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Sobey Art Award 2015 Longlist Revealed

This morning, the longlist was released for the 2015 Sobey Art Award, which will award $100,000 in prize monies to Canadian artists under the age of 40 in November. The winner receives a prize of $50,000, while shortlisted artists each receive $10,000 and longlisted artists receive $500.

Jeremy Shaw—who currently has an exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver—is one of the longlisted artists for the West Coast/Yukon region, alongside Tiziana La Melia, winner of last year’s RBC Canadian Painting Competition. The others include painter Fiona Ackerman, whose diverse output spans from realism to abstraction; Sonny Assu, whose sculpture and installations often focus on Indigenous rights and the implications of consumerism; and Raymond Boisjoly, an artist of Haida and Quebecois descent, whose work often employs digital technology to offer colonial critiques.

The artists representing the Prairies and the North include Scott Rogers, whose recent showing at YYZ Artists’ Outlet in Toronto offered a rumination on extreme sports, and Jason de Haan, who was shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award in 2012. Also longlisted were photographer Sarah Anne Johnson, a 2011 Sobey Art Award shortlist nominee; Kara Uzelman, who creates sculptural works that often employ found objects; and Cedric Bomford, whose installation and photographic work has shown internationally.

Representing Ontario are five artists including Abbas Akhavan, whose work was a standout in the recent Biennale de Montreal, and Brendan Fernandes, whose performance work, which often draws on his dance background, frequently touches upon the diasporic experience and queer identity. Other nominees for the region are Maggie Groat, who is best known for her collage work; Annie MacDonell, whose photographic work saw her shortlisted for the AGO AIMIA prize in 2012; and Derek Sullivan, whose cross-disciplinary work often draws on artist books and works on paper.

The five artists on the Atlantic region longlist are multi-disciplinary Mi’kmaq artist Jordan Bennett, whose installation work will be presented at the Venice Biennale this summer; Mi’kmaw artist Ursula Johnson, whose sculptures employ traditional basket-weaving techniques; returning name Eleanor King, a musician and artist whose work embraces both physical and aural components; Lisa Lipton, another multidisciplinary artist who incorporates musical elements into her work; and Zeke Moores, who brings a background in blacksmithing and foundry into his sculptural practice.

The Quebec longlist names Jon Rafman, who attracted international attention with his uncanny Google Street View screenshots; painter Allison Katz, who embraces a return to figuration; research-based artist Jacqueline Hoang Nguyen, who currently works in Stockholm; Yannick Desranleau and Chloe Lum of the artist duo Seripop; and Montreal-based Sophie Bélair Clément, who uses a variety of methods, from writing to talks, to test the norms of display and exhibition making.

Each year, the Sobey Art Award is awarded to a visual artist age 40 and under who has exhibited in a public or commercial art gallery within 18 months of being nominated. The winner receives $50,000, each of four shortlisted finalists receives $10,000, and $500 goes to each of the remaining longlisted artists.

The members of the Sobey 2015 curatorial panel are Michelle Jacques, chief curator at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; Meeka Walsh, curator and Border Crossings editor; Crystal Mowry, curator of Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery; Marc Lanctôt, curator at the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal; David Diviney, curator of exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia; and guest juror Josée Drouin-Brisebois, curator of contemporary art at the National Gallery of Canada.

The 2015 shortlist will be announced on June 3. Work by the shortlisted artists will be shown in an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax, opening on September 26, 2015, with the winner being announced there on October 28, 2015.

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