TORONTO (February 22, 2023) - The Gershon Iskowitz Foundation in partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is pleased to announce 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.
Tim Whiten - Photo Courtesy of Mehraban Mehrabani
ABOUT TIM WHITEN
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.
ABOUT THE GERSHON ISKOWITZ FOUNDATION
The Gershon Iskowitz Foundation is a private charitable foundation established in 1986 through the generosity of painter Gershon Iskowitz (1921 – 1988). Iskowitz recognized the importance of grants in the development of artists in Canada, in particular acknowledging that a grant from the Canada Council in 1967 gave him the freedom to create his distinctive style. Iskowitz’s works are in public and private collections across Canada and abroad. The Foundation’s principal activity is the designation of the Prize which is unique in that one can neither apply nor be nominated. A second distinct characteristic which many of the recipients have commented on is that the Prize is an excellent example of an artist supporting other artists. Iskowitz himself was actively involved in designating the Prize in its first years; after his death this responsibility passed to juries composed of trustees of the Foundation and invited artists and curators. The achievements of the first 20 years of the Foundation and the Prize are detailed in The Gershon Iskowitz Prize 1986 – 2006; the work of subsequent winners is included on the Foundation’s web site, www.iskowitzfoundation.ca
ABOUT THE GERSHON ISKOWITZ PRIZE AT THE AGO
At the 20-year mark of the Prize, the Foundation formed a collaborative partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario to raise awareness of the importance of the Prize and through it, the visual arts in Canada. The AGO is home to Iskowitz’s archives, which include early works on paper, sketchbooks and memorabilia, and it holds 29 paintings by Iskowitz spanning 1948 to 1987 in its collection. Beginning in 2006, in addition to a substantial financial award, the Prize has included a solo exhibition of the winner’s work at the Gallery. Among the 36 previous recipients of the Prize are Liz Magor, Betty Goodwin, General Idea, Stan Douglas, John Massey, Irene F. Whit tome, Françoise Sullivan, Geoffrey Farmer, Brian Jungen, Michael Snow, Kim Adams, and Rebecca Belmore. The most recent exhibition of a prize winner at the AGO was Ken Lum: Death and Furniture; Lum is the recipient of the 2019 Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO. Faye HeavyShield was the recipient of the 2021 Gershom Iskowitz Prize at the AGO, and the AGO will host a solo exhibition of her work in early 2024.
ABOUT THE AGO
Located in Toronto, the Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the largest art museums in North America, attracting approximately one million visitors annually. The AGO Collection of more than 120,000 works of art ranges from cutting-edge contemporary art to significant works by Indigenous and Canadian artists and European masterpieces. The AGO presents wide-ranging exhibitions and programs, including solo exhibitions and acquisitions by diverse and underrepresented artists from around the world. In 2019, the AGO launched a bold new initiative designed to make the museum even more welcoming and accessible with the introduction of free admission for anyone 25 years and under and a $35 annual pass. Visit AGO.ca to learn more.
The AGO 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.
For press inquiries, please contact:
Nancy Hushion, Executive Director, Gershon Iskowitz Foundation
Peggy Gale, President, Gershon Iskowitz Foundation
Andrea-Jo Wilson, Manager, Public Relations, AGO Communications