The Governor General’s Awards in Media and Visual Arts 2022 Exhibition
Works and installations by the winners featured at the National Gallery of Canada
On view from October 13, 2022, to January 29, 2023
The National Gallery of Canada (NGC), in collaboration with the Canada Council for the Arts, is exhibiting works and installations by the winners of the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts 2022 until January 29, 2022. The exhibition creates dialogues between the winners’ practices and works from the Gallery’s contemporary and historical collections.
Spread across the Gallery’s Indigenous and Canadian Art, Contemporary Art, European Art and public spaces, the installations and interventions of Brigitte Clavette, jeweller and metalsmith, Fredericton, NB, winner of the Saidye Bronfman Award; Gerald McMaster, curator, artist and author, Chelsea, QC, winner of the Outstanding Contribution Award; and recipients of the Artistic Achievement Award, Carole Condé + Karl Beveridge, visual artists, Toronto, ON; Pierre Bourgault, visual artist, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, QC; Moyra Frances Davey, visual artist, New York, NY; David Ruben Piqtoukun, sculptor/artist, Plainfield, ON; Jocelyn Robert, artist, Québec City, QC and Monique Régimbald-Zeiber, visual artist, Montréal, QC, disrupt and destabilize the narratives embedded in the permanent collection, and take unexpected paths to create meaningful work.
Greg Hill, Senior Audain Curator, Indigenous Art, NGC; Josée Drouin-Brisebois, Senior Manager, National Outreach, NGC; Andrea Kunard, Senior Curator, Photographs, NGC; and Stephanie Burdzy, Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art, NGC worked closely with the winners on the selection and placement of the installations and interventions.
“We are proud to present the work of the 2022 Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts winners, in partnership with the Canada Council for the Arts. Throughout their prolific careers, these laureates have sparked reflection and discussion about the arts in Canada and beyond,” said Angela Cassie, Interim Director and CEO, National Gallery of Canada. “For the first time, the GGArts winners’ works have been placed in dialogue with the Gallery’s collection. In this dynamic experience, we invite visitors to explore connections and interconnections and consider different perspectives and points of view.”
“The Canada Council for the Arts is proud to partner with the National Gallery of Canada to honour the 2022 GGArts winners,” said Simon Brault, Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts. “The exhibition of their works provides an exceptional opportunity for the public to discover or rediscover the contributions these artists have made to our own history of art and to the evolution of society.”
About the National Gallery of Canada
Ankosé — Everything is Connected — Tout est relié
The National Gallery of Canada is dedicated to amplifying voices through art and extending the reach and breadth of its collection, exhibitions program, and public activities to represent all Canadians, while centring Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Ankosé—an Anishinaabemowin word that means Everything is Connected—reflects the Gallery’s mission to create dynamic experiences that open hearts and minds, and allow for new ways of seeing ourselves, one another, and our diverse histories, through the visual arts. The NGC is home to a rich contemporary Indigenous international art collection, as well as important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian and European Art from the 14th to 21st centuries. Founded in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for more than a century. To find out more about the Gallery’s programming and activities visit gallery.ca and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. #Ankose #EverythingIsConnected #ToutEstRelié.
About Canada Council for the Arts
The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s public arts funder. The mandate of the Canada Council is to “foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts.” The Canada Council’s Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts through exhibition and outreach activities. The Canada Council’s investments foster greater engagement in the arts among international audiences and within Canada. This contributes to the vibrancy of a creative and diverse arts and literary scene and supports the presence of this scene across Canada and around the world. For more information, visit canadacouncil.ca.
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Overview of the works and installations by the winners at the NGC
In the Indigenous and Canadian Art Galleries, visitors will discover the curatorial work by Gerald McMaster, recipient of the Outstanding Contribution Award. In gallery A101a, McMaster places a reproduction of a painting by Wendat Chief Telari-o-lin (1815–1886), a self-portrait by artist Zacharie Vincent, in dialogue with trade silver objects displayed in nearby glass cases. Notes by McMaster, superimposed on this image, provide additional detail and more general thoughts on money, wampum and the political and cultural significance of Chief Telari-o-lin. Also on view in adjacent galleries are trade silver items in dialogue with other artworks and objects from the same period, including two paintings that feature them: Josephte Ourné (c. 1840) by Joseph Légaré and Thayendanegea (Joseph Brant) (c. 1807) by William Berczy. Gallery A108 features McMaster’s notebooks containing his reflections on people, places, encounters and events as well as drawings and ideas that later became essays.
