|This year's People Choice Award Mike Gough.|
The award season is upon us. Fresh on the heels of the Governor General Awards are the awards hosted by Visual Arts Newfoundland and Labrador. Now in its tenth year, the EVAs recognize excellence in the visual arts of the province–not just by artists but also supporters and writers who work in the domain of the visual arts. (Yes, years ago I won the Critical Eye Award). I can be rather jaundiced about awards unless they come with cash. It pleased me no end to see that this year, and this is a real accomplishment in an economic turn down, that the prize money was actually doubled from $1,000 to $2,000 for some awards. Yes!
A new award was also added to this year's proceedings: The People's Choice Award, which recognized an artist chosen through an online voting process - the artist with the most votes wins. Mike Gough, with a winning combination of talent and charm, was the popular choice. By the way, I have seen more Mike Gough paintings in corporate and private spaces in the past year than any other emerging artist. Most recently I was in The Common, a nifty new work space where you can rent a membership like you would at the gym to share in the resources of boardroom, office equipment, etc –and unlimited amount of Jumping Bean coffee. And yes, they have original, local art on the walls including a Mike Gough.
The Kippy Goins Award so named for the small pieces of wood one throws on a fire to 'keep it going' - thanks an individual or organization whose efforts have helped to sustain and build the visual arts sector. This year the prize went to Sharon LeRiche and the Craft Council Gallery. I have always referred to Sharon as the Mother Teresa of the gallery world because she is so selfless and a true missionary of craft. I also say she is a much nicer person than I am. So, clearly I think she deserved the award, which was guess what, a Mike Gough painting!
|The Long Haul Award recognized the career of Kent Jones |
who work you see above.
The Long Haul Award recognizes a substantial contribution to the visual culture of Newfoundland and Labrador by a senior artist. The 2015 Recipient is Kent Jones. Kent has been the department head of the visual arts program at Grenfell College for 26 years. With only one year left before retirement I was gratified to see the award go to Kent Jones. I have also become much better acquainted with the career of this gifted print maker and painter because I have agreed to curate his 40 retrospective! That will be my next big project.
The Emerging Artist Award went to Kyle Bustin, whose street art I particularly enjoy. The Large Year Award celebrates a visual artist who has enjoyed an exceptional year - meaning at least one exhibition and a critical recognition. This went to John McDonald who made us all jealous because he was represented by a video taped acceptance from Italy. The Critical Eye Award went to my colleague Bruce Johnson who also accepted from the distance of his new home based in Nova Scotia.
|Digital Beasts by Kyle Bustin at The Rooms.|