2014 List of nominated titles for the Melva J. Dwyer Award / Liste des publications en nomination pour le Prix Melva J. Dwyer.


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Arthur Erickson: An Architect's Life - David Stouck. ( Madeira Park, BC: Douglas & McIntyre. 2013).

An intimate portrait of the brilliant and controversial architect who put Canada on the world stage.

Arthur Erickson, Canada's pre-eminent philosopher-architect, was renowned for his innovative approach to landscape, his genius for spatial composition and his epic vision of architecture for people. Erickson worked chiefly in concrete, which he called "the marble of our times," and wherever they appear, his buildings move the spirit with their poetic freshness and their mission to inspire. Travel was key to Erickson's creative process: floating high above the clouds on extended flights, he made the preliminary drawings for the spectacular, large-scale works that would be built in various parts of Canada -- Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall, Vancouver's Simon Fraser University -- and around the world.

This first full biography of Erickson, who died in 2009 at the age of 84, traces his life from its modest origins to his emergence on the world stage. Grounded in interviews with Erickson and his family, friends and clients, Arthur Erickson is both an intimate portrait of the man and a stirring account of how he made his buildings work. Brilliantly written and superbly researched, it is also a provocative look at the phenomenon of cultural heroes and the nature of what we call "genius."

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Artists, Architects & Artisans: Canadian Art 1890 – 1918. - Charles Hill, Andrea Kunard, Laurier Lecroix, Geoffrey Simmins, Rosiland Pepall, Christine Boyanoski, Bruce Russell. (Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2013). 

The decades following the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1886 to the end of the First World War saw Canada grow from an awkward alliance of formerly independent colonies to an agricultural and industrial nation. Optimism and a new spirit of national pride marked the peak boom years, stimulated by the immense growth in population due to immigration. Urban growth demanded new buildings, which became shells for civic ambitions and new opportunities for art workers. From the furnishings and interiors of a house, to the design and decoration of a public building, to the planning of the streetscape and larger urban fabric, it was an age of reform. Artists, architects and artisans worked together in cooperative ventures, introducing painting into architecture and the design and fabrication of furnishings. The exhibition Artists, Architects and Artisans examines the architecture, urban plans, painting, applied arts, graphic design and photography of a quality previously unparalleled in the country’s short history.

The catalogue, which contains over 300 illustrations, details how the practitioners of the various arts encouraged an aesthetic that saw art manifest in all aspects of daily life. Featured artists include Robert Harris, George Reid, Ozias Leduc, Gustav Hahn and Harriet Ford, architects Eden Smith, Edward and William Maxwell, Percy Nobbs and Samuel Maclure and sculptors Louis-Philippe Hébert, G.W. Hill and Alfred Laliberté.

Artistes, architectes et artisans. L’art canadien 1890–1918 - Charles Hill, Andrea Kunard, Laurier Lecroix, Geoffrey Simmins, Rosiland Pepall, Christine Boyanoski, Bruce Russell. (Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2013). 

Au cours des quelques décennies qui s’écoulent entre l’achèvement de la voie ferrée transcontinentale du Canadien Pacifique en 1886 et la fin de la Première Guerre mondiale, le Canada, qui était jusqu’alors une alliance fragile d’anciennes colonies indépendantes, se mue en une nation agricole et industrielle. L’optimisme et un nouvel esprit de fierté nationale marquent le point culminant de cette période d’expansion, stimulée par l’immense accroissement de la population dû à l’immigration. De la croissance urbaine naît une demande pour de nouveaux bâtiments, qui deviennent le cocon des ambitions civiques et offrent aux artistes de nouveaux débouchés. Depuis l’ameublement et l’aménagement intérieur des résidences privées jusqu’à la conception et la décoration des bâtiments publics, en passant par l’aménagement du paysage et du tissu urbains, l’époque est à la réforme. Artistes, architectes et artisans unissent leurs talents dans des projets communs, introduisant la peinture dans l’architecture, le design et l’ameublement.

