Ottawa, March 14, 2006 -- The Canada Council for the Arts today announced the names of the seven winners of the 2006 Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts.
Mowry Baden, Micheline Beauchemin, Vera Frenkel, Kenneth Lochhead, Arnaud Maggs and Peter Wintonick will receive awards for artistic achievement, while curator and critic Peggy Gale will receive the outstanding contribution award.
The winners will be presented with their awards by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, at a ceremony at Rideau Hall on Wednesday, March 22 at 6 p.m. Canada Council Chair Karen Kain will also speak at the ceremony. In addition to a $15,000 prize, the winners will be presented with original artworks created by Saskatchewan wood turner Michael Hosaluk, winner of the 2005 Saidye Bronfman Award in Fine Crafts.
The Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts, funded and administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, recognize distinguished career achievement in the visual and media arts by Canadian artists, as well as outstanding contributions to the visual and media arts through voluntarism, philanthropy, board governance, community outreach or professional activities. 2006 marks the seventh annual presentation of these prestigious awards, and this year's awards will bring the total number of recipients to 50.
"Through the multitude of images streaming across our television, computer and film screens, along our roads, adorning the buildings in our neighbourhoods and the walls of our galleries, visual and media artists are asking us to take a moment to stop, look, and see the world through their eyes," said the Governor General. "They juxtapose the world in which we live with their own, enriching our visual landscape with their imagination and perspectives. I applaud the winners of the 2006 Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts who, through their work and achievements, lay bare to us the invisible, the intangible, the essential."
The winners of the Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts were chosen by an independent peer jury of visual and media artists and arts professionals from across Canada. In selecting the winners for 2006, the jury made the following statement:
"The seven winners of the 2006 Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts are as versatile and diverse as the artistic disciplines they represent. Sculptor Mowry Baden, textile artist-weaver Micheline Beauchemin, multidisciplinary artist Vera Frenkel, curator/critic Peggy Gale, painter Kenneth Lochhead, photographer Arnaud Maggs and documentary filmmaker Peter Wintonick have provided innovative directions for their art, as well as unique artistic and social visions. They have opened up our minds to new perspectives and possibilities of seeing, visualizing and appreciating art, and the world we inhabit. All are masters, and eminently worthy of these prestigious national honours."
Images of the winners and their works can be downloaded from the Canada Council web site at www.canadacouncil.ca/prizes/ggavma.
Mowry Baden has influenced a generation of sculptors in Canada and the U.S. with his engaging, participatory installations. For almost 40 years, he has challenged contemporary sculpture through a staggering number of projects and artworks that borrow from psychology, architecture and performance. Born in Los Angeles in 1936, Baden received his BA from Pomona College (Claremont, CA) and MA from Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA). After teaching at Stanford and the University of British Columbia, among others, Baden began his tenure at the University of Victoria in 1975; he is currently professor emeritus. He has had solo and group exhibitions across North America, including Los Angeles, Mexico City, Montreal, Vancouver and New York (including MoMA). His work is represented in collections in Canada and the U.S. He has been commissioned to create public art works in Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Pittsburgh, Washington and Victoria, where he now lives.
Micheline Beauchemin is a textile artist and weaver whose works have been collected and installed in North America and Japan. Born in 1929 in Montreal, Beauchemin studied drawing at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal (1948-52). Interested in spatial sculpture, textiles, tapestry and stained glass, she honed her experience in Japan, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and France. In the 1960s, she began collaborating with architects, integrating tapestry with architecture and theatre. Her works, often described as monumental, include the stage curtain in the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and the curtain in the Théâtre Maisonneuve at Place des Arts in Montreal. They are also found in numerous collections, including those of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and the National Gallery of Canada, and institutions in Canada, the U.S., Europe and Japan. She has received many awards including the Saidye Bronfman Award (1982) and the Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas (2005). Beauchemin lives in Les Grondines, Quebec.
Vera Frenkel (b. Bratislava, Czechoslovakia) is an internationally-recognized multidisciplinary artist. Her videos, drawings, audio works, installations and new media projects have been seen at documenta IX (Kassel, Germany); the Offenes Kulturhaus (Linz, Austria); the Setagaya Museum (Tokyo); the National Gallery of Canada; MoMA (New York); and the Venice Biennale. She has been artist-in-residence at major art institutions in London, Vienna, Chicago and Stockholm, among others. Frenkel's video works were featured as the Images Festival Spotlight (Toronto, 1997) and are included in a DVD/CD-ROM set, Of Memory and Displacement / Vera Frenkel: Collected Works (2005). Her recent project, The InstituteTM: Or, What We Do for Love, is both an installation and web-based work (the-national-institute.org). Frenkel's writings have been much anthologized, and have appeared in such publications as artscanada, Canadian Art, Descant, FUSE, Intermédialités, Public and Vanguard. Frenkel has received the Canada Council Molson Prize and the Bell Canada Award in Video Art, among others. She lives in Toronto.
Peggy Gale is an independent curator and writer whose texts on contemporary art, especially video art, have become artistic benchmarks. Born in Guyana in 1944, Gale studied at the University of Toronto and the Università degli Studi in Florence. She has published extensively, with essays in Video By Artists (1976, 1986), Mirror Machine: Video and Identity (1995) and Lectures obliques (1999), and texts in many museum catalogues. She was editor, among others, of Museums by Artists (with AA Bronson, 1983) and Video re/View: The (best) Source for Critical Writings on Canadian Artists' Video (with Lisa Steele, 1996). Videotexts, a selection of her essays, was published in 1995. She has organized many exhibitions including: Videoscape (Art Gallery of Ontario, 1974-1975); XIV Bienal Internacional de São Paulo (1977); Electronic Landscapes (National Gallery of Canada, 1989); the Biennale of the Moving Image (Madrid, 1990) and Tout le temps / Every Time (La Biennale de Montréal, 2000). Peggy Gale lives in Toronto.
