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The Ontario Association of Art Galleries announces winners of 2005 OAAG Awards of Merit

(Toronto, text revised June 23, 2005)—At a ceremony held in the Art Gallery of Hamilton on Friday night, May 27, the Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG) presented thirty-one 2005 Juried Awards of Merit to curators, educators, designers, volunteers, community partners and public art galleries all across Ontario. Approximately 200 people attended the reception and ceremony.

The 2005 OAAG Awards are annual juried awards that distinguish prominent achievement in the visual arts in seven categories: exhibitions, writing, book design, exhibition design and installation, education programs, partnerships and volunteers. This is the 28th year.

This year, public art galleries in Guelph, Hamilton, London, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, Oakville, Ottawa and Toronto were recognized with 2005 OAAG Awards.

Demetra Christakos, Executive Director, Ontario Association of Art Galleries, commented "We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of public art galleries across Ontario every year and are excited to shine a spotlight on their significant achievements in the visual arts."

An evening of understated Hamilton glamour awaited guests and award nominees alike with featured works from performance and visual artists. Drag queen, artist, curator and writer Andrew Harwood hijacked the AGYU Performance Bus with a whirlwind trip from downtown Toronto to the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Toronto artist Charlene Lau presented a performance on piano. Musician and performance artist tiny bill cody took the stage opening the ceremony. Christy Thompson created an exclusive edition of artist multiples, Good For You, awarded to the evening’s winners, by the lovely Enza Supermodel.

Demetra Christakos, Executive Director, Ontario Association of Art Galleries, also commented:

"The Awards are an exciting time for us. We celebrate the collaborations galleries initiate with artists, audiences and community partners. Public art galleries really are a dynamic part of our cultural life. More than 3 million people in Ontario visit public art galleries annually and we see that number growing every year. Overall, the quality of visual art exhibition and art book publication in Ontario is world-class. This year, our juries were largely artist-driven. As an observer of the jury process, I am thoroughly impressed by the clear thinking behind the jurors’ deliberations, their care and patience."

2005 OAAG AWARDS HIGHLIGHTS

Jurors recognized the multi-site exhibition The Atlas Group and Walid Raad with the Exhibition of the Year Award, and the Exhibition Design and Installation Award (Multi-Institutional). This exhibition, organized by the Art Gallery of York University and curated by Philip Monk, was presented in the fall of 2004 at the Art Gallery of York University, Toronto, and Prefix ICA, Toronto. Jurors affirmed the exhibition’s assertion: that the site of the public art gallery, like the archive, is one more form that Walid Raad’s brilliant work inhabits, contests, and ultimately critiques. The timing of the exhibition, a considered move, was also recognized as an affirmation of the work’s political content.

The Art Gallery of York University was also recognized for the exhibition True Love Will Find You in the End: Video Embroidery by 640 480, AGYU@Zsa Zsa, Toronto, with an Exhibition Design and Installation Award for Temporary Exhibition and for its partnership with corporate sponsor Barudan Canada Inc., in the donation of training, use of software, and an industrial sewing machine.

Artist and curator Richard Fung was in attendance to accept the 2005 Curatorial Writing Award for Contemporary Essay for "Sarindar Dhaliwal: Rebellious Beauty" in the 2004 publication Record Keeping co-published by The Organisation for Visual Arts Limited, London, England in association with the Agnes Etherington Arts Centre, Kingston.

Art Gallery of Ontario curator Katharine Lochnan received the Award for Historical Essay for her essay "Turner Whistler Monet: an artistic dialogue" published in conjunction with the exhibition Turner Whistler Monet last year. The book to that exhibition is a massive Canadian best seller on any scale, having recorded over 10,000 sales in Canada alone.

The Merchant Capital Group Design Awards recognize excellence in design in gallery publications. OAAG had the pleasure of presenting ten Awards to graphic designers for excellence and achievement in the design of visual art books, newsletters, brochures, and web sites produced by public art galleries in Ontario.

This year, designers of five books published by Ontario public art galleries were recognized.

  • Zab Design Topography for Caught in the Act, YYZ Artists' Outlet
  • Bryan Gee Design for Peter MacCallum: Material World, YYZ Artists' Outlet and Museum London
  • Timmings & Debay for David Rokeby, Oakville Galleries
  • Niki Fleming for (W)hole Vessna Perunovich, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery
  • Associés libres Inc. for multimedia project Machine Life, published by Agnes Etherington Art Centre and The Koffler Gallery.

Art Gallery of Hamilton and McMaster University were acknowledged for their major collaboration in the website www.virtualcities.ca for the ambitious project Future Cities with the design award for web project.

No-Kit, an outreach programme in the classroom organized by Catherine Sicot, Education Manager at Oakville Galleries was awarded the Educator Award. Along with a dedicated team of animateurs this innovative program allowed students to engage with contemporary art in their own classrooms.

The Samuel E. Weir Partner Awards recognize and celebrate community partnerships between businesses, foundations and individuals and their public art galleries.

This year, the jury recognized the major contribution of Barrick Gold Corporation for the collaboration in shipping 58 signature works by Canadian artist Tom Thomson to the State Heritage Museum, Russia.

The Volunteer Award was presented to Jeanne Parkin for her devoted fundraising efforts and the organization of many member trips to major international art institutions. Jeanne Parkin is an avid art collector of contemporary art as well as a dedicated philanthropist in the arts community. With over 15 years of support, she has worked tirelessly to promote young Canadian artists and encourage dialogue on contemporary art.

2005 OAAG jurors included Robert Burley, Eldon Garnet, Luis Jacob, Allyson Mitchell, Ed Pien, Ron Shuebrook, Greg Staats, and Liz Wylie.

2005 OAAG Award presenters included Luis Jacob, Tor Lukasik-Foss, Zoë Stonyk, Enza Supermodel.

The 2005 OAAG Awards are generously sponsored by Manaca Inc. and Merchant Capital Group and numerous individuals.

OAAG also thanks its 2005 Awards contributors: Debra Antoncic, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Art Gallery of Hamilton Volunteer Committee, Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Gallery of York University, Sharon Bassit, CJ Graphics Inc., C Magazine, Elaine Gaito, Hamilton Artists Inc., The Japanese Paper Place, La Jardinère Flower Market, Lisa Kiss Design, Dave Kemp, Manaca Inc., Merchant Capital Group, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Samuel E. Weir, Staircase Café Theatre, and Trip Print Press.

The Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG), located in Toronto, is an important component of the visual arts infrastructure in Canada. With a membership made up of public art galleries, art museums, artist-run centres and arts-related organizations, OAAG represents the shared interests of its members through a range of services including an awards program, professional development seminars, conferences, publications, targeted communications strategies and special projects.

Media Inquiries
Digital images and broadcast-quality video documentation of the 2005 OAAG Awards are available.

Photos at right courtesy of Dave Kemp and Suzanne Carte-Blanchenot.

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© 2004 Ontario Association of Art Galleries