Le catalogue illustré de plus de 400 illustrations qui détaille les façons dont les interprètes des diverses disciplines encourageaient une esthétique qui se manifestait dans tous les aspects du quotidien. Les artistes présentés incluent Robert Harris, George Reid, Ozias Leduc, Gustav Hahn et Harriet Ford, les architectes Eden Smith, Edward and William Maxwell, Percy Nobbs and Samuel Maclure et les sculpteurs Louis-Philippe Hébert, G.W. Hill et Alfred Laliberté.

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Canadian Online Art Books. - Art Canada Institute. (Launched Nov. 2013).

The Art Canada Institute is a non-profit research organization based at Massey College, University of Toronto. Founded in 2012, the ACI is the only national institution whose mandate is to promote the study of an inclusive multi-vocal Canadian art history to as broad an audience as possible, in both English and French, within Canada and internationally. The ACI works with more than 50 of Canada’s leading art historians, curators, and visual culture experts who are dedicated to the creation of authoritative original content on the people, themes, and topics that have defined Canadian art history.

The ACI’s mandate is to make Canadian art history a contemporary conversation for a culturally diverse twenty-first-century audience. This means reconsidering the historical definition of Canadian visual culture to open it to multiple voices. It also means using current means of communication to reach audiences from university students in urban centres to those who may never step inside an art gallery or whose access to printed materials on art is limited. The Art Canada Institute is dedicated to developing authoritative yet accessible resources on Canadian art history that offer peer-reviewed art scholarship to the public, free of charge.

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First Peoples of Canada: Masterworks from the Canadian Museum of Civilization - Jean-Luc Pilon, Nicholette Prince. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013).

First Peoples of Canada offers readers a rare opportunity to experience a celebrated exhibition that has toured the world, yet has never been shown in Canada. This beautifully designed, full-colour book presents a collection of 150 archaeological and ethnographic objects produced by Canada’s First Peoples – including some that are roughly 12,000 years old – that represent spectacular expressions of creativity and ingenuity.

Curators Jean-Luc Pilon and Nicholette Prince sought out pieces held by the Canadian Museum of Civilization that could be considered “masterworks” based on their aesthetic qualities, symbolic value, or the skills and raw materials used in manufacturing them. These unique and priceless artifacts embody the rich diversity of skills and materials used by Canadian Inuit, First Nations, and Métis in both ancient and modern times.

First Peoples of Canada is full of insights not only on the pieces themselves, but also on the cultures that produced them and the geography of this vast land. Readers will come away from this book with a renewed appreciation of the lifestyles and achievements of Canada’s original inhabitants.

 
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John C. Parkin, Archives, and Photography - eds. Linda Fraser, Michael McMordie, Geoffrey Simmins, (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2013.

Architectural practice in post-World War II Canada brought substantial change to the face of the Canadian built environment, led by the contribution of John C. Parkin. As senior partner at the Toronto-based architectural firm John B. Parkin Associates (no relation) from 1947 to the 1970s, Parkin oversaw the creation of a large number of modernist projects, including hospitals, airports, schools, shopping malls, and factories, and received national recognition for his contributions.

This richly illustrated book includes an interview with John C. Parkin and essays that examine the incorporation of art in built architecture, the influence of architectural photography in defining Modern architecture to a Canadian public, the importance of architectural archives, and the corporate structure of a large, highly successful Canadian architectural firm.

Linda Fraser is the Archivist and Chief Curator of the Canadian Architectural Archives. Michael McMordie is a Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary and former Director of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program. He has written numerous articles on architecture and environmental design. Geoffrey Simmins has published numerous articles and books on Canadian architecture as well as curating exhibitions and writing video scripts.

 
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Marion Nicoll - eds. Ann Davis, Elizabeth Herbert, Jennifer Salahub, Christine Sowiak. (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2013).

Marion Nicoll (1909 1985) is a widely acknowledged and important founder of Alberta art and certainly one of a dedicated few that brought abstraction into practice in the province. Her life and career is a story of determination, of dedication to her vision regardless of professional or personal challenges. Nicoll became the first woman instructor hired at the Provincial Institute of Art and Technology (now the Alberta College of Art and Design) and although limited to teaching craft and design, she became a significant mentor for generations of artists. Contributions by Ann Davis, Elizabeth Herbert, and Jennifer Salahub.

