The Grange Prize Announces 2012 Shortlist for $50,000 Prize

Four photographers shortlisted from Canada and U.K.; winner to be chosen by public vote

TORONTO and MONTREAL, Aug. 22, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and Aeroplan, an Aimia company, announce the four finalists for The Grange Prize 2012, the only major Canadian art prize whose winner is chosen by public vote. Two artists from Canada and two from the United Kingdom have been shortlisted to compete for the $50,000 prize. Online voting begins today at and is open until 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 30, 2012. The winner will be announced on Nov. 1, 2012 at a public party at the AGO.

Selected by a jury of leading Canadian and British photography experts, the artists on this year's shortlist share a fascination with the world of images that surround us every day — from fashion editorial and sports photography to landscape images and crime scene documentation.

The Grange Prize 2012 Shortlist:

  • Jason Evans was born in Holyhead, Wales. His wide ranging photographic practice includes fashion editorial, art photography, online projects, and collaborations with musicians including Caribou, Four Tet, and Radiohead. His online project The Daily Nice features one image per day that makes him smile, with no archive. Evans' series Strictly, featuring portraits of highly-styled young men on the suburban streets of the U.K., is part of the collection of the Tate.

  • Emmanuelle Léonard was born in Montréal. A graduate from the Université du Québec à Montréal, she has exhibited widely at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Kunsthaus Dresden and Neuer Berliner Kuntsverein in Germany, and Mercer Union in Toronto. Her works tackle the persuasive nature of the photographic image, questioning such tenets as artistic and legal authority, the nature of evidence, and perceptions of beauty. In 2005, she was the recipient of the Pierre-Ayot Award, presented by the city of Montréal for excellence in visual arts.

  • Jo Longhurst was born in Essex, U.K. and has gained international recognition for her work, having exhibited in London, Paris, and Berlin, including at Documenta (13), currently on view in Kassel, Germany. A PhD graduate from the Royal College of Art, Longhurst's work investigates ideas of physical perfection and self-creation, capturing the striking portraits of elite gymnasts and Whippet show dogs in her two primary bodies of work Other Spaces and The Refusal.

  • Annie MacDonell is a Toronto-based visual artist working in a variety of media. Moving between appropriation, re-animation and deconstruction, her practice includes photography, film, installation, sculpture, and sound. She studied photography at Ryerson's School of Image Arts, followed by an MFA at Le Fresnoy, Studio National des Arts Contemporains, in France. Her photos have been shown at the Art Gallery of Windsor, the AGO, The Power Plant, and Le Grand Palais in Paris.

The four finalists were selected by a nominating jury led by Sophie Hackett, assistant curator of photography at the AGO, and including Sara Knelman, a London, U.K.-based writer and curator; Charlotte Cotton, a prominent writer and curator; and U.K.-based artist duo Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin.

"These four artists have all made such a strong impact in recent years. By appropriating, re-editing and re-presenting photographic and filmic material, they reinvigorate our relationship with photography," said Hackett. "All of the nominees have been through a period of intense exhibition activity recently; The Grange Prize will allow each of them a unique opportunity to embark on new research and develop new projects."

The winner will receive a $50,000 cash prize. The three remaining finalists will each receive a cash honorarium of $5,000, dedicated to the research, creation, and production of new work. All four finalists will receive an artist residency, one of the unique features of The Grange Prize compared with other international art competitions. In the coming months, Jason Evans and Jo Longhurst will be joining the AGO's Artist-In-Residence program in Toronto, and Emmanuelle Léonard and Annie MacDonell will travel to the UK to conduct research and explore new avenues of practice.

To celebrate the four finalists and to introduce the public to these talented artists, exhibitions of their work will be mounted in both Canada and the U.K. The Art Gallery of Ontario will open its exhibition with a public launch party on Sept. 5, 2012. In the U.K., Canada House, in London's Trafalgar Square, will celebrate the opening of its exhibition with a reception on Sept. 27, 2012. Voting stations will be on site in each location to allow visitors to vote in person. Both exhibitions will be on view until Jan. 6, 2013.

Each year, The Grange Prize nominates two photographic artists each from Canada and a partner country. Previous winners include Gauri Gill of India (2011), Canadian photographer Kristan Horton (2010), Marco Antonio Cruz of Mexico (2009) and Canadian photographer Sarah Anne Johnson (2008).

Updates, blog posts and more information about The Grange Prize can be found at

The Grange Prize is generously supported by The Canada Council for the Arts.

Programming Highlights for Grange Prize 2012

Grange Prize 2012 Public Launch Party
Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012 6:30 - 9:30 pm
Walker Court at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Join the four shortlisted artists and jurors Sophie Hackett, Sara Knelman, and Charlotte Cotton for a celebration launching The Grange Prize 2012 exhibition at the AGO. Curated by Sophie Hackett, lead juror and assistant curator of photography at the AGO, the exhibition, which runs Sept 5. 2012 to Jan. 6, 2013, will feature works from all four finalists. Featuring a set by DJ Jaime Sin, video content, a cash bar, and presentations by each of the jurors, the launch is free to the public.

The Grange Prize 2012 Dialogues: Questions of Context: The Artists and Jurors in Conversation
Friday, Sept. 7, 3 - 6 p.m.
Weston Family Learning Centre at the AGO
Members $10/Public $12/Students $8  

Join us for the first of two stimulating panel discussions with the artists and jurors of The Grange Prize 2012. By appropriating existing images, placing familiar photographic genres in new contexts, and pushing the photographic print into the realm of the three-dimensional object, each of the four shortlisted artists is making exciting propositions about photography and its place in our lives today. Go in depth with each of the artists and jurors as they address key questions raised by The Grange Prize Exhibition, and explore the status of photography today. This panel will be moderated by Sophie Hackett, assistant curator, photography, AGO and Dr. Gaëlle Morel, curator, Ryerson Image Centre.

The Grange Prize 2012 Dialogues: The Impact of Art Prizes
Sunday, Oct. 28, 3 - 4 p.m.
Art Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Free with admission to Art Toronto

Join moderator Sara Angel, writer and critic, and panelists Sophie Hackett, AGO assistant curator, photography and lead juror of The Grange Prize 2012; Murray Whyte, art critic for the Toronto Star; the AGO's Turner Prize-nominated Artist-in-Residence Mark Titchner; and Sarah Fillmore, chief curator of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the curator of the Sobey Art Award, for a wide-ranging discussion about the increasing prevalence of art prizes in Canada and internationally, and their effect, intended or otherwise, on artists, critics, curators, and institutions.

Aeroplan, Canada's premier coalition loyalty program is owned by Aimia Inc., a global leader in loyalty management. Aeroplan is a long-standing patron of the arts, with a history of supporting artists and arts initiatives across Canada. Of particular significance is the company's work, in partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario, to develop The Grange Prize for contemporary photography. Aeroplan is committed to fostering a long-term, international dialogue about this important art form. Aeroplan has also joined the AGO in a partnership as the Signature Partner of the Photography Collection Program, supporting planned AGO activities to engage visitors with photography, including special lectures and tours.

For more information about Aeroplan, please visit or

With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens' masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Kenneth Thomson's generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO's Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.

May 1-Aug. 26, 2012: Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris

Oct. 20, 2012-Jan. 20, 2013: Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting

March 16-June 16, 2013: Revealing the Renaissance: Art in Early Florence

The AGO acknowledges the generous support of its Signature Partners: American Express, Signature Partner of the Conservation Program; and Aeroplan, Signature Partner of the Photography Collection Program.

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.

SOURCE: Aeroplan

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Christa Poole
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