Kenneth Lochhead was one of the famous Regina Five, a group of Canadian abstract painters who achieved renown in 1961 for a landmark exhibition presented at the National Gallery of Canada that subsequently toured across the country. Born in Ottawa in 1926, Lochhead studied art at Queen's University, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (Philadelphia) and the Barnes Foundation (Merion, PA). In 1950, he was appointed Director of the School of Art, Regina College, University of Saskatchewan. While in Saskatchewan, he founded the Visiting Artist Workshops at Emma Lake, which helped connect Regina with the wider art world. After stints teaching in Regina, Winnipeg and Toronto, he returned to Ottawa in the early 1970s; he taught at the University of Ottawa from 1975 until 1989. Since 1953, Lochhead has shown his varied work (his recent focus is on landscape painting) in numerous solo and group exhibitions in both public and private galleries in Canada and abroad. He lives in Ottawa.
Internationally acclaimed photographer Arnaud Maggs is best known for detailed, grid-like portrait studies that betray a stark intimacy. These include 64 Portrait Studies, the Ledoyen Series and 48 Views, a series that included such Canadian notables as Northrop Frye, Irving Layton, Yousuf Karsh and Leonard Cohen. At the age of 47, Maggs decided to become a visual artist and abandoned his early career as a successful graphic designer and fashion photographer. His work touches on questions of mortality, focusing on such things as death notices and tags documenting child labour in French textile factories. Maggs has exhibited widely: recent solo exhibitions include Joseph Beuys, 100 Profile Views (Art Gallery of Hamilton) and Orford String Quartet (Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston). His work is found in many collections across Canada. He has won such prizes as the Gershon Iskowitz Prize and the Canada Council's Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award. Born in Montreal in 1926, Maggs currently makes his home in Toronto.
Peter Wintonick is a producer, director, critic and editor of independent film, video and new media. His work includes dramatic features, theatrical documentaries, educational and socio-political works. Born in 1953 in Trenton (ON), Wintonick graduated from Algonquin College in Ottawa. He has lectured at Concordia University in Montreal and at universities around the world. A leader in digital documentary production, web work and media literacy, Wintonick is noted for co-producing and directing (with Mark Achbar) one of the most successful documentaries in Canadian history, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media. It has played in 200 cities, won 22 awards at more than 50 international film festivals and has been broadcast in a dozen languages. He also directed (with the NFB) Cinéma Vérité: Defining the Moment and Seeing is Believing: Handicams, Human Rights and the News. Wintonick contributes to film magazines and advises film festivals and film institutions around the world. He lives in Montreal.
Selection of winners
To be nominated for one of the artistic awards, candidates must have created an outstanding body of work and have made a significant contribution to the development of the visual or media arts over a significant period of time. Professional artists are eligible for nominations in the following four categories: fine arts (painting and drawing, photography and print-making, and sculpture, including installation and other three-dimensional work); applied arts (architecture and fine crafts); independent film and video; and audio and new media.
The members of this year's jury were textile artist Kai Chan (Toronto); painters Suzanne Funnell (Halifax) and Jane Ash Poitras (Edmonton); sculptors Carole Itter (Vancouver) and Roland Poulin (Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir, QC); video artist/curator Anne Golden (Montreal); and critic/educator Robert Enright (Winnipeg/Guelph, ON).
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, will present the 2006 awards on Wednesday, March 22, at 6 p.m. in the Ballroom of Rideau Hall (the residence of the Governor General in Ottawa), One Sussex Drive. A reception and dinner in honour of the winners will be held that evening (by invitation only). Media wishing to cover the ceremony should contact Lucie Brosseau at the Rideau Hall Press Office at (613) 998-0287.
Exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada will present an exhibition in celebration of the winners and their works from March 24 to July 3, 2006. Media representatives are invited to attend the official opening on Thursday, March 23, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of the National Gallery, 380 Sussex Drive, Ottawa.
Media wishing to preview the exhibition and interview the winners may do so on Wednesday, March 22 at 10 a.m. Please contact Alain Boisvert at (613) 990-6835 to R.S.V.P. for this media preview.
The National Gallery, in cooperation with the National Film Board of Canada, will also hold free public screenings of Peter Wintonick's films Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, Seeing is Believing and Cinéma Vérité on Saturday, March 25 (in English) and Sunday, March 26 (in French), starting at 10:30 each day. Mr. Wintonick will give an artist talk at 10 a.m. on both Saturday (in English) and Sunday (in French). The screenings will take place in the National Gallery Auditorium. For more information, contact the National Gallery at 998-8888 (in Ottawa) or toll-free at 1-888-541-8888.
Other exhibitions of winners' works
Carleton University Art Gallery, which nominated Vera Frenkel for the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts, will celebrate her work with The Storyteller: Vera Frenkel, which will open today (March 14) and continue through April 16. The exhibition will feature works from the gallery's permanent collection as well as video projects from the artist's recent four-disc compilation, Of Memory and Displacement.
The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is currently showing the works of Mowry Baden as part of the exhibition Mowry Baden & Roland Brener. The exhibition continues until April 16, 2006.
The Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, Ontario is currently showing the works of Arnaud Maggs in an exhibition entitled Arnaud Maggs Nomenclature. The exhibition continues until March 26, 2006.
Media contact:Donna BalkanSenior Communications Manager1-800-263-5588 or (613) 566-4414, ext. 4134 Email this contactCarole BretonPublic Relations Officer1-800-263-5588 or (613) 566-4414, ext. 4523 Email this contact
To arrange interviews with the winners:Diane Chaperon-LorNational publicist(416) firstname.lastname@example.org