Ann Davis is a prominent art critic, curator, and teacher. Elizabeth Herbert is an independent curator and author. Jennifer Salahub is an art and craft historian teaching at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary. Christine Sowiak is the curator of art at The Nickle Galleries at the University of Calgary.  
 
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Native Art of the Northwest Coast: A History of Changing Ideas - eds. Charlotte Townsend-Gault, Jennifer Kramer, Ki-Ke-In.  (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2013). 

The Northwest Coast of North America has long been recognized as one of the world’s canonical art zones. Since the mid-1700s, objects or "art" deriving from the Indigenous cultures of this area have been desired, displayed, and exchanged, classified and interpreted, stolen and confiscated, bought and sold, and displayed again in many parts of the world. "Northwest Coast Native art" has proved to be a powerful idea, assuming many guises over the centuries. But how has it been defined, and by whom and why?

This remarkable volume, many years in the making, records and scrutinizes definitions of Northwest Coast Native art and its boundaries. A work of critical historiography, it makes accessible for the first time in one place a broad selection of more than 250 years of writing on Northwest Coast "art." Organized thematically, its excerpted texts are from both published and unpublished sources, some not previously available in English. They cover such complex topics as the clash between oral and written knowledge, transcultural entanglement, the influence of surrealist thinking, and the long history of the deployment of Northwest Coast Native art for nationalist purposes. The selections are preceded by thought-provoking introductions that give historical context to the diverse intellectual traditions that have influenced, stimulated, and opposed each other.

The central importance of this book is that it counters the tendency to turn Northwest Coast Native "art" into a one-dimensional spectacle that obscures and reduces the values of its component cultures and ignores the wider histories of thought that have contributed to its production. In unsettling the conventions that have shaped "the idea of Northwest Coast Native art," this book takes a central place in the lively, often heated, and now global, debates about what constitutes Native art and who should decide.  
 
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The Official Picture: The National Film Board of Canada’s Still Photography Division and the Image of Canada, 1941 – 1971. - Carol Payne. (Montréal, QC: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013).

Mandated to foster a sense of national cohesion The National Film Board of Canada's Still Photography Division was the country's official photographer during the mid-twentieth century. Like the Farm Security Administration and other agencies in the US, the NFB used photographs to serve the nation. Division photographers shot everything from official state functions to images of the routine events of daily life, producing some of the most dynamic photographs of the time, seen by millions of Canadians - and international audiences - in newspapers, magazines, exhibitions, and filmstrips.

In The Official Picture, Carol Payne argues that the Still Photography Division played a significant role in Canadian nation-building during WWII and the two decades that followed. Payne examines key images, themes, and periods in the Division's history - including the depiction of women munitions workers, landscape photography in the 1950s and 60s, and portraits of Canadians during the Centennial in 1967 - to demonstrate how abstract concepts of nationhood and citizenship, as well as attitudes toward gender, class, linguistic identity, and conceptions of race were reproduced in photographs. The Official Picture looks closely at the work of many Division photographers from staff members Chris Lund and Gar Lunney during the 1940s and 1950s to the expressive documentary photography of Michel Lambeth, Michael Semak, and Pierre Gaudard, in the 1960s and after. The Division also produced a substantial body of Northern imagery documenting Inuit and Native peoples. Payne details how Inuit groups have turned to the archive in recent years in an effort to reaffirm their own cultural identity.

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On Architecture: Melvin Charney, a Critical Anthology - Melvin Charney, ed. Louis Martin. (Montréal, QC: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013).

Melvin Charney (1935-2012) spent his career working on the border between art and architecture. His internationally celebrated art employed a variety of media including photography, montage, painting, sculpture, and temporary and permanent installations, relentlessly pursuing the meaning of architectural images in the age of mass communication. A long career as an educator was punctuated by several high-profile and contentious interventions into debates about architecture and urban life in Montreal. In spite of his renown, few realize that his legacy is also that of a prolific architectural critic.

