Vancouver artist Ian Wallace wins $50,000 Molson Prize
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Conceptual artist Ian Wallace, whose experimental photography helped set the tone in the Vancouver art scene of the 1970s, has won the Molson Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts.
Two Molson Prizes, worth $50,000 each, are awarded annually for ongoing contributions to the cultural and intellectual life of Canada.
Photos depict fictional scenarios
Born in 1943 in Britain, Wallace has been influential in the Vancouver art scene since the 1970s when he began to create large-format photographs in which friends acted out fictional scenarios.
In works such as An Attack on Literature (1975) and the long-running series Poverty (1980-1987), he seemed to tie conceptual photography to historic pictorial painting by setting up rich tableaux which purport to depict social problems, according to critic Robert Linsley.
In more recent years, he has returned to documentary and “snapshot” photography but laminates the photos onto canvas alongside painted areas. Poverty and political protest are major themes in his work.
“Wallace’s commitment to experimentalism and innovation together with his ongoing exploration of new technologies and mediums has brought a new approach to visual art genres of still life, history painting and street photography,” the Molson Prize jury said of his work.
Wallace won the Governor General’s Award for Visual Arts in 2004.