2017 Plaskett Award Winner – Jason Stovall
Jason Stovall completed his MFA in 2016 at Western University in London, Ontario and is currently based in Victoria, British Columbia. Stovall writes that his graphic figurative paintings are about “the hesitation to admit a physical and emotional need for others,” and are informed by his experiences growing up queer in Alberta. Born in 1989 in Edmonton, Alberta, but raised in the oil sands area, the mixed suburban and industrial setting of Fort McMurray is the starting point for “the juxtaposing of issues such as power and tension with themes of identity and masculinity” in Stovall’s work. His upbringing, heavily influenced by the conservative and religious values of Alberta, and by the transient workforce constantly coming and going from the oil sands, combines to form the basis of his subject matter.
The jury was unanimously enthusiastic about Jason Stovall’s paintings and wrote: “Their formal strength was immediately apparent, arresting the jury’s attention through their idiosyncratic compositions and Jason’s sophisticated and surprising use of colour. His evocative narrative content was palpable in the paintings themselves, and subsequently confirmed by his articulate written statement. Jason Stovall seamlessly weaves content and form together into intriguing paintings that are vulnerable, affective, human, touching, and emotional.”
Jason had a strong letter of support from Sky Glabush Associate Professor in Visual Arts at Western. He plans to visit important museums and immerse himself in various European cultures that he believes are more disposed to figurative painting than those he’s encountered in North America. He is specifically eager to see in person the work of Bacon, Hockney, Matisse, and Picasso. Jason gave a gracious speech at the award ceremony held at the RCA annual gathering the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto in May 2017, and has the full confidence of the Joseph Plaskett Foundation as he goes forward.
2017 Petry Award Winner – Gillian King
Gillian King completed her MFA in 2016 at the University of Ottawa. Originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba she is currently based in Ottawa. Her work is firmly grounded in extensive research that connects “ancient art practices with our changing geographical landscapes” and the concept of the Anthropocene has led her to explore relationships between humans and animals. Gillian makes abstract paintings that emphasize material process, using cold wax medium, oil paint and powdered pigment to explore her visual methods. The jury was impressed by Gillian King’s formally inventive paintings that show “ambition and exuberance in her sense of scale and materiality. The physical traces of material in her paintings embody the very qualities of the cave paintings she is referencing. Her strongly affective works present a unique approach to both landscape painting and lyrical abstraction.”
Gillian plans to visit the Lascaux caves in France as well as geologic volcanic Eifel sites in Germany between Bon and Trier. Themes in her work will be furthered by seeing “some of the first European Western cave paintings that depict nonhuman animal and human animal interactions” and advance her understanding and exploration of Paleolithic art histories and contemporary methods of painting. The jury was grateful for a strong support letter for Gillian from Andrew Wright, Director of the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Ottawa.
Along with receiving the 2017 Nancy Petry Award, Gillian King is the recipient of the RBC Emerging Artist Award for Ottawa (2017) and was selected as the Ontario representative for the Robert McLaughlin Gallery’s 50th Anniversary Exhibition, ‘Ab NEXT’ (2017) in Oshawa that features five emerging abstract painters from across Canada. Recent shows include “Becoming Animal” (solo 2016), Ottawa Art Gallery; La Maison des Artistes in Winnipeg, University of Marinette Wisconsin, PDA Projects, Ottawa and Karsh-Masson Gallery, Ottawa. Gillian also completed residencies at The Banff Centre for the Arts and Sparkbox Studios in Canada.