Beginning in 1962, Charney published essays assessing the state of contemporary architecture. Assembled here for the first time, these texts place Charney among the most original architectural critics of his generation. Broaching topics as diverse as the Trulli houses of Italy, grain elevators, low income housing, and "The Montrealness of Montreal," they show Charney working through a constantly changing set of preoccupations: the value of everyday and vernacular architecture, the liberatory potential of innovations in building materials and technologies, the dangers of elitist and repressive understandings of formalism and architectural monumentality, the necessarily political nature of architecture, the creation of a built environment by and for people, and a socio-cultural understanding of urban architecture.

This volume includes an astonishing visual archive of over three hundred illustrations, many of which served as source material and inspiration for Charney's intellectual and artistic work, and set up a dialogue between his criticism and his landmark projects. Essays from established architectural scholars provide critical assessments of Charney’s body of work as well as new perspectives on many of the key issues he grappled with and that have transformed architecture since the 1960s. A comprehensive and revealing collection, On Architecture presents the extraordinary scope and lasting relevance of one of Canada's leading architectural minds. Contributors include Georges Adamczyk, George Baird, Réjean Legault, and Louis Martin.

   
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Paul-Emile Borduas: A Critical Biography - Francois-Marc Gagnon, trans. Peter Feldstein (Montréal, QC: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013).

From his beginnings as a rural church decorator, to his role as catalyst of the social and artistic manifesto the Refus global, to a career as Canada's pre-eminent practitioner of radical abstraction abroad, Paul-Émile Borduas's short life encompassed the reversals and contradictions of the modern condition.

Drawing on a lifetime of published research, François-Marc Gagnon's comprehensive biography is a far-reaching exploration of a Quebec cultural figure renowned for both his art and his thought. Gagnon details each period of Borduas's dynamic career - his apprenticeship with Ozias Leduc, his teaching in Montreal and the role within the Automatiste group, his move to New York at the height of the Abstract Expressionist movement, and then, against the current of the times, to Paris, where he created the iconic images of his "cosmic" period. Borduas's relentless search for an authentic art often put him at odds with his surroundings. As an avant-garde artist in a Montreal art world bound by tradition, his most important work had to be exhibited in makeshift venues; as a surrealist-influenced francophone in New York, he recognized the importance of the major figures of Abstract Expressionism but maintained an independent style and method. A full appreciation of Borduas's radical stance - an artistic and intellectual orientation that was always towards the universal - transforms a Canadian cultural landscape where the narrative of artistic modernism centres on figurative landscape art.

An original and rigorously researched work, Paul-Émile Borduas: A Critical Biography provides an English-language readership with a much-needed understanding of a seminal modernist, an exemplary figure in Canadian art, and the origins of modern art in North America.

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The Video Art of Sylvia Safdie - Eric Lewis. (Montréal, QC: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013).

The Video Art of Sylvia Safdie brings into focus the complete video oeuvre of a pioneering Canadian artist. Tracing the development of Safdie’s work and its implications for the future of media art, this volume provides a stunning perspective on her videos and sets a new standard for the presentation of video art in book form.

Safdie's principal video works are presented in the form of more than 200 images, selected and arranged to suggest the content, rhythm, and movement of the videos themselves. Alongside the rich illustrations, the book explores Safdie's video art through a thoughtful introduction to the artist and two insightful critical essays. Eric Lewis relates her videos to her works in other media, considers how she poses key questions in the philosophy of art, and addresses issues concerning Jewish art and identity. He discusses the complex relationship between Safdie's video images and the improvised music she often employs as soundtracks. An essay by music scholar and conductor Eleanor Stubley explores the relationship between the body and mind in Safdie’s videos, shedding light on the emotive and sensorial qualities of the breathing body.

A vibrant appeal to both the eye and the mind, The Video Art of Sylvia Safdie showcases an artist at the vanguard of video and intermedia art and demonstrates how her work is representative of the next stage in artistic explorations of time, change, corporeality, and our place in nature.