How will technology change our ideas of being human?

The project Growing up Human, came to an end this year (March 2017) with an exhibition by Svetlana Swinimer, Space Scape, in which she imagines what it would be like to leave earth and find another planet to live on.

The RIA Project Room will be on hiatus till 2018. We need some time to re-think, archive and come up with some brilliant ideas for 2018! Salons and discussion groups will continue as usual.

RIA Salons  have taken place at Petra and René’s house since 2006. Every now and then, an art professional or amateur is invited to give a slide presentation about a project he/she has been involved in, outside the Ottawa area. It could be about an exhibition, a presentation, a residency or a research trip. Artists who are new in town are also invited to give presentations about their work. More recently, we have also invited new graduates from Ottawa University, who decided to stay in our city, to give a presentation about their work. The get-togethers are super casual, and the talks are short so there is time for shoptalk.

RIA Study Groups  do spring up occasionally around a specific topic. I encourage anyone to start a reading group, using the RIA mailing list. Many people on this list have expressed an interest in reading groups.

RIA Talks in Circles  There are no presentations at a “Talking in Circles” night, we simply suggest one short text to read beforehand, and invite people who have strong opinions on specific topics. The sessions take place in our home. We set the chairs in a circle.

RIA Reads Out Loud     Based on Toronto’s No Reading After the Internet,  RIA initiated Reading Out Loud events, where participants bring their laptop or a printout from an article on contemporary or modern art, to read together and discuss.  This is for people who like to stay informed, but can’t find the time to read, in other words, just about everyone. No familiarity with the text or the author is required. For now, RIA has concentrated on local writers, who have been present at the readings.The Ottawa Art Gallery has collaborated with RIA on several occassions.

RIA is open to other people’s ideas and suggestions, and above all, it invites new initiatives for other events. RIA only grows sideways.

For Research in Art archives click HERE

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