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2011 Snider Artist-in-Residence Awarded Prestigious Iskowitz Prize

The sculpture "Scarborough Lights" is on display at the Social Sciences building. (Photo by Ken Jones)

Kim Adams, UTSC’s 2011 Snider Visiting Artist-in-residence has just been awarded the $50,000 Iskowitz Prize, which is complemented by a solo exhibition at the AGO.

During his residency at UTSC, students in VPA’s Advanced Special Topics class assisted him with his project. Together they worked to create Scarborough Lights — a large-scale sculpture nearing complete installation in the Social Sciences building.

Scarborough Lights is comprised of three, stacked and lit Maytag dryer casings, revolving slowly atop an auto carrousel. Here, consistent with his oeuvre, Adams has converted everyday objects into an absurd and provocative work of art. The dryers have been transformed into a modular column, which in turn alters its environment by radiating “light bubbles” that enliven an otherwise functional space.  Adams has subtracted from the industrial forms by removing their internal components and by drilling holes into the remaining shells, yet the result is an abundant presence, at times immaterial as the column rotates and light twinkles.  The title plays on the arresting northern lights, and offers an electrified parallel to the natural phenomena that captures our imaginations. The artist’s sense of humour shines through this improbable disco ball, encouraging the viewer to reconsider commonplace objects now made remarkable.

Adams has been showing for almost three decades and is currently based in Toronto. Recent solo shows include New Old Work (Love Birds), Diaz Contemporary, Artist Colony (Bureau de change, 75th Anniversary of the Banff Centre) at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, Roadside Attractions at Galerie Stadtpark, Krems, Austria, and Bugs and Dragons at the Art Gallery of Ontario. He is the subject of numerous books and catalogues, and his work is part of many major public collections such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Centraal Museum in Holland.

The Iskowitz Prize was created in 1986 by Gershon Iskowitz to recognize and support Canadian artists. Now administerd jointly by the Iskowitz Foundation and the AGO, it is awarded annually to an artist who has made a significant contribution to the visual arts in Canada.

Not entirely unrelated, Young & Giroux, the artist duo responsible for Interregnum: Corner Displacement for John Andrews, located in the atrium of UTSC’s Instructional Centre were recently awarded the $50,000 Sobey Art Award. This prize is Canada’s pre-eminent award for contemporary Canadian art, and was created in 2002 by the Sobey Art Foundation. It is an annual prize given to an artist age 40 or under who has exhibited in a public or commercial art gallery within 18 months of being nominated.

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