Celebrated Victoria artist Sandra Meigs has been awarded the 2015 Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The win includes a $50,000 cash prize and a solo exhibition at the AGO (which will be held in 2017); it is presented annually to an artist for outstanding contribution to the visual arts in Canada.
The award continues a year of recognition for Meigs: earlier this year she was also awarded a 2015 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, which includes a $25,000 cash prize.
Although Meigs works in a variety of media, she is best known for her painting. Her recent series The Basement Panoramas (2013) stands as an exemplar: large muralistic pieces, they illustrate the interwoven nature of archicture and narrative, hinting at stories of loss and grief. Meigs has had solo exhibitions at the Power Plant in Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver, Saidye Bronfman Centre in Montreal and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
“Sandra Meigs is a highly creative artist whose projects blend painting, sculpture and performance in a manner that is all her own,” said Lesley Johnstone, curator of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and one of the jurors of the prize, in a statement. “Comical and sad, materially rich and socially engaged, psychologically intense but also somehow playful, her work continues to surprise us with each new project. Hers is a unique voice and her influence within the Canadian art milieu is strongly felt.”
Other jurors for the 2015 prize included Kim Adams, artist and a previous recipient of the prize; collector Jay Smith; and curator/critic Sarah Milroy.
Milroy and Smith are both trustees of the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation, which is a private charitable foundation established in 1986 by painter Gershon Iskowitz.