The Canadian Art Foundation, publisher of Canadian Art, has announced Jenna Swift of Calgary, Alberta, as the winner of its 2013 Writing Prize. Swift will be commissioned to write a feature story for a future issue of Canadian Art and will receive a $3,000 award.
The two runners-up for this year’s prize are Chris Hampton of Toronto, Ontario, and Joseph Henry of Montreal, Quebec; each receives recognition in the magazine and a $1,000 award.
The Canadian Art Foundation Writing Prize is an annual juried prize designed to encourage new writers on contemporary art. This year, the jury included Sarah Fillmore, chief curator at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia; Candice Hopkins, curatorial resident in Indigenous art at the National Gallery of Canada; Aaron Peck, writer and educator; and Richard Rhodes, editor of Canadian Art.
Jenna Swift is an emerging artist and curator currently pursuing a double degree at the University of Calgary in art history and fine arts. Her critical interest informs her studio practice, in which she investigates the impact of gallery spaces on viewers. As a result of this work, she was in 2011 appointed to an internship at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally, and she continues to be involved with local artist-run centres in Calgary including the New Gallery, TRUCK and Stride.
“I always feared that I was a bit of an art imposter as I’ve never been one to sketch compulsively,” Swift says. “Words are always the jumping-off point for me, even in my visual art—text fragments becomes cues. I am interested in notation and how that can be used to interpret space. My background in museology reinforces this impulse. Currently, I’m enthralled by the work of author Anne Carson, admiring the way she brackets each absence in her translation of ancient Greek texts. I’ve scarcely seen so much negative space in a book before, it expands and contracts, but mostly expands. I would love to make an exhibition like that.”
Chris Hampton is currently completing graduate studies in journalism at Ryerson University and has published in the National Post, Maisonneuve and Chart Attack. Joseph Henry completed his bachelor’s in art history and German studies at McGill University, is assistant editor at Artinfo Canada, and has held internships at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum.
For more information on this writing prize and some of its past winners, visit canadianart.ca/writingprize.