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2014 Gershon Iskowitz Prize winner Liz Magor solo exhibition opens at Art Gallery of Ontario

Artist talk and reception to coincide with announcement of 2015 Gerhson Iskowitz Prize winner

TORONTO — The recipient of the 2014 Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO, Vancouver-based artist Liz Magor, returns to Toronto this fall with a solo exhibition of 15 sculptural and photographic works spanning the last two decades. Investigating our desire for comfort and belonging through everyday objects, both cast and found, the exhibition Liz Magor: Surrender opens at the Art Gallery of Ontario on Aug. 29, 2015 and runs to Nov. 29, 2015.

Magor will give a free public talk on Oct. 28, 2015 in the AGO’s Jackman Hall at 5:30 p.m. This will be followed by a free public reception in Walker Court, during which the winner of the 2015 Gershon Iskowitz Prize will be announced. The award, which is presented annually to an artist who has made an outstanding contribution to the visual arts in Canada, includes a $50,000 cash prize and a solo exhibition at the AGO.

“The Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO is one of Canada's most prestigious and generous awards in the visual arts. The Prize is given annually to a Canadian resident artist whose work has made a significant contribution to the visual arts in Canada as determined by a jury composed of a selection of Foundation trustees and invited artists and curators" says Thomas Bjarnason, Gershon Iskowitz Foundation President. “Trustees of the Foundation look forward to announcing its next Prize winner on October 28.”

Curated by Adelina Vlas, the AGO’s associate curator of contemporary art, Liz Magor: Surrender will be located in the Phillip B. Lind Gallery and features many loans as well as one work from the AGO’s collection.

“Magor’s work has not only influenced an entire generation of Canadian artists, but continues to explore vital issues about our needs for shelter, memory and autonomy,” says Vlas. “This exhibition highlights her work in various media and her ability to uncover the assumptions hidden in everyday objects. We congratulate her again on winning the 2014 Gershon Iskowitz Prize and are excited to show her works at the AGO.”

The works included in Surrender invite viewers to consider the role objects plays in expressing or concealing our identities. In Siberian Husky (1990), a work from the AGO collection, a sleeping dog appears covered in snow and its blanketed contentment lies in stark contrast to the figure of an alert dog isolated within the domestic boundaries of the installation One Bedroom Apartment (1996). Sleep, Magor posits, is not only a form of surrender, but a respite from the anxious work of forming and maintaning an identity. Magor’s photographic series Bitumen (1993) explores that idea of respite further, featuring historical re-enactors who place themselves outside of the parameters of contemporary life by taking on identities from North American history.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the AGO is pleased to support a new monograph of Magor’s work. Published by Triangle Marseille, this major survey will feature essays by Jan Verwoert, Lisa Robertson, Céline Kopp and Liz Magor. It will be published in the autumn of 2015 and be available for sale at shopAGO.

Previous exhibitions of Gershon Iskowitz Prize winners' work at the AGO have included Geoffrey Farmer: Every day needs an urgent whistle blown into it (2014), Kim Adams: Recent Works (2013), Michael Snow: Objects of Vision (2012), Brian Jungen: Tomorrow, Repeated (2011), and Shary Boyle: Flesh and Blood (2010).

AGO members receive free admission to Liz Magor: Surrender. More information on the benefits of AGO membership can be found at

Liz Magor: Surrender is organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Contemporary programming at the AGO is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Liz Magor (b. 1948 in Winnipeg) lives and works in Vancouver. She represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 1984. In 2001, she was the recipient of the Governor General’s Award, and of the Audain Prize in 2009. Her work has been included in prestigious international exhibitions such as the 4th Biennale of Sydney (1982), Documenta 8 (1987), inSITE, San Diego/Tijuana (1997) and the 2013 California-Pacific Triennial, among many others.

Important recent solo exhibitions include No Fear, No Shame, No Confusion at the Triangle Gallery in Marseille, France (2013) as well as at The Power Plant, Toronto (2003), Vancouver Art Gallery (2002), and the Art Gallery of Ontario (1986). National and international group exhibitions include Light my Fire: Some Propositions about Portraits and Photography, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2013); ZOO, Musée d'art contemporain, Montréal (2012); After Presence, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina (2012); The Mouth and other Storage Facilities, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle (2008); Histoires des Amériques, Musée d’art contemporain, Montréal (2004); Baja to Vancouver, Wattis Institute, San Francisco; Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (2004); Elusive Paradise: the Millenium Prize, National Gallery of Canada (2001); and Aurora Borealis, Centre international d’art contemporain, Montréal (1985). A major survey exhibition will be organized at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montreal in 2016.

Liz Magor is represented by the Susan Hobbs Gallery in Toronto and Catriona Jeffries Gallery in Vancouver.

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 1987 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 publication The Gershon Iskowitz Prize 1986 – 2006.

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 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 from 1948 to 1987 in its collection. Beginning in 2006, the Prize has included a solo exhibition of the winner’s work at the Gallery. Among the previous recipients of the Prize are Stan Douglas, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Vera Frenkel, Betty Goodwin, General Idea, Mark Lewis, John Massey, Françoise Sullivan, Irene F. Whittome, and Shirley Wiitasalo.

With a collection of more than 90,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Ken Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit to find out more.

June 20 – Sept. 20, 2015: Picturing the Americas

July 8 – Nov. 15: Camera Atomica

Oct. 31, 2015 – Jan. 31, 2016: J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free

The Art Gallery of Ontario 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 hi-res images and other press inquiries, please contact:

Andrea-Jo Wilson; Senior Communications Officer, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 403,

Caitlin Coull; Manager, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 364,

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