Skip to Content

Art Gallery of Ontario

Keyword Site Search

AGO Presents Solo Exhibition by Michael Snow,
Winner of the 2011 Gershon Iskowitz Prize

Artist will "direct your attention" with 14 works about the art of looking

(TORONTO – June 6, 2012) Renowned Toronto artist Michael Snow explores the art of looking at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) with an exhibition celebrating his June 2011 winning of the Gershon Iskowitz Prize. On view from July 18 to Dec. 9 in the AGO’s Signy Eaton Gallery, the exhibition highlights Snow’s continuing contribution to Canadian art and his ongoing investigation into visual perception.

Curated by Georgiana Uhlyarik, the 14 works brought together in Objects of Vision are abstract sculptures from the 1950s, the late 1960s and 1982. They are objects that are variously meant to be sat on, touched and approached with caution. Featuring the spear-like installation Transformer and the clay column Core, these works reflect Snow’s fascination with the act of looking. According to Snow, “all of these works are ‘Directors of Attention’ in the sense that their forms suggest the paths a spectator’s eyes should take.”

Born in Toronto in 1928, Michael Snow’s career spans all media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, film, video projection, sound art, bookmaking and experimental jazz. The AGO is home to over 82 works by Snow, including several of the sculptures to be included in the exhibition.

“Michael Snow’s sculptural works are dynamic and relatable, and these works truly demonstrate his profound curiosity, and his many layered approach to the act of seeing art,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, director and CEO of the AGO. “We’re delighted to have the opportunity to present this unique exhibition, and also to pay homage to Michael’s unparalleled contribution to Canadian art and culture."

A free public reception will be held at the AGO on Wednesday, July 18 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Michael Snow and curator Georgiana Uhlyarik will be in attendance and will be leading visitors on a tour of the exhibition, which is open to the public as part of the AGO’s regular free admission on Wednesday nights.

Gershon Iskowitz Foundation President Jeanette Hlinka said, “The Foundation is particularly pleased with our partnership with the AGO, as it affords the prize winner a solo exhibition. This provides a chance to celebrate the work of each winner beyond the simple awarding of the prize, and to involve a much larger public.”

In 1986, Gershon Iskowitz created the prize and the foundation, which bears his name to recognize and support Canadian artists. Twenty-one years later, the Foundation joined forces with the AGO to carry on the tradition through the Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO, awarded annually to an artist who has made a significant contribution to the visual arts in Canada. The prize recipient is selected by a jury comprised of Iskowitz Foundation trustees and an invited external curator or artist.

In addition to the solo exhibition, Michael Snow received a $50,000 award from the Iskowitz Foundation.

Sculptor and installation artist Kim Adams is the recipient of the 2012 Gershon Iskowitz Prize. An exhibition featuring Adams’ idiosyncratic and often humourous sculptures will open at the AGO in late 2012.

Programming Highlights for Objects of Vision include:

Meet the Artist - Michael Snow: Objects of Vision
Wednesday, October 3, 7 - 8 p.m.
Signy Eaton Gallery
Free Admission
The exhibition Objects of Vision is, as its title suggests, composed of objects and sculptures. In this talk, Michael Snow will discuss the aesthetics of these abstract works and how they differ from his work with images or representation. “A pure sculptor,” he explains, “that is an artist who makes objects.” He makes things to look through, around, along, at, up, down, behind, and, at last, to see you looking at things.

The AGO and The Gershon Iskowitz Foundation joined forces in 2007 to raise awareness of the visual arts in Canada, renaming the annual award initiated over 20 years ago by Canadian painter Gershon Iskowitz (1921-1988). Iskowitz recognized the importance of grants to the development of artists and acknowledged that a grant from the Canada Council in 1967 enabled him to formalize his distinctive style. The AGO is home to the artist’s archives, which include early works on paper, sketchbooks and memorabilia, and holds 29 paintings by Iskowitz spanning from 1948 to 1987 in its permanent collection. Previous recipients include Vera Frenkel, Betty Goodwin, General Idea, Stan Douglas, Françoise Sullivan, Shary Boyle and Brian Jungen.

With a collection of more than 80,000 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 Kenneth 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 offering great value, 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 about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.

May 1–Aug. 26, 2012: Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris

Oct. 20, 2012–Jan. 20, 2013: Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting

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 more information on Objects of Vision at the AGO, please contact:

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

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

Share and Enjoy: