Halifax, Nova Scotia – Susan Letson, Chair of the Nova Scotia Masterworks Awards Foundation today named the five finalists for the $25,000 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Award. She also announced that the finalists will participate in a panel discussion at NSCAD on Friday, September 28 as part of “Culture Days” celebrations. Artists, cultural industry workers and the general public are invited to attend. David Clark, winner of the 2011 award, will moderate. He says: “It would be interesting to see how the work … suggested itself to the artist and the kinds of surprises and changes that took place as the artist worked on the piece. I think these are quite engaging questions for the audience to know what it takes to make a work and also gives insight into the work itself.” The debate will be held from 11:30 am to 1 pm at NSCAD’s Centre for Technology and Innovation, at 1061 Marginal Road on September 28.
When advised of the finalists, Brigadier-General the Honourable J.J. Grant, CMM, ONS, CD (Ret’d), Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia said, “I am very pleased to continue Vice-Regal patronage of this important award which does so much to recognize outstanding creativity in our province. Later this fall I look forward to meeting these remarkable artists and viewing the works selected as finalists.”
The finalists for 2012, in alphabetical order are:
Creators: Susan Leblanc and Ann-Marie Kerr, Halifax, N.S.
The Debacle premiered in Halifax in April 2011 and played in Toronto in December of that year as part of the Nightwood Theatre`s Groundswell Festival. It is a co-creation by actor and Zuppa Theatre Artistic Director, Susan Leblanc and director, Ann-Marie Kerr. The program website, Festival TransAmérique, Montréal, describes it this way. “Prostrate and dishevelled, Margaret is surrounded by hundreds of Mason jars containing childhood secrets. She slowly opens them one by one, gradually letting go of the chaos that haunts her. Exhausted by grief, she clings to fragments of memories that evoke a family that has disappeared. She must go back in time, into the panic and terror of memory, and try to recall moments of lost innocence.
Jury members said of the work “The Debacle [shows] strong theatrical vision, masterfully realized… [with a] strong design concept … [Margaret is] a fragile character.”
The Deluxe Edition of Departures and Returns
Creator: Sandra Brownless, Dartmouth, N.S.
Departures and Returns is a handmade book that was the centrepiece of an exhibition of the same name at the Mary E. Black Gallery in the autumn of 2009. Each of the 30 deluxe, handmade editions contains an original weaving by the artist in an envelope like endpaper. The book itself contains a six page centre leaf, the width of six pages, containing a photograph of her strip weavings. Individual pages are reminiscent of a child’s interactive picture book containing pages stitched with black thread, both delicate and detailed, as well as prints and texts that reflect her life as an artist and a human being. The deluxe edition is wrapped in a woven cover with facsimiles of the artist’s notebooks. With Sans Serif Studio she co-produced an additional 100 catalogue copies making the work more widely available.
Jury members said of the work “The Deluxe Edition is an elegant and personal book full of challenges and insights… an approach that privileges each page… the exquisite craftsmanship of the book underlines the intimate artistic process but also provides the framework for the artworks included in it… [the artist] has gone out on a limb to blend the personal and the intimate in something on public display.
J-Class Lounge Chair and Footstool
Creator: Jonathan Otter, Earltown, N.S.
J-Class Lounge Chair and Footstool is a fresh take on an ancient design. Based loosely on the arch back or continuous arm, Windsor chair, the artist encourages the art of relaxation by widening and lowering his lounge chair. All edges are soft and spindles are hand-shaped to fit the lumbar curve. The back`s graceful arc sweeps down to wide, supportive arms and the seat is deeply sculpted to cosset the sitter. The artist chose the highest quality raw materials and brought them together in an artful manner. The back crest is laminated from thin slices of black walnut from a single plank with invisible glue lines. The addition of a footstool completes the ensemble, the result of an estimated 15,000 hours of labouring at a workbench. J-Class Chair and Footstool made one juror want to sit down with a beer and think of his own masterwork.
Jury members said of the work “The Chair is masterful fusion of tradition and innovation… playing with the idea of a Windsor chair [but] putting a spin on it… making use of ship building skills… [it has] beautiful lines… [with] joints beautifully done.”
Range Light Borden-Carleton PEI 2010
Creator: Kim Morgan, Seabright, N.S.
Range Light Borden-Carleton PEI 2010 breaks new ground by uniting Maritime imagery, history and change. A range light is one of a pair of beacons that align vertically when a ship keeps to a proper course. The Borden-Carleton light’s mate was destroyed years ago. The remaining structure, just east of the Confederation Bridge at Borden-Carleton, served as a model and a mold. As with lighthouses in Nova Scotia it has become obsolete but Morgan has preserved it in a virtual sense, by encasing it in liquid latex, a month-long process that when removed produced a kind of three dimensional life size print of a moment in time and space. When installed it is illuminated from within, glowing like a giant sea creature. It was exhibited at the Mount St. Vincent Art Gallery in October of 2010. On May 26, 2012, it opened at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in Boston, the largest contemporary art centre in the United States, at a continuing exhibition called Oh Canada.
Jury members said of the work “Range Light is monumental and magical…. [its] surface is so rich, just like a snake’s skin… The Range Light is a moving statement about the fragility of life… breathtaking and mysterious.”
Tabla Concerto (2011)
Creator: Dinuk Wijeratne, Halifax, N.S.
The Tabla Concert (2011) is the first full length Tabla Concerto for tabla and full Western classical Symphony Orchestra. The world premiere performance took place on February 9, 2012 at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium in Halifax at a concert produced by Symphony Nova Scotia conducted by SNS Music Director, Bernhard Gueller and featured tabla soloist, Ed Hanley. It`s a fusion of Eastern and Western musical styles. Commissioned by Symphony Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage it was composed in three distinct movements (1. Canons, Circles; 2. Folk Song “White in the moon the long road lies (that leads me from my love”; 3. Garland of Gems) that allowed each musical entity in the composer`s words “to preserve its own aesthetic”. It was recorded and received its broadcast premiere on CBC Radio Two on June 9, 2012.
Jury members said of the work “[it is] a remarkable piece of work… soul expanding… I was taken out myself by this… [it shows] a true sensitivity to the culture… [it’s] a masterful melding of instrument and players… Dinuk has found a place in Nova Scotia to grow internationally”.
Five Canadian artists formed a multidisciplinary jury working at arms-length from the Foundation to select the winning works. This year’s jury included two people from outside Nova Scotia. Jury members represented a broad spectrum of artistic disciplines, all highly experienced in their respective fields. Names of the jurors will be made public once the winner is announced. Four finalists each receive $3000 while the winning work is awarded $25,000.
Images of the short listed works can be found on this website. Established by the Honourable Myra Freeman in 2005, the Lieutenant Governor’s Masterworks Arts Award recognizes the excellence and creation of a particular work of contemporary art or performance of art, which has made a significant impact in its public presentation, and contributed to the historical development and contemporary practice of the art form. It is sponsored by The Province of Nova Scotia, The Craig Foundation, Scotiabank, and Stewart McKelvey.