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News / April 15, 2014

Slideshow: Sobey Art Award Longlist Revealed

Dominique Pétrin of Montreal is a rising print-based artist who makes immersive installations. This is a view of her <em>#pizzaparty</em> (2013). Pétrin is longlisted for the Quebec region. Photo: Rémi Thériault. (Image 1/25) Dominique Pétrin of Montreal is a rising print-based artist who makes immersive installations. This is a view of her #pizzaparty (2013). Pétrin is longlisted for the Quebec region. Photo: Rémi Thériault. (Image 1/25)

This morning, the longlist was released for the 2014 Sobey Art Award, which will award $100,000 in prize monies to Canadian artists under the age of 40 in November.

Among the 25 artists longlisted—five for each of five Canadian regions—is an artist who turns hay bales into sculptures (Becka Viau of Charlottetown), another who enlarges small beaded works to monumental scale (Nadia Myre of Montreal), and a duo that imagines how graffiti might be drawn by animals (Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber of Winnipeg).

To view a slideshow of by all the longlisted artists, click on the Photos icon above.

The five artists longlisted for the Atlantic region include three who were finalists for past Sobeys: Tamara Henderson, who reproduces in film and sculpture images seen under hypnosis; Eleanor King, a musician, curator and artist whose drum towers were a highlight of the 2012 Sobey exhibition; and Graeme Patterson, currently exhibiting at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Also nominated are Mi’kmaw artist Ursula Johnson, who is known for contemporary takes on traditional basketry, and Becka Viau, whose hay-bale installation is currently installed in a public plaza outside of the Confederation Centre Art Gallery.

The Quebec picks include Jon Rafman—an artist who broke through to international attention in 2009 with his enlargement of Google Street View images—as well as performance-based artist Olivia Boudreau, rising pasteup/installation creator Dominique Pétrin, Diane Morin (who recently won the Musée national des beaux-arts du Quebec’s first contemporary art prize), and Algonquin artist Nadia Myre. From 2005 to 2013, Myre invited members of the public to contribute to The Scar Project—depictions on canvas of emotional or physical scars. The project now contains more than 800 scar canvases and related stories.

A mix of strategies also defines the Ontario longlist. Balint Zsako’s drawings and collages have adorned the pages of Harper’s, the New Yorker and the Walrus, among other publications. Reena Katz is known for community-based collaborations that most recently included work with a Windsor-area community radio station. Chris Curreri’s sculptures and photographs highlight queer positions and new approaches to the body. Kelly Jazvac—an artist who once covered a Pontiac Sunfire in a Porsche 911 “costume”—makes works that often comment on consumer perceptions and waste. Jean-Paul Kelly creates videos, drawings and photographs that encourage viewers to challenge conceptions of the past.

Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber—creators of the book Animals With Sharpies and members of the now-defunct Royal Art Lodge—are just one of five artists shortlisted for Prairies and the North. The others include Zin Taylor, an internationally exhibited artist who was born in Calgary and is now based in Brussels; Divya Mehra, whose work was included in “Oh, Canada” at MASS MoCA and often examines migration, otherness, and “the empty promise of diversity”; Cedric Bomford, a creator of large-scale, sometimes fort-like, installations as well as photographs; and Michael Dudeck, whose performances bridge shamanism and sexuality.

The West Coast/Yukon artists longlisted include Evan Lee, who was longlisted in 2009 and who often makes experimental, photo-based work; animation-based artist Allison Hrabluik; Tahltan artist, curator and writer Peter Morin, who often uses performance to intervene in colonial museum conventions, creating such works as Team Diversity Bannock and the World’s Largest Bannock Attempt; Farheen HaQ, whose media-based practice uses the body and South Asian Muslim Canadian female identity as a point of departure; and Dan Starling, an artist who recently produced a photo series focused on Barack Obama masks.

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 2014 curatorial panel, which arrived at the longlist decision, are Jordan Strom, curator, exhibitions and collections, Surrey Art Gallery; Paul Butler, curator of contemporary art, Winnipeg Art Gallery; Srimoyee Mitra, curator of contemporary art, Art Gallery of Windsor; Marie-Eve Beaupré, curator of contemporary art, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec; and Pan Wendt, curator, Confederation Centre of the Arts.

The shortlist of the 2014 Sobey Art Award will be announced June 4. Work by the shortlisted artists will be shown in an exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery opening on November 1, with the winner being announced there on November 19.

This post was altered on April 15, 2014, at 12:20 p.m. The original post contained an installation-view image of Kelly Jazvac’s work that also prominently included a piece by Mark Soo, leading to confusion. As a result, that image has been replaced by a photo that offers a close-up view of the Jazvac work in the original post.

Leah Sandals

Leah Sandals is a writer and editor based in Toronto. Her arts journalism has appeared in the Toronto Star, National Post and Globe and Mail, among other publications, and her creative work has been published in Prism, Room and Freefall. She can be reached via