Toronto-based sculptor and former Visual Arts student Kim Adams has been named one of the winners of the 2014 Governor-General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts.
Recognized internationally for his large sculptures—often created from a mix of eclectic and everyday objects, including vehicles, dolls, toys and bicycles—Adams earns $25,000 for the Governor-General’s Award. This latest honour comes hot on the heels of two other significant awards for Adams: a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship and the 2012 Gershon Iskowitz Prize from the Art Gallery of Ontario, which came with a $50,000 award.
Adams studied in the Visual Arts department from 1975 to 1980, when he also took courses in Theatre, Art in Education and History in Art. (Score one for interdisciplinarity!) In this video of his work, which features footage of various pieces and a glimpse inside his studio, Adams mentions the influence Visual Arts professor emeritus Mowry Baden had on the development of his work. “When we learned art history, it was through somebody who knew art today—and that was Mowry Baden. We started seeing things that were more real—the perception of the colours, the scale and the size, what happens between it and you and that space between. For me, it was the street level, I was trying to pull that into the art.”
One of eight veteran Canadian artists honoured at the Governor-General’s Awards, which are typically recognized as “lifetime achievement” awards, Kim Adams is an internationally recognized sculptor who has exhibited extensively throughout Canada, across North America and in Europe in both traditional gallery spaces and more public locations. He was also one of the artists included in 2012’s Oh, Canada exhibit at MASS MoCA.
As his page at representing gallery Diaz Contemporary notes, Adams’ “challenging aesthetic and sense of humor emerge throughout his diverse practice.” Adams, along with the seven other winning artists, will be honoured at the official awards ceremony on March 26 at Ottawa’s Rideau Hall. There will also be a group exhibit of the winners’ works from March 27 to July 6, 2014, at the National Gallery of Canada.
The Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts were created in 1999 by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Governor General of Canada. The awards celebrate Canada’s vibrant arts community and recognize remarkable careers in the visual and media arts. Nominations are taken each spring, and winners announced the following March.
And in the good-timing department, another of this year’s Governor-General’s Award winners is Ottawa-based painter and University of Ottawa visual arts professor Carol Wainio. Known for her large, layered acrylic canvases, Wainio just happens to be the next Visiting Artist for the Visual Arts department. You can hear her speak at 8pm on Wednesday, March 12, in room A162 of the Visual Arts building. It’s free and the general public is welcome.