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Valérie Blass is a Gershon Iskowitz Prizewinner!

November 20th, 2017

Valérie Blass. Image courtesy of the artist.

The AGO is thrilled to announced, in partnership with the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation, that Montreal-based sculptor Valérie Blass is the recipient of the 2017 Gershon Iskowitz Prize!

The award, presented annually to an artist who has made an outstanding contribution to the visual arts in Canada, includes a $50,000 cash prize and a solo exhibition at the AGO within two years. As the 2015 winner, Sandra Meigs’ exhibition is currently showing at the AGO: Sandra Meigs: Room for Mystics (with Christopher Butterfield) is open until January 14, 2018. Valérie now joins her—as well as prestigious names like Michael Snow, Liz Magor, Betty Goodwin, General Idea, Stan Douglas, John Massey, Geoffrey Farmer—as the 31st artist to win the prize.

An MFA graduate in visual and media arts from the Université du Québec à Montréal, Valérie Blass’s work “evinces sensuality and humour” according to Canadian Art, while The Walrus says she “uses her own combinations of kitsch to create a Value Village vision of classic monsters: golem, Windigo, siren, sasquatch, Galatea, Medusa, Grendel.” The Toronto Star praised her unique sculptures, which often repurpose finds from second-hand stores and junk shops, as “cheeky, but gleefully subversive” and underpinned by “a deliciously wicked wit.” Her work first attracted attention in the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal’s Triennale du Québec in 2008, and she’s also received significant solo exhibitions at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Art Gallery of Hamilton and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto.

Jurors for the 2017 Prize were Stéphane Aquin, Director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Liz Magor, artist; Philip Monk, Director of the Art Gallery of York University; and two trustees of the Foundation: Stephan Jost, Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO, of the Art Gallery of Ontario and collector Jay Smith.

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