Convergence: Work by Canadian and U.S. Women Artists

Roberta Huebener
• acrylic on canvas, paper & found materials
• watercolours & inks on paper
• mixed media in letter arts & book structures

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

I am an Ottawa visual artist and teacher, born in New York City. I attended university in
New York State at SUNY New Paltz, where I completed a Bachelors degree in Art Education.
I am now retired after a 30-year career as a visual arts teacher in four Ottawa high schools.
I worked simultaneously, to the extent possible, as a visual artist while teaching. Since my
retirement in 2000 I have focused more of my energies on my artwork.

I work chiefly with paper, canvas and artist’s books using inks, gouache, watercolour, acrylic,
gold leaf and found materials. My interest in the interplay of images and words has led to a
variety of experiments with calligraphy in my work, especially freely lettered, spontaneous
brush and pen techniques as well as cut letters. I also occasionally work with cast paper,
letterpress printing and xerography. Music, poetry and improvisational modern dance-theatre
inform some aspects of my process. I have also designed, lettered, and bound small artist’s
book editions of images and my own poems and prose.

Collaboration with other art disciplines interests me greatly and I have worked closely for
many years with Ottawa poet Susan McMaster using her poetry in my paintings. I have also
collaborated with her on the design of two poetry books and a special limited artist edition
of poems. While a member of first draft a collaborative inter-media arts group, I designed
a stage set for a performance of Colin Morton’s poetry at Arts Court in 1988.

My current work examines the layering and blending of cultures in North America - the
promiscuous role of mass media, and the fusion and confusion of cultural and spiritual
traditions. I make neo-iconic images that suggest the consonances and ambiguities in
contemporary polyglot culture. I try to make words and images merge and work together
visually and symbolically. The calligraphic aspect of letters - the beauty of the well-wrought
line - is as important an element as the calligraphic aspect of other non-letter lines in a work
of art. I often rework traditional patterns, symbols, texts, and spatial relationships that seem
to have a related aesthetic, spiritual significance or heritage. Elements like ancient or modern
hand lettered words and texts, naturalistically rendered objects and traditional African textile
designs might co-exist on equal terms in one piece of work. Painted borders - broken and
unbroken, formal and informal - are a reoccurring motif.



“Common Ground” - Karsh-Masson Gallery and City Hall Art Gallery, 2002.
“Transforming the Image” - Thames Art Gallery, Chatham, ON, 1997.
Calligraphy Society of Ottawa Group Exhibition at Papertrail Oct. - Nov. 94.
Elmwood School Exhibition Nov. 94.
Black History Ottawa Exhibition - National Press Club, 1992; Gallery 101, 1993.


“Painted Words” - Market Square Bistro, Almonte, ON, 2001.
“Whose culture is it, anyway?” - Great Canadian Theatre Company, 1993
“Image, Word, Sound” - Ottawa Women’s Credit Union, 1985.


Book: ABC Canada–the first Canadian collection of contemporary calligraphy (1996)
Magazine: Revue Noire (August, 1997)
Magazine: Lettered & Bound (2004).


5 exhibitions with Ottawa Women's Credit Union Arts Committee Members.
Annual Art Credo Exhibition at St John’s Church, 1986-present.
Annual Calligraphy Society of Ottawa Members’ Exhibition, 1986-present.
3 Ottawa Board of Education Art Teachers’ Exhibition.
Art in the Hall – Glebe Community Centre, 1996.
Art in Strathcona Park, 2001.


Active member the Calligraphy Society of Ottawa for 20 years: workshop co-ordinator, instructor.
Member Canadian Bookbinders & Book Artists’ Guild.
Founding member of the Steering Committee of CKCU Ottawa Folk Festival:
voluntary graphic design work for that organization for 11 years.

Teaching with Ottawa Board of Education

- Minor Head of Arts –Nepean High School
- Visual Arts Teachers’ Subject Council Chair
- Workshop organizer and instructor
- Associate teacher supervising Student Teachers
- Visual Arts Curriculum Development Committee
- National Gallery of Canada Art Teachers Liason Committee

Ann Bird Ann Kuckelman Cobb Laurie Culling Diana Dunkley Jan Gaumnitz Maggie Glossop Missy Hamilton Roberta Huebener Susan Rennick Jolliffe Susan Jordan Maryse Maynard Liz Minnes Nan Renbarger Margaret Rose Chandler Swain Cathy Tisdale Wendo Van Essen Yvonne Wiegers

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Site by Colin Tisdale, Laurie Culling, Denise Lajetta, Margaret Rose