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Eight Emerging Artists Won the Governor General's Award This Year
Check this out, I just found this article about this big Canadian art awards this year:
'Earlier today I talked by phone with Michael Morris, one of the recipients of this year's big Canadian art awards from the Governor General. He was in the Toronto International Film Festival Bell Lightbox with the other seven recipients so the media could get interviews all at once. By the time I got to him in the morning in Vancouver, Morris was a little tired after being in the media spotlight for several hours which may have explained why he said his aphasia was particularly bad. He suffers from an inability to comprehend what he says or others say at times since he suffered a stroke a couple of years ago. He was also feeling a little ragged because of his broken arm: he snapped a bone in his left arm last week when he was getting into a cab after the Ken Lum opening at the Vancouver Art Gallery. But he was still perky enough for us to talk about winning the 2011 Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts which is administered by the Canada Council.
When he started making art back in the 1960s, there wasn't anything like the GG awards - which in fact only date back to 1999 (hard to believe that: they're such a good idea they should have dated back to Confederation.) That's what Morris said: he wished they'd been around when he was starting out if only to create more awareness about being an artist in Canada.
“At that time, you had the idea that art really happened a long way away,” he said. “There really wasn't much chance that you would be noticed.”
“We were looking for a centre and we wanted to do something without grants,” Morris said. “We wanted to be independent of that.”
Morris and other artists such as Iain Baxter, Glenn Lewis and Vincent Trasov were making art that initially didn't fit into either the institutional setting of public galleries or the world of commercial art. Intermedia was the first group that formed to bring artists from different disciplines together.
“Out of that came the Image Bank,” he said. “It seemed very necessary to have a discourse across the country because Canada tended to be parochial in different regions: nothing went over the Rockies from either side. We wanted to maintain the kind of energy of Expo 1967. We had to find ways to do it. There was a buzz. We didn't know it at the time, but it was really the first kind of networking."
The Image Bank allowed artists to exchange ideas and images by mail in a way that expanded like a webbed network similar to Facebook and other social media. Works were created collaboratively by artists sending images by mail which would be modified by other artists at each address that it stopped at along the network. The Image Bank also connected the city's emerging art scene with similar avant garde groups such as General Idea in Toronto, the Ant Farm in San Francisco and Fluxus in New York. It put Vancouver on the art map like never before.
In a career spanning more than four decades, Morris has also produced a body of work that includes abstract painting and prints, performance, video, film and photography. Morris is also a co-founder of the Western Front, the city's first artist-run centre. One of his recent works was collaging and arranging the 1,800 Polaroid photographs of Attila Richard Lukacs into the book Polaroids.
The other west coast recipient is David Rimmer who was also part of Intermedia in the late 1960s. He's an experimental filmmaker who created works by not only scratching, looping and colouring surplus film provided by the CBC and National Film Board, he re-filmed it. Some of his works include Surfacing on the Thames and Variations on a Cellophane Wrapper.
Other winners include photographer Genevieve Cadieux, visual artist Robert Fones, filmmaker Barbara Sternberg and painter Shirley Wiitasalo. Metalsmith Kye-Yeon Son won the Saidye Bronfman Award for excellence in craft while Nancy Tousley received the Outstanding Contribution Award for her work as an art critic and journalist.
Recepients receive a $25,000 prize. For the first time, Morris, Rimmer and the six others will receive a special issue medallion designed by the Canadian Heraldic Authority at the Chancellery of Honors and sponsored by the Royal Canadian Mint. The medallion will be unveiled Wednesday, March 23 at the official awards ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.'