Petra Halkes  BFA 1989, MA 1995,PhD 2001 Lives and works in Ottawa since 1983.

Halkes is an artist, an independent curator and art writer. She has exhibited in solo and group shows since 1994. Recent exhibitions include So Many Suns, Cube Gallery, Ottawa, 2016, The Painted Light Bulb,  Salle Odyssée,  La Maison de la Culture de Gatineau,  Lights On , at the Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant (2013) and Bright Nights, at the Ottawa School of Art Gallery (2011). Her paintings are in the City of Ottawa Collection, the collection of the Canadian Aviation Museum and in many private collections.

RIA (Research in Art) is a voluntary artists’ initiative begun in 2006 and run by Halkes and her husband René Price from their home. From 2015 and into 2017, RIAs theme is Growing up Human, events and exhibitions on what it means to be human. Events in 2013/2014 were inspired by the work of local artist Deborah Margo. Her residency led to a string of exhibitions and events: One Thing Led to Another. Halkes writes an interpretive essay for each exhibition.  RIA’s program also includes Salons–local artists talk about their travels–and  study groups, discussion and feedback evenings. See:

Other recent curatorial projects include:  There’s Room: Ottawa Artists Respond to the Refugee Crisis. Gallery 101, Ottawa, 2016, Interference,  Quartair Contemporary Art Initiatives, The Hague, The Netherlands (2013)

Melting the True North: Susan Feindel, Paul Walde and Dr. Gita Laidler at the Ottawa City Hall Art Gallery (2010). Mannish: Michael Harrington and Wyn Geleynse, at the Ottawa Art Gallery (2009) and Barbara Gamble: Natural Affinities, (2008) at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa.

In her writing and curatorial practice, Halkes focuses on the persistence of archaic phenomena such as religion, the myth of Arcadia, the skills of painting and landscape representation, in visual art as well as in the culture at large. Her interest in the social relevance of painting led her to pursue academic studies in art history and cultural studies. She studied at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) and received her doctorate in Leiden, The Netherlands, in 2001. Halkes has presented papers at national and international conferences. In 2008 she received a Getty Scholarship to present a paper, “Faithless Religion, Artless Art: Komar and Melamid’s Struggle against Re-Enchantment” at the 32nd Congress of the International Committee of the History of Art (CIHA), in Melbourne.

Halkes is the author of Aspiring to the Landscape, On Painting and the Subject of Nature (University of Toronto Press, 2006). She has written many catalogue essays and writes regularly for art magazines such as Border Crossings, Canadian Art, Ciel Variable, C-Magazine, Art Papers, and, formerly, Parachute. 

Halkes has a special interest in exchanges and cooperative projects with artists from her home country, The Netherlands. She has curated several exhibitions with Dutch artists in Ottawa, and curated an exhibition for the Armando Museum in Amersfoort, The Netherlands in 2002, which included five Canadian artists. Most recently she organized an exchange project between the Enriched Bread Artists (EBA) artists’ collective in Ottawa and Quartair, a similar collective in The Hague, which took place in the summer of 2013