Tight competition for the Sobey Art Award

After visiting Toronto Art, where the majority of the art I saw inside the booths appeared to be too market-centric, I thoroughly appreciated seeing the intimate display of the Sobey Art Award finalists at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art.

This year’s five artists who made the shortlist each claim a distinct practice, but share a common trait, they contribute to both the local and global conversation around contemporary art. And, for this very reason, at times, the exhibition feels more like a carefully curated theme show, than a competition. I might add, Sarah Fillmore Chief Curator, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and Curator, Sobey Art Award curated the Sobey Art Award exhibition.

I’m already familiar with most of the artists, Gareth Moore, shortlisted for the West Coast and Yukon, whose art was included in the acclaimed dOCUMENTA (13); Derek Sullivan, from Ontario, whose art was exhibited at Jessica Bradley‘s  booth at Art Toronto; Quebec’s Raphaëlle de Groot, a conceptual performance artist; and Jason de Haan, for the Prairies and the North, who creates sculptural works that explore the metaphysical, conceptual and absurd. But the artist who grabbed my attention was Eleanor King, a new and exciting artist from Halifax, makes the most magnificent monumental artworks of everyday life mundane materials I have seen in quiet awhile.

A detail from Eleanor King’s Installation

I imagine the judges will have a very difficult decision choosing this years winning artist for Canada’s most prestigious art award, since the quality of art is so high. The winner will be awarded $50,000 and tons of public recognition. This exhibition will travel across Canada.

On November 16th the winner will be announced at a Gala hosted by the MOCCA.

all photographs © Juan Madrigal via iPhone

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