On April 13, 2016, the National Gallery of Canada announced the longlist for the Sobey Art Award. From the conceptual work of artists like Raymond Boisjoly and Derek Sullivan to the perfomance-based work of Meryl McMaster and Lisa Lipton, to artists like Brenda Draney (painting), Jessica Eaton (photography), and Karen Tam (installation) who put a new spin on traditional media, the Sobey Art Award longlist not only serves as something of a who’s who in Canadian contemporary art, but also takes the pulse of current art practices across the country.
In this podcast, recorded earlier this year, Ian Wallace and National Gallery of Canada Director Marc Mayer explore a broad range of issues and ideas. From concepts such as problem-solving and play in contemporary art practice, to the “useful life” of works of art, to the influence of teaching methods and earlier art movements on innovation, this wide-ranging conversation offers plenty of food for thought on art today.
Canadian Artist Robert Houle’s paintings are a distinctive blend of traditional First Nations art and modernism. He draws deeply upon his Saulteaux heritage, history and poetry as well as contemporary art, politics and literature to produce work widely considered to be a distinctly Aboriginal visual language.
As the Sobey Art Foundation seeks to expand its national and international influence, the Sobey Art Award is moving to the National Gallery of Canada. Rob Sobey, Donald’s son and Chair of the Sobey Art Foundation, which funds the Award, explained the move as the “logical next step” in the process of building what has become Canada’s most significant contemporary art prize.
Luanne Martineau is best known for her felted wool sculptures that pack a punch. Born in Saskatoon, and now living, working and teaching in Montreal, she uses traditional craft techniques and materials to produce art that is in equal parts gory, glorious, intricate – and always politically engaged.
Ian Wallace is one of Canada’s most respected artists, having contributed to the development of this country’s contemporary art scene for over forty years. Last year, he generously donated an entire collection of his work to the NGC, where it will be on view until March 2016.
Upon winning the 2015 Sobey Art Award, Abbas Akhavan told NGC Magazine that the recognition makes him want to give back. "Generosity begets generosity, and my ambition is that we can all reciprocate. Not just in the arts, but in life in general.”
Métis artist Christi Belcourt is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, and is the author of three books. Most recently, she designed the medals for the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. In this interview with NGC Magazine, she talks about her ongoing commitment to her heritage, her art and the environment, and how we are all connected.
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