Tim Whiten awarded the 2022 Gershon Iskowitz Prize

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Tim Whiten awarded the 2022 Gershon Iskowitz Prize
Tim Whiten. Photo Courtesy of Mehraban Mehrabani.

TORONTO.- The Gershon Iskowitz Foundation in partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario announced Tim Whiten as the recipient of the 2022 Gershon Iskowitz Prize At The AGO. The award, which includes a $75,000 cash award and a solo exhibition at the AGO is presented annually to an artist who has made an outstanding contribution to visual arts in Canada.

For more than fifty years, Tim Whiten has been creating personal and evocative works that unite the spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and material realms. He has pursued a creative practice – one that includes gestural drawings, sculptures, performances, and installations – rooted in a deep understanding of spiritual cultural practices from around the world. Whiten deploys this knowledge in his work, creating intimate experiences that allow for the experience and contemplation of forces beyond our conscious comprehension. His profound spiritual investigations evade easy categorization and manifest in ways that are both spellbinding, and impeccably produced.

Rather than an artist, Whiten considers himself an "image maker who also creates cultural objects. The process is what guides the work.” His choice of materials comes from everyday experiences and many of his objects are either tools or toys. These objects are meant to take the viewer to another place or another time.

Max Dean, a member of the 2022 Prize jury, spoke to both Whiten’s long-term commitment and outstanding involvement. “One is at first taken in by the material, but the content of the work transcends.”

Jurors for the 2022 Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO were: artist and recipient of the 2005 Gershon Iskowitz Prize, Max Dean; Michelle Jacques, Head of Collections/Exhibitions & Chief Curator, Remai Modern; Catherine Crowston, Director of the Art Gallery of Alberta (Iskowitz Foundation Director); Gerald McMaster, artist and Director of Wapatah Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge at OCADU (Iskowitz Foundation Director); and Stephan Jost, Michael and Sonja Koerner Director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario (Iskowitz Foundation Director).

Tim Whiten is represented by the Olga Korper Gallery in Toronto. More details about Tim Whiten’s exhibition at the AGO in 2025 will be announced as they become available.

Born in Michigan in 1941, after completing military service, Whiten moved to Toronto in 1968 to teach at York University, becoming a founding member of the institution’s Department of Visual Arts, and inspired generations of artists through his long teaching career. In 2007, with thirty-nine years of teaching at York University, long after having achieved the rank of Full Professor, he retired from full-time teaching and currently holds the status of Professor Emeritus.

Selected solo exhibitions include the Art Gallery of Hamilton (2010), the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, Waterloo (2006), Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts, Montreal (1998), and the Koffler Gallery. In 2021, Tim Whiten: Tools of conveyance at the Colorado University Art Museum in Boulder, Colorado, was organized around themes and processes that emerged in Whiten's work from the late 1960s to the present. In 2022, Whiten’s work was featured in four exhibitions, staged as part of a multi-venue collaborative project titled Elemental: Ethereal, at the McMaster Museum of Art, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, the Art Gallery of Peterborough, and the Art Gallery at York University.

Whiten's work has been included in numerous group exhibitions the Art Gallery of Ontario; Art Gallery of Hamilton; Art Gallery of Windsor; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto; the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston; The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa; Art Museum, University of Toronto, the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; The Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.

Whiten's work has been collected in depth by private collections and public institutions including the Art Gallery of Hamilton the Tom Thomson Art Gallery, Owen Sound, and the Art Museum, University of Toronto, as well as the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Art Gallery of Windsor, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, the Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto, as well as by the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco.

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