Photo by Martin Lipman. Courtesy Canada Council for the Arts
Rebecca Belmore portrait
- Exhibition and film screenings: The National Gallery of Canada exhibition held in conjunction with these awards will run from March 22 to June 23. In addition to the exhibition, the National Gallery will hold screenings of William MacGillivray’s work throughout the month of April.
- Awards ceremony: The Governor General of Canada will present the 2013 Awards at a ceremony at Rideau Hall on Wednesday, March 20 at 6 pm
AND THE WINNERS ARE...... (Courtesy Canada Council for the Arts)
Marcel Barbeau - Painter and sculptor
"Marcel Barbeau… succeeded in transforming a troubled personal experience into a message of universal import, placing him in the top rank of contemporary, avant-garde painters." – Ray Ellenwood, Writer and Professor Emeritus (nominator)
Marcel Barbeau personifies the Refus global in his refusal to be categorized and classified. In order to understand where his work is coming from, we must – like the artist himself, who has travelled and created on several continents – be everywhere and nowhere at once, at the juncture where the refusal to conform allows for absolute freedom of creative expression. Barbeau’s paintings and sculptures, along with the music and dance that have accompanied them, are all dictated by the constant of change. They are attuned to the evolution of the culture and society. Highly experimental in its expression, the work of this great artist is a powerful testimony to the necessity and the sheer pleasure of creation. The art of Marcel Barbeau is that of a man in perpetual motion.
Rebecca Belmore - Visual Artist
“For 25 years, she has been confronting audiences with elegant, haunting, and provocative works of art addressing the politics of representation, history, memory and place..." – Jen Budney, Associate curator (nominator)
Rebecca Belmore’s disarmingly elegant works represent and engage the resistance of Indigenous peoples. Her performances, sculptures, videos, photographs and installations evoke the connections between bodies, land, and language, and the violence that colonialism has enacted upon them. Whether a vigil for missing women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside or a photograph of a deep scar, healed and adorned with beads, her work is imbued with ritual that plays out on the body, on the land and in the elements.
Belmore’s work is firmly rooted in the current political and social realities of Aboriginal communities, but its power and poetry resonate worldwide. She has earned international acclaim notably at the Venice Biennale’s Canadian Pavilion where she was the first Aboriginal woman to represent Canada.
Greg Payce - Artist-potter / Saidye Bronfman Award
“In his hands, the seemingly prosaic world of pottery takes on aspects of the illusionistic, the cinematic, the virtual..." – Steve Heinemann, Ceramist (nominator)
Alive with history, movement, and possibility, Greg Payce’s vessels become animated before our eyes. Processions of figures emerge from negative space, projections of vibrant patterns dance across porcelain surfaces, holographic-like photos pulse with dimension. Running through all of his work is an hommage to the craft masters of past eras.
For 43 years, Greg Payce has been shaping his experiences and passions at the potter’s wheel. He pulls from design, film, photography, philosophy, history – all while reinforcing his connection to fellow potters through the ages. He has been passing on this connection to the countless students he has influenced over his 24 years as an instructor in the ceramics program at the Alberta College of Art and Design.
Colette Whitten - Sculpture installation artist
"She is one of the most important artists of her generation, a generation associated with issues of the body and identity." – Marnie Fleming, Curator (nominator)
For almost 40 years, Colette Whiten has quietly and powerfully challenged gender dynamics, political power and mass media imagery. Her works – whether they are large cast wooden sculptures, tiny needlepoints or beaded curtains work – reveal the vulnerability and strength of the human body and spirit.
Her impact on Canadian visual arts has been profound. She was the only artist on a task force that redefined the role of the Art Gallery of Ontario (1992) and was one of three Canadians to participate in the first-ever international retrospective of feminist art achievement (2007). In her 38-year career as a professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University she won numerous teaching awards and has influenced hundreds of young artists.
Chantal Pontbriand - Curator and art critic
“Since the early 1970s, Chantal Pontbriand’s impact on the arts scene in Canada has been unparalleled in its uncompromising commitment to innovative practices in the visual arts…” – Diana Nemiroff, Curator (nominator)
Chantal Pontbriand truly does seem to be everywhere at once. The extent of her publications, lectures, seminars, and organization of festivals, contemporary art events and exhibitions, is astounding in terms of sheer numbers and scope. . A remarkable art critic and events curator, she has broken new ground in critical discourse, opened the way for new practices and contributed to the advancement of research in the art world. Her expertise is acknowledged internationally in the visual arts, museology and dance.
She shares her incisive criticism and analysis around the world, and with projects in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, she will continue to influence and inform the art world for years to come.
William D. MacGillvray - Filmmaker and director
“Beyond his own critically acclaimed, award-winning body of work, his impact on the filmmaking community in Atlantic Canada is monumental…” – Tom Sherman, Video artist (nominator)
William MacGillivray is fiercely independent. His nonconformity finds expression in his eclectic approach to filmmaking, his extraordinarily intelligent writing and the intuitive and sensitive way he directs his actors. Deceptively simple in its complexity, MacGillivray’s work explores themes of identity in personal, cultural and national terms. His universe defines and enriches the filmmaking of Atlantic Canada.
His feature films, series and documentaries have been described as feminist, minimalist, and much more. But while his work is open to multiple interpretations, critics are unanimous in considering him one of Canada’s most important filmmakers. The nature of his brilliant cinema – at once unique, ‘Atlantic’ and Canadian – illustrates with eloquence how a rich and distinct culture is developed.
Gordon Monahan - Sound artist, composer and media artist
Of Gordon’s piano performances [John] Cage once commented “At the piano, Gordon Monahan produces sounds we haven’t heard before.” – Robert Tombs, Graphic designer (nominator)
In Gordon Monahan’s hands, everyday objects become instruments, conventional instruments create surprising new sounds, and elements in nature take on the role of the musician. Over his 34-year career, this music and sound art innovator has used his science, music and contemporary art background to create installations and performances that redefine sounds in ways we may never have never heard before – long piano wires resonated using unconventional techniques, speakers reconstructed to become instruments, and the piano redefined as a mechanical machine that can emulate synthetic sound to name a few.
Each summer, hundreds of experimental musicians, sound artists and like-minded enthusiasts arrive at his farm in Meaford, Ontario to take part in the renowned Electric Eclectics sound art festival.