2014 Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts - A stunning selection of works by the recipients on view at the National Gallery of Canada.

Ottawa - March 26, 2014

A stunning selection of works of art representing the 2014 Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts will be on view at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) as of this Friday, March 28th, until July 6th. The exhibition is organized by the NGC in collaboration with the Canada Council for the Arts and His Excellency The Right Honourable  David Johnston, Governor General of Canada.

For this exhibition, Rhiannon Vogl, the NGC’s Curatorial Assistant of Contemporary Art, chose artworks from the Gallery’s collection as well as those lent by the artists. Featured in the exhibition are works by sculptor Kim Adams; weaver/notebook keeper Sandra Brownlee, recipient of the Saidye Bronfman Award; multidisciplinary visual artist Max Dean; performance and installation artist Raymond Gervais; photographer and visual artist Angela Grauerholz; media artist and photographer  Jayce Salloum; and painter Carol Wainio. Also  highlighted is the outstanding contribution of curator Brydon Smith, whose work at the National Gallery of Canada has left a lasting legacy.

“We are so pleased to showcase a selection of works by these outstanding individuals, whose talent and contribution are being honoured by the Governor General of Canada and Canada Council for the Arts,’’ said NGC Director and CEO, Marc Mayer.

The Awards, funded and administered for the 15th year by the Canada Council for the Arts, were announced March 4 during a press conference held in Toronto. They recognize distinguished career achievements in the visual and media arts by Canadian artists and arts professionals or volunteers.

Exhibition Highlights

Kim Adams (born in Edmonton, Alberta, 1951) Kim Adams is an assembler of objects and a bricoleur of materials. He collects, breaks down and then recombines commercially available items to create fanciful, hybrid structures of various scales that propose alternative modes of mobility, domesticity, labour and leisure. Commenting on consumerism, architecture and modern social adaptation, his works have been displayed in a variety of unconventional locales, including busy streets and frozen lakes. Caboose Studio A and B and Citroën Citroën are recent examples of the artist’s propensity for “kit bashing” models and toy parts together to create miniature worlds gone awry. Minnow Lure – a grain bin repurposed as a life-size ice hut – demonstrates his interests in the vehicle and the home, and playfully collapses both into a single unit.

Sandra Brownlee (born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, 1948) Sandra Brownlee considers her weavings to be a form of writing: linear streams of consciousness that allow her to express emotions and record experiences in a tactile manner. Privileging the sense of touch as her primary mode of communicating with the world from an early age, Brownlee began to channel this desire into the woven form. Since the 1980s she has been creating black-and-white works that possess a highly graphic quality, akin to that of cuneiforms or hieroglyphs. She uses a specific technique at the loom, through which she allows imagery to surface line by line, rather than approaching the fabric with a set intention. The results are works such as Weavings Remembered that are at once delicate, cumulative and evocative.

Max Dean (born in Leeds, England, 1949) Max Dean’s work bends gallery conventions and addresses issues of choice and consequence, trust and risk. Exploring the relationship between the artist’s body (or that of the viewer) and the sculptural object, his performances, installations and robotic sculptures often require someone or something to activate or complete them. Dean is interested in the communication between people that results from such situations. As Yet Unrealized marks an important shift in his practice, when he began to employ mechanical and electronic surrogates – robots, photographs and video projections – as the agents for this communication. In his recent series Objects Waiting Dean uses photography to reflect on his relationship to significant items from his home and studio: some from his childhood and others associated with his early career.

Raymond Gervais (born in Montreal, Quebec, 1946) Raymond Gervais’ practice encompasses installation, performance, writing and conceptual art. His works range from meditations on time to explorations of language and aural experiences. Often taking music and sound recording as a starting point, he has moved from creating work that includes sonar elements toward pieces that increasingly rely on silence. A cast of historical characters figure regularly in Gervais’ work. Here, he unites two long-standing muses, Claude Debussy (1862–1918) and Samuel Beckett (1906–1989), placing the composer and writer in a score-like dialogue. Gervais stages them both at the end of their creative processes as they contemplate the completion of an artistic act.

Angela Grauerholz (born in Hamburg, West Germany, 1952) Angela Grauerholz explores the medium of photography vis-à-vis time and memory and its relation to the archive and collections, to representation and to the collective imagination. Whether dreamlike black-and-white prints, cinematic colour compositions or stand-alone iconic images, her works arrive at meaning through their form, presentation and context. Rose et Bleu captures an awkward and unassuming moment in an extraordinary space, challenging the genre of portraiture and the way we read and appreciate a photograph based on cultural norms or conventions. The works in the Privations series are also portraits and monumentalize physical evidence of loss. These charred remnants of books symbolize the act of being deprived of one’s history, knowledge or identity, in both a personal and cultural sense.

