The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is pleased to present the return of the Sobey Art Award. This year marks the sixth presentation of the award since its inception in 2002, and the fourth time the award has been held at the AGNS. Vying for the 2009 prize are Graeme Patterson, representing the Atlantic region, David Almejd for Québec, Shary Boyle for Ontario and, representing the Prairies and The North and the West Coast and Yukon respectively, Marcel Dzama and Luanne Martineau. As in every year since 2002, the members of the 2009 Curatorial Panel developed this shortlist from a longlist of 25 of the country’s best artists, five from each of five regions in Canada. This was no easy task for the panel, which includes Liz Wylie, Curator, Kelowna Art Gallery; Kitty Scott, Director, Visual Arts, The Banff Centre; Ivan Jurakic, Curator, Cambridge Galleries; Louise Déry, Director/Curator, Galerie de l’université du Québec à Montréal; Terry Graff, Curator and Deputy Director, Beaverbrook Art Gallery.
“Faced with the benefit of a uniformly strong selection of candidates, the jury came to a unanimous consensus on this year’s shortlist. Addressing both the local and the global, these artists make works that encapsulate materiality and conception, scale and complexity, representation and irrationality. Each artist shares a depth of commitment to their creation and exploration of idiosyncratic worlds that are real, imagined, and fantastical.”
2009 Curatorial Panel
This year’s panel fulfilled their responsibility wonderfully with a selection of artists whose works share one other common element: the human figure. Whether it be in the darkly-poetic, morphing forms of Shary Boyle’s paintings and ceramics, the fragmented and somewhat tortured figures in David Altmejd’s The Settler and Luanne Martineau’s Dangler, or the various characters shown in the dioramas of Marcel Dzama or animated in Graeme Patterson’s Grudge Match, the works in this year’s SAA exhibition depict figures with a multiplicity of representation, meaning and materiality rarely seen in group exhibitions. As a result, the human form takes on, collectively in the context of an exhibition, a richness of imagination and lived experience in these stellar works by the five finalists. 2009 Sobey Art Award will begin on September 5 with some of the most intriguing and challenging work this country has to offer.
Shortly after the shortlist was announced in early-May, the gallery staff began working on organizing the exhibition, publishing the accompanying catalogue and preparing for what will be an exciting week at the AGNS. The awarding of the $50,000 prize and the presentation of $20,000 to the four runners-up ($5,000 to each) will take place on October 15 at an outdoor celebration in the AGNS’s Ondaatje Court, the site of Origins by Nova Scotia native, and recipient of a 2009 Canada Governor General Award for Visual and Media Arts, John Greer. Sobey Art Award Week, as it has become to be known, will take place from October 12 to 17, and includes community-inspired and immensely popular Nocturne, Halifax’s second annual evening festival of art and culture. Save the date now for a week of celebration, music and presentations of outstanding visual art.