Five finalists from across Canada shortlisted for $100K Sobey Art Award

The Sobey Art Foundation presents their annual award to a Canadian visual artist, age 40 and under, who has exhibited work within 18 months of being nominated. The art foundation, and the National Gallery of Canada, have announced five finalists for this year’s 2019 Sobey Art Award. The finalists’ projects will be featured in a group exhibition at the Art Gallery of Alberta this fall.
“The Sobey Art Award helps to keep the National Gallery of Canada current within the dynamic landscape of contemporary art in Canada.   It offers invaluable opportunities to exchange ideas between curators and artists across the country, and the chance to learn about a myriad of different artistic practices.” notes Dr. Sasha Suda, CEO and Director of the National Gallery of Canada. “It’s an initiative that supports and promotes Canada’s talent at home and abroad, which is core to our mission and mandate as the Nation’s Gallery.”

An international jury, chaired by National Gallery of Canada’s Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Josée Drouin-Brisebois, selected the shortlisted artists from 25 nominees. The grand prize winner of the 2019 Sobey Art Award will be announced at a gala hosted by the Art Gallery of Alberta on November 15, 2019.

According to the National Gallery of Canada, the Sobey Art Award distributes prize money worth $240,000 to 25 artists, with a top prize of $100,000. The final four finalists will receive $25,000, while the remaining longlisted artists will receive $2,000 each.

The five shortlisted artists are:

From the Atlantic region: D’Arcy Wilson

D’Arcy Wilson,The Memorialist (Museology): Lagopus albus, Skin 45195, The American Museum of Natural History, 2016. Archival inkjet print, 51 x 75 cm. Photo: Chris Friel; via gallery.ca

D’Arcy Wilson creates mixed media installations centered around interactions with the natural world and the changes caused. Her latest body of work narrates the historical changes to nature inflicted by colonialism. “My work observes the transformation of nature into spectacle and the consequences, within the context of Settler culture. Throughout my art practice, I try to bind myself to the natural world either by inserting myself into wildernesses, or bestowing acts of kindness upon nature; nevertheless, the ability to understand and partake in this other world eludes me, ” said Wilson. Incorporating a mix of photography, video, drawings and performance, her works address the interventions of the past and present. Based in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, she has most recently exhibited at the Dalhousie Art Gallery in Halifax, at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton and in The Rooms in St John’s.

From Québec: Nicolas Grenier

Nicolas Grenier, Stasis/Turmoil; New Order/Previous Attempts, 2016. Oil and acrylic on canvas, 61 x 61cm. Private collection. Photo: Atelier Nicolas Grenier; via gallery.ca

Nicolas Grenier’s paintings and architecturally-inspired installation work explores societal and contemporary issues while applying symbolic elements and the coding of colour. Structures and space inform his painting as much as his sculptural work, playing with opposites, tensions, inclusions and exclusions. “I am interested in the different spaces we inhabit — political, economic, cultural and social — and the principles or absences of principles at the root of these systems … I use the language or urban planning, architecture and diagrams to imagine different models, often absurd or perverted, that invoke and question the mechanisms through which different organic elements are combined to create structures that are more or less forced,” said Grenier.

From Ontario: Stephanie Comilang

Stephanie Comilang, Yesterday In The Years 1886 & 2017, 2017. 2 channel video Installation, dimensions Variable. Courtesy of the Artist. Photo Credit : Art Gallery of Kitchener Waterloo; via gallery.ca

Filmmaker Stephanie Comilang is an artist based in Toronto and Berlin. Her documentary-led video works address migrant experiences, social inequality and isolation. In her recent work, Yesterday, In the Years 1886 and 2017, she considers “the connections that all migrants have” through the experiences and struggles they share. Comilang’s work has been shown at Ghost : 2561 Bangkok Video & Performance Triennale, S.A.L.T.S Basel, UCLA, International Film Festival Rotterdam, and Asia Art Archive in America, New York. At a recent residency at the Tropical Futures Institute in Cebu in the Phillippines, she has been researching the linguistic history of the Eskaya tribe and its near extinction under Spanish colonialism.

From the Prairies and the North: Kablusiak

Kablusiak, Listerine, 2018. Soapstone and tung oil, 18 x 9 x 4.5 cm. Private collection. Courtesy of the artist; via gallery.ca

Inuvialuk artist and curator Kablusiak employs multimedia to confront themes including diaspora, identity and control. Albeit imbued with humour, their work – video, drawing, carving and painting created in series – presents a destabilizing self-representation that, at the same time, reflects universal ideas of gender, solidarity and Indigenous sovereigntyBorn in Yellowknife and based in Mohkinstsis, they have exhibited in Alberta and Québec, as well as undertaken curatorial work in Banff, Calgary and Winnipeg.

From the West Coast and the Yukon: Anne Low

Anne Low, A wall as a table with candlestick legs, 2018. Wood, wallpaper, textiles from the collections of Ann Wahlfors, Sorunda Hembygdsförening and Sorunda Hemslöjdsförening, Dimensions variable. Installation view, Sorunda Folkets Hus, Sweden. Commissioned by Tensta konsthal, Stockholm. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Jean Baptiste Beranger; via gallery.ca

Anne Low combines concepts of historical domestic objects and decorative elements to create installation work that presents a new character and identity for these objects in the present. Using sculpture, textiles and printmaking, Low is inspired by weaving and other craft techniques and uses them to reflect on historical interiors and processes. Living in Vancouver, she is currently based in Montréal. Her work has been exhibited in Vancouver, Berlin, Toronto and New York.


Artist project descriptions courtesy of gallery.ca
More information about the 2019 nominees and jurors can be found here.

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