Jayce Salloum (born inKelowna, British Columbia, 1958) A large part of Jayce Salloum’s nomadic practice has focused on representations of Lebanon and the Middle East. Straddling the lines between the personal, quotidian, local and transnational, his work often manifests as an archive of his journeys that documents and questions the contemporary history of these areas.  the heart that has no love/pain/generosity is not a heart (fragments)   arose from Salloum’s journey to Bamiyan, Afghanistan, in April 2008 with Afghan-Hazara artist Khadim Ali. Their goal was to observe the conditions and contradictions of the region and the situation of the Hazara people – a persecuted Shi’a Muslim minority in a country that is predominantly Sunni. Arranged thematically, this installation is composed of elements from their larger work and records the reality of life during the recent conflicts. It attempts to capture, comprehend and reconcile both the beauty and trauma of the area, evoking the mood in Afghanistan beyond the frontline of war.

Brydon E. Smith (born in Hamilton, Ontario, 1938) In his curatorial roles at the Art Gallery of Ontario and National Gallery of Canada, Brydon E. Smith was instrumental in introducing the work of prominent and radical artists to a Canadian audience. Joining the National Gallery in 1967 as Curator of Contemporary and Modern Art, he went on to curate groundbreaking exhibitions and acquired nearly a hundred works for the national collection by artists such as Donald Judd, Jackson Pollock, Agnes Martin, Piet Mondrian, Mark Rothko and, most controversially, Barnett Newman. As Chief Curator and Deputy Director (1979–94), Smith played a key role in the planning and realization of the National Gallery’s permanent home on Sussex Drive and directed the reinstallation of the national collection. He retired in 1999 as the Gallery’s Curator of Modern Art.

Carol Wainio (born in Sarnia, Ontario, 1955) Carol Wainio incorporates diverse references – illuminated manuscripts, children’s stories, archival and contemporary photography and vintage advertising – into her muted, dreamscape-like paintings. In them, fairy-tale animals and historic figures symbolize transformation, commodification and desire, and demonstrate parallels between the past and present. In her early work she employed the book as a compositional device; depicted in various stages of formation and disintegration, it became a metaphor for early experience and the construction of knowledge, while recurring characters like Puss’n Boots represented social advancement through consumerism. More recently, motifs of hybridized birds appear in ambiguous industrial scenarios and act as omens for an uncertain future, marked by globalization, climate change and the loss of collective human experiences.


Members of the public are invited to attend the Opening on Thursday, March 27th, starting at 5:00 pm in the Gallery’s Café des beaux-arts. Speeches by the NGC Director and CEO, Marc Mayer, as well as Canada Council for the Arts’ Head, Endowments and Prizes, Joanne Larocque-Poirier, including an introduction of the recepients, will begin at 6 pm. Admission to the Gallery and exhibition is free from 5 pm to 8 pm.

NGC Magazine

NGCmagazine.ca, the National Gallery of Canada’s online magazine, is a frequently updated source of information on the Canadian art world and events at the National Gallery of Canada.  Correspondents from across the country provide engaging and exclusive content on historical and contemporary art in Canada. This online magazine also includes interviews with artists. This month, read the article Distinguishing the Visual Arts in Canada.


The NGC is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursdays until 8 p.m. Closed Mondays.


Admission to the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts exhibition is included in admission to the NGC Collection. Adults: $12; Seniors and full-time students: $10; youth aged 12-19: $6; families (two adults and three youth): $24. Admission is free for children under the age of 12 and for Members. Free admission Thursdays between 5 pm and 8 pm. For more information: 613.998.8888 or 1.888.541.8888.

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About the National Gallery of Canada      

The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains Canada's premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st century, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. To do so, it maintains an extensive touring art exhibition programme. For more information: gallery.ca.


For media only:

For more information about the exhibition, please contact:

Josée-Britanie Mallet

Senior Media and Public Relations Officer

National Gallery of Canada



Canada Council for the Arts Media Kits

An electronic press kit complete with video interviews, nomination statements and event listings as well as images of the artists and their works is available on the Canada Council for the Arts’ website at: http://ggavma.canadacouncil.ca/

Media contact:             Canada Council for the Arts

                                    Heather McAfee

                                    613-566-4414, ext. 4166 or 613.222.8379


To arrange interviews with the recipients:

The Hillbrooke Group

Lisa Robertson: 613-739-7032