2015 List of nominated titles for the Melva J. Dwyer Award / Liste des publications en nomination pour le Prix Melva J. Dwyer.



The 2015 Melva J. Dwyer Award, recognizing excellence in a reference or research publication focused on Canadian art or architecture, will be awarded at the 2015 ARLIS/NA Conference convocation ceremony on March 22, in Fort Worth, TX (details http://sched.co/27g0). 

Charles Edenshaw. Robin K. Wright, Daina Augaitis, and Jim Hart, eds.    (Vancouver and London:   Vancouver Art Gallery and Black Dog Publishing, 2013).  

“Much of the survival of the rich Northwest Coast artistic tradition and its current success is due, in large part, to the work of Haida master carver Charles Edenshaw. This iconic figure not only reclaimed and preserved the visual language of a Northwest coast aesthetic vision, but helped adapt it to our modern world through his exploration of new forms.    Charles Edenshaw is the first survey of this iconic figure in Northwest Coast art, produced in collaboration with the Vancouver Art Gallery to coincide with a landmark exhibition of Edenshaw’s work. With over 200 creations produced from argillite, wood and silver, the exhibition is a tribute to Edenshaw’s adept ability to powerfully translate a cultural voice through a wide range of differing mediums.”  (from the nomination)


Product DetailsDouglas Coupland:  everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything.  Daina Augaitis, ed.   (Vancouver and London:  Vancouver Art Gallery and Black Dog Publishing, 2014).

“Douglas Coupland has been widely recognized as the writer who has captured the angst of the generation that he named “X”.  He is also an accomplished and thoughtful visual artist, and this exhibition and the catalogue that accompanies it documents this.  The exhibition catalogue is beautifully photographed and lavishly illustrated.  The book features specially commissioned texts by Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Chuck Klosterman and Michael Stipe, amongst others.” (from the nomination)



Product DetailsEvery Object Has a Story: Extraordinary Canadians Celebrate the Royal Ontario Museum.  Anita Rau Badami et al.   (Toronto:  House of Anansi Press, 2014).

“While Every Object Tells a Story is not a scholarly work per se, the quality of images and information produced here make it an exceptional contribution to the fields of Canadian art and art history. …In this book, beautiful photographs of objects in the Royal Ontario Museum’s collection are paired with detailed introductions by curators and followed by original written pieces from some of Canada’s most celebrated authors and artists, Austin Clarke and Joseph Boyden among them. This union of original work, research, and images of the highest quality make this book an unusual yet invaluable contribution to Canada’s artistic heritage.”  (from the nomination)


Product DetailsFrom Realism to Abstraction: The Art of J. B. Taylor.  Adriana A. Davies.  (Calgary:  University of Calgary Press,  2014).

“This book describes J. B. Taylor’s life and art and places his work in the context of Albertan and Canadian art history. It is based on extensive primary research including some oral histories as well as examination of papers belonging to the family….It is both a biography and critical analysis of Taylor’s unique work and his place in the Canadian artistic tradition.  Filled with images of his work and photographs of his life as an artist and teacher, this book is the first to focus completely on J. B. Taylor, his importance to the western Canadian artistic communities, and his role in the transition to a more abstract representation and formation of a new aesthetic of the wilderness based on the mountains of the West.” (from the nomination)



Product DetailsHarold Town.  Iris Nowell.  (Vancouver:  Figure 1, 2014).

“A member of Painters Eleven, the artists who introduced Abstract Expressionism to Canada in 1953, Town gained his first international recognition for his technically inventive Single Autographic Prints shown at the 1956 Venice Biennale.  Alfred Barr, director of the Museum of Modern Art, called Town one of the world’s greatest printmakers.  Also a stylish writer and an erudite critic, Town experimented in countless drawing and painting themes, to the extent that his solo shows looked like group exhibitions. His bold, majestic paintings are as powerful as his refined pencil drawings. Just months before his death in 1990 he created a suite of portraits of jazz musicians, as accomplished as an artist at the height of his talent…. Iris Nowell presents a fascinating chronicle of this larger-than-life artist. Her text is accompanied by one hundred stunning reproductions of Town’s work from the numerous phases of his epic career.” (from the nomination)

Product DetailsJock Macdonald:  Evolving Form.   Michelle Jacques, Linda Jansma and Ian M. Thom, eds.   (Vancouver and London:  Vancouver Art Gallery and Black Dog Publishing, 2014).