On view in gallery A102, four works by jeweller and silversmith Brigitte Clavette challenge the functionality and ornamentation of a bygone era and connect silver more directly with the living world. In Clavette’s hands this sensitive material, long associated with domestic luxury, envelopes surprising forms, from decaying food to animal remains. In works such as Wasted, 2017, À table, 2012, and Untitled, 2020, raised silver vessels, utensils and organic materials explore participation in today’s world of excess and waste, scarcity and abundance. Sacrifice, 2002–2004/2022, a ceremonial incense burner replacing an 18th-century monstrance by Guillaume Loir, expresses a confluence of ideas. Pierced by nails, the vessel, like religious ritual, is both beautiful and forbidding, comforting and wounding—a beauty with thorns. The object is presented surrounded by liturgical silver from the 16th century.
Dancing on the Moon II, 2016, a bronze by artist David Ruben Piqtoukun, on view in the Michael and Sonja Koerner Family Atrium, in the heart of the Indigenous and Canadian Art Galleries, is a sculptural interpretation of Inuvialuit oral tradition. Piqtoukun highlights concepts of spiritual flight and creativity. Referring to shamans who flew to the moon, this piece depicts a female figure who was not born or initiated as a shaman, yet arduously trained and persisted until able to achieve cosmic flight. The artist reminds us that anything is possible and expresses the sense of euphoria one gets from achieving a rare accomplishment.
Hanging on the wall of the balcony overlooking the Fred & Elizabeth Fountain Garden are two works by Carole Condé + Karl Beveridge: Carole’s Garden, 2021, and The Fall of Water, 2006–2007. The first is a triptych window reminiscent of a medieval altarpiece that foretells an impending environmental disaster resulting from a capitalist and corporate culture. The second reconfigures the biblical story of the fallen angels as depicted in Pieter Bruegel’s The Fall of the Rebel Angels (1562) to address the dynamics of water politics. In their works, Condé and Beveridge use theatre techniques, political strategies, collage, pastiche, text and image manipulation to expose the social fabric that maintains societal inequities.
On the first level of the contemporary art galleries, two large-scale installations by Pierre Bourgault can be viewed. Flèche [Arrow], 1986, inspired by automatic drawing and children’s games of chance, consists of 75 painted wooden planks tied end-to-end and anchored in the bed of the Rivière du Gouffre. This drawing-sculpture floated in place for 12 days before being released to the whims of the current. Piliers de sel [Pillars of Salt], 2005/2012, refers to records of the passing of time, the notion of horizontality, and the mighty forces of the Saint Lawrence. The artist’s salt pillar interventions are ephemeral, luminous monuments of an essential substance that evokes purification, rebirth and renewal.
Nearby is Jocelyn Robert’s installation My Father and Me, 2019, from which two portraits gradually emerge. On the floor, an old piano activated by small motors hesitantly plunks a few notes. This is the portrait of the father who has died. On the back wall, Robert’s face appears in a series of self-portraits. The artist has superimposed the faces of criminals found through a Google search using his passport photo. He blurs the notion of the true or accurate image that we might have of a person. The artist gazes at what has been, and what might have been, revealing a discreet, almost silent complicity between father and son.
Also on the first level of the Contemporary Art Galleries (B108), Moyra Davey’s video work Horse Opera, 2020–2022, follows its protagonist, Elle, to legendary dance parties in contemporary New York. Tales of collective experience in these utopic, youthful spaces contrast with themes of bodily surrender to age and passing time. When she is not partying, Elle reveals an inner monologue propelled by a reading list of authors including Hilton Als, Anne Boyer and Elizabeth Hardwick. Music punctuates the narrative’s cyclical progression, also interrupted by the need for social distancing and its ensuing alienation. Davey’s work is placed in dialogue with works by Sarah Anne Johnson.
Monique Régimbal-Zeiber’s work After Europe: Torn Painting, 1984–2022, is presented on the upper floor and occupies a wall in gallery B204. In 2013 the artist stopped purchasing materials. She prefers to recycle remnants of all kinds and to reuse her old works, as she has done here with canvases painted since 1984. By rearranging strips of torn canvases, Régimbal-Zeiber creates an innovative production that is both figurative and abstract, embodying the idea of a painting. This gesture of turning her back on large-scale academic painting echoes the decision of Agnès Martin—whose work is on view nearby—to leave New York to isolate herself and pursue her own quest for a new form.
Discover the 2022 winners: https://en.ggarts.ca/