By Marcus Schwartz
What better way to present arts awards to our community, than “Untitled”? Arriving at the Steam Whistle Brewery (the Founding Sponsor) I was greeted warmly at the guest check in, then welcomed by the animated Emcee John G. Boehme, followed immediately by lovely women offering programmes. At this point, I really felt like a V.I.P. artist myself, dazzled by the sheer beauty of this well organized reception.
Founded by artists Jordan Broadworth and the late Lynn Donoghue in 2003, and championed by Chair, Bill Kirby (Director of the Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art – www.ccca.ca), the Untitled Art Awards recognizes the outstanding professional accomplishments of Toronto’s various visual artists including but not limited to: curators, writers and supporters of the arts. These awards are bestowed in a dozen categories, with proceeds from the evening going to The Artists Foundation (www.artistsfoundation.ca.)
The sold out event was supported by a diverse group, including the Mayor who did more than just talk about his support of the visual arts – he backed his words up by attending the excellently prepared dinner and adding his musical “expertise” to the evening via an effects box that was stationed on the table he was seated at. Speaking of the excellently prepared dinner, I must mention that the creative and unusual recipes were prepared during a live presention by Chef Barkhausen (Mike Murphy) and served by the Development of a Waiter in Space (Camilla Singh); a noteworthy performance entitled “The Chopping Block”.
The Chopping Block featured “musical outbursts by the Wood Chopper’s Association” Zebradonk (Sean Abedin and Brodie West), Kasia Piech, and Clock Din (Gord High, Tim Holden and Geordie Wilson), whose freestyle improvisation was described as “a performance of recipes from the Futurist Cookbook!” (You have to go back to the future for an encore!)
The evening was filled with even more to appreciate; the awards recipients and presenters literally “rising to the occasion” with the aid of two painted forklifts on either side of centre stage.
The Awards recipients, who also received a one thousand dollar prize, were:
• Solo Exhibition in a Public Gallery – David Rokeby (sponsored by the Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art)
• Solo Exhibition in a Private Gallery – John Oswald (sponsored by the Drake Hotel)
• Solo Exhibition in an Artist-Run Space – David Hoffos (sponsored by Aboveground Art Supplies)
• Solo Exhibition in an Alternate Space – Peter Kingstone (sponsored by Curry’s Artists’ Materials)
• Exhibition or Project in Virtual Space – Vera Frenkel (sponsored by Toronto Image Works)
• Emerging Curator – Jessica Wyman (co-sponsored by Blackwood Gallery & Queen West Galleries)
• Curated Exhibition – Jessica Bradley (co-sponsored by Gallery 1313 and Steam Whistle Brewing)
• Art Writing – Philip Monk (sponsored by Gladstone Hotel); Lynn Donoghue Friend of the Arts – Margie Zeidler (sponsored by Ontario College of Art & Design)
• Emerging Artist – Marie Legault (sponsored by Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt)
• Artist of the Year – Tanya Mars (sponsored by Steam Whistle Brewing);
The Long Haul for a lifetime achievement (worth $2000.00) went to:
• Lisa Steele (sponsored by City of Toronto Culture Division)
The general public can participate in the nomination process every year simply by visiting their website: www.untitledartawards.ca this fall for next years’ event. It will be interesting to see if the Untitled Art Awards can top their own creativity and entertaining stunts next year.