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Art Gallery of Ontario announces finalists for The Grange Prize 2012

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and Aeroplan announce the four finalists for The Grange Prize 2012, supporting the artistic development of four photographic artists whose work has shown extraordinary promise over the past three years. The finalists receive international artist residencies, exhibitions of their work at the AGO in Toronto, Canada and Canada House in London, UK, and a chance to win the prize. The shortlist was selected by a jury of leading Canadian and British photography experts, and the winner will be chosen by public vote. Public voting takes place inside the exhibitions and online at

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 UK, 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, including 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 the visual arts.

Jo Longhurst was born in Essex, UK and has gained international recognition for her work, having exhibited in London, Paris, and Berlin, including 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 University’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, UK-based writer and curator; Charlotte Cotton, a prominent writer and curator; and UK-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.”

All four finalists will receive an artist residency, one of the unique features of The Grange Prize, and the three runners-up receive funding toward research and/or the creation and production of new work during their residencies. In the coming months, Jason Evans and Jo Longhurst will join AGO’s Artist-In-Residence program in Toronto, and Emmanuelle Léonard and Annie MacDonell will travel to the UK.

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 UK in the coming weeks. The AGO will open its exhibition with a public launch party on Sept. 5, 2012. In the UK, Canada House, in London’s Trafalgar Square, will open its exhibition on Sept. 27, 2012. 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).

Contemporary programming at the Art Gallery of Ontario is supported by The Canada Council for the Arts.

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