Last night, Vancouver artist Tim Lee scooped up the Sobey Art Award, a $50,000 prize, in a ceremony at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. Also up for the award was Montreal’s Raphaëlle de Groot, Moncton’s Mario Doucette, Winnipeg’s Daniel Barrow and Toronto-linked international artist Terence Koh.
Also in Ottawa last week, artist Jeff Thomas received the 2008 Karsh Award, a prize “presented bi-annually to an artist who has demonstrated a strong commitment to artistic excellence in photography.” It’s a particularly prestigious year to win the award, with the 100th anniversary of Karsh’s birthday sparking a spate of related exhibitions in Paris, Boston and Chicago. The award amount was $7,500.In other awards news, the RBC Canadian Painting Competition announced its 2008 winner last Thursday in a ceremony at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. Vancouver artist Jeremy Hof, a young conceptual artist who works in several disciplines, received top honours and the $25,000 first prize, while Montreal painter Wil Murray and Oakville artist Amanda Reeves each received honourable mentions worth $15,000. Because this year marks the tenth anniversary of the award, each of the remaining 12 semifinalists also received $7,500 apiece. The rest of the field included Vancouver artists Eli Bornowsky, Andrew Dadson, Collin Johanson and Lorenzo Pepito; Toronto artists Martin Golland, Sarah Jane Gorlitz, Drew Simpson and Emmy Skensved; Montreal’s Rick Leong, Jeanie Riddle and Justin Stephens; and Fredericton’s Patrick Howlett.
Finally, Tuesday, October 7 sees the opening of the BMO 1st Art! finalists at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto. The top winner for this students and recent grads award is Jeremy Jeresky from the Alberta College of Art & Design. He takes home $5,000. Jeresky is featured alongside this year’s regional winners and potential up and comers Stephanie Power of Cornerbrook, Stephanie Martens of Charlottetown, Thomas Chisholm of Halifax, Cheryl Ryan of Fredericton, Keren Epstein of Montreal, Devin Jeffrey of Toronto, Maria Baker of Winnipeg, Rowan Pantel of Saskatoon, Penny Chase of Calgary, Jamasse Pitseolak of Iqaluit, Ruth Wright of Inuvik, Alistair Rance of Kelowna and Mitch Holder of Dawson City. Each receive $2,500.