Odjig, Daphne (Odawa/Canadian, b. 1919)
A founding member of the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. and a prominent Indigenous painter in Canada. Odjig’s work blends traditional First Nations styles with Cubist and Surrealist aesthetics. Soft contours, bold colours, and black outlines are characteristic of her work, which thematically focuses on issues of Indigenous politics in art.
Ogilvie, Will (South African/Canadian, 1901–1989)
A commercial artist, educator, and painter, Ogilvie was the first official Canadian war artist, noted for creating images of war while himself under fire. He was a member of the Canadian Group of Painters and the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour.
Translucent layers of oil paint, which can appear stain-like. Oil washes are created by mixing oil paint with a solvent and applying it to a dry support, or one soaked with solvent. Artists known for using this technique include Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Mark Rothko, and Jules Olitski.
Olsson, Julius (British, 1864–1942)
A painter and teacher at the School of Landscape, Figure and Sea Painting in St. Ives, Cornwall, Olsson was part of the plein-air British Impressionist movement that discovered the picturesque Cornish fishing village and seacoast in the late nineteenth century. St. Ives became a famous artists’ colony that by the 1930s was attracting such avant-garde residents as Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth.
Ondaatje, Kim (Canadian, b. 1928)
A painter, photographer, filmmaker, and teacher, whose work is held by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the National Gallery of Canada. Ondaatje was an important advocate for the rights of professional artists through her association with Jack Chambers’s initiative CAR (later CARFAC).
A style of perspective drawing in which parallel lines converge at a single vanishing point. An image of a road or hallway disappearing into the distance is an example of one-point perspective.
Onley, Toni (British/Canadian, 1928–2004)
A western Canadian artist who painted watercolour landscapes and abstracts, Onley published the book Onley’s Arctic, based on a trip to the Arctic in 1974. His work is held at the Tate and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK; the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the National Gallery of Canada, and the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Ontario College of Art (now OCAD University)
The name given in 1912 to what had previously been the Ontario School of Art (founded 1876), and what would become the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1996. In 2010 the institution was renamed OCAD University, to reflect its new status. OCAD University is the oldest and largest art school in Canada.
Ontario Society of Artists (OSA)
Canada’s oldest extant professional artists’ association, formed in 1872 by seven artists from various disciplines. Its first annual exhibition was held in 1873. The OSA eventually played an important role in the founding of OCAD University and the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Oonark, Jessie (Canadian, 1906–1985)
A major figure in twentieth-century Canadian art, Jessie Oonark was raised in traditional semi-nomadic Inuit camps near the Back River and later settled in Baker Lake in what is now Nunavut. Her boldly graphic textiles and drawings depicting the natural and spirit worlds are included in major public collections across Canada and internationally.
A style of abstract art that was developed in the 1950s and 1960s, primarily by Victor Vasarely and the British artist Bridget Riley. It aimed to produce an intense visual experience through the use of severe colour contrasts and hard-edge forms.
Orozco, José Clemente (Mexican, 1883–1949)
A painter, draftsman, and printmaker and a leading figure in Mexico’s mural movement. Active predominantly in Mexico City, from 1927 to 1934 Orozco lived and worked in the United States, where he completed several important commissions. More interested in the human condition than in politics per se, he painted in a highly Expressionistic style that influenced many younger muralists.
French poet and critic Guillaume Apollinaire conceived the term “Orphism” around 1912 in reference to the abstract paintings of Robert Delaunay. It is a modern art form aligned with early Cubism, yet distinct from it in its harmonious use of colour. The term alludes to the ancient Greek poet and musician Orpheus and refers to the musical quality associated with Orphism.
Ostiguy, Jean-René (Canadian, 1925–2016)
An art historian and curator of Canadian art at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1965–86, who specialized in Canadian and particularly Québécois modernism. His publications include monographs on Adrien Hébert and Ozias Leduc, and a survey of modern art in Quebec.
Ouspensky, P.D. (Russian, 1878–1947)
A mathematician and philosopher who was also an influential figure in London literary circles and the Russian avant garde during the 1920s and 1930s. Today Oupensky is primarily associated with the mystic George Gurdjieff, whose ideas he helped spread through publications and lectures after their first meeting in 1915. His books were very influential among artists for their understanding of metaphysics.
Ouspensky, Peter (Russian, 1878–1947)
An author known for promoting the teachings of Russian spiritual teacher George Gurdjieff. Ouspensky moved to London in the 1920s, and his philosophies exerted considerable influence on the literary scene.
Ozenfant, Amédée (French, 1886–1966)
An important and active figure in French modernism, associated particularly with the Purist movement. Alongside his work as a painter, Ozenfant founded journals, schools, and art studios dedicated to modern art with contemporaries such as Le Corbusier and Fernand Léger. He exhibited widely throughout his life, including at the landmark 1911 Salon des Indépendants in Paris.
O’Keeffe, Georgia (American, 1887–1986)
A critical figure in American modernism, O’Keeffe was encouraged as a young artist by the photographer Alfred Stieglitz, whom she married in 1924. Her expressive and often nearly abstract paintings were inspired by natural forms such as landscapes, flowers, and bones. After Stieglitz’s death she settled permanently in northern New Mexico.