National Gallery Artists Dominate Sobey Award Shortlist

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Three artists with works in the National Gallery of Canada’s collection are among the finalists for the prestigious 2013 Sobey Art Award.

Works by Isabelle Pauwels of New Westminster, B.C., Mark Clintberg of Edmonton, and Pascal Grandmaison of Montréal are all currently on public display at the National Gallery in Ottawa. Duane Linklater of North Bay, Ontario, and Tamara Henderson from Sackville, N.B., were also shortlisted for what is widely recognized as the pre-eminent award for Canadian contemporary art.

“I think it’s huge that the NGC is at the forefront of supporting young, emerging artists in Canada,” says Rhiannon Vogl, Curatorial Assistant, Contemporary Art at the National Gallery. “The work by Clintberg, Love Empire, currently on view in B205, was purchased in 2007. We did a joint solo show with the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography of the works of Pascal Grandmaision in 2007, and we have five works in the collection by him, including Light My Fiction on view in B203. The work W.E.S.T.E.R.N. by Isabelle Pauwels, on view on B104, is a recent acquisition. She came into the NGC collection last year. But I think it shows that the curators at the NGC are definitely looking at a great crop of emerging Canadian contemporary artists.”

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the Sobey Art Foundation announced the finalists from a list of 25 nominees on 13 June 2013. The prize, established in 2002, is awarded annually to a Canadian artist, age 40 and under, who has exhibited in a public or commercial gallery within 18 months of being nominated. The winner of the Sobey Art Award will receive $50,000, while the other finalists will be awarded $5,000 each.

“The five selected artists were chosen due to their extraordinary and rigorous practice, which further engages an international contemporary art discourse,” The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the Sobey Art Foundation said in a news release. “Each artist demonstrates a distinct style and approach to filmmaking, video, performance, the public realm and collaboration, where spectral and imaginative concepts are contrasted with the tangible everyday environment."

“It’s really exciting for us to see who gets chosen,” says Vogl. “It’s a good indicator of what the national contemporary art pulse is.”

Work by the shortlisted artists will be shown in an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (AGNS) opening 13 September 2013. The winner will be announced at a gala event 9 October 2013 at the AGNS, which organizes and administers the Sobey Art Award and exhibition.

Vogl says the nomination alone can be a major boost to an artist’s career. “It says the nation is paying attention, that their work is considered to be strong, and indicative of the upper echelon of contemporary art in Canada. The jury itself is quite distinguished, and for an artist even to be long-listed is a huge accomplishment. Then to get this final nod into the top five is great for the visibility of each artist and it is a great help for their career.”

Other Sobey Award winners represented in the National Gallery of Canada collection are: Daniel Young & Christian Giroux (Ontario) 2011; Daniel Barrow (Prairies and the North) 2010; David Altmejd (Québec) 2009; Tim Lee (West Coast and the Yukon) 2008; Michel de Broin (Quebec) 2007; Annie Pootoogook (Prairies and the North) 2006; Jean-Pierre Gauthier (Quebec) 2004 and Brian Jungen (West Coast and the Yukon) 2002.

For shortlisted artist bios and further information about the award click here.

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