Macdonald came to British Columbia to teach design at the Vancouver School of Art in 1926 and went on to become an important influence in the history of painting in Canada.  He was a member of the Painters Eleven and a pioneer abstract painter…. This catalogue is released to accompany the new retrospective exhibition organized by the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery and the Vancouver Art Gallery.  This is the first major publication about this artist since 1981 [and] contains new scholarship about this important Canadian painter….contains a facsimile of an important archival document, Macdonald’s diary that he kept during his time living in Nootka. “  (from the nomination)


Product DetailsLandscape Architecture in Canada.  Ron Williams.  (Montreal :  McGill-Queen's University Press, 2014).

“The aim of the book is to provide a single-volume overview of the development of the “designed landscape” in Canada.  The subject is defined broadly, and includes many cultural landscapes as well as those conceived by known designers.  As yet there is no publication which exams the full range of projects, ideas and people that animate and have created the landscape architecture of Canada….using a selection of appropriate examples from each period, movement, or tend, …from the little known but extensive interventions of the First Nations to the complex creations of today….This book fills gaps both as a source of historical context for practitioners in whose discipline history takes a back seat to practice and as a Canadian voice sorely lacking in other broad histories on the topic.” (from the nomination)


Product DetailsMaking Toronto Modern:  Architecture and Design, 1895-1975.  Christopher Armstrong.   (Montreal :  McGill-Queen's University Press, 2014).

“This is an accessible, narrative history about the coming of modern architecture and modern ideas about architecture to the somewhat resistant city of Toronto.  Armstrong’s background is urban and business history and the result is a refreshing wide-ranging treatment of the circumstances of the construction of some now iconic public buildings, university commissions, commercial buildings, and a range of residential architecture.  With special emphasis on the buildings themselves, particularly his excellent study of the origins and execution of the new city hall, Armstrong shows how and why modernist architecture became critical to understanding how Torontonians came to see themselves as living in a world-class city attuned to the avant-garde.” (from the nomination)


Product DetailsMiracle at the Forks. Peter C. Newman and Allan Levine.   (Vancouver:  Figure 1, 2014).

“It was on July 18, 2000 that Israel (Izzy) Asper, the renowned Canadian businessman and philanthropist, first discussed his idea of building a human rights centre in Winnipeg. … Miracle at the Forks recounts the fourteen-year ordeal of making Izzy Asper’s dream a reality…. Written by acclaimed non-fiction writers, Peter C. Newman and Allan Levine, Miracle at the Forks also tells the story of the building of the museum itself, of the international competition to find an architect to design the building, and of Antoine Predock, one of the finest architects in the world who dared build a museum that is as remarkable in its construct as Izzy Asper’s dream was in its audacity.  Filled with full colour photography and exquisitely designed, this book will mark the official opening of The Canadian Museum for Human Rights onSeptember 20, 2014.” (from the nomination)


Product DetailsNegotiations in a Vacant Lot: Studying the Visual in Canada.   Lynda Jessup, Erin Morton and Kirsty Robertson, eds.   (Montreal :  McGill-Queen's University Press, 2014).

“At a moment in which the discipline of Canadian art history seems to be in flux, and in which the study of visual culture produced in Canada is gaining traction in a number of interdisciplinary venues outside of art history departments, we ask:  what is at stake in the creation, replication and dissemination of Canadian art history?  The collection brings together the work of a number of scholars drawing on different experiences and representing diverse disciplinary backgrounds.  The end result is a series of essays that unsettle the ways in which ‘nation’ has been used as a construct in a variety of situations and undertaking pertinent to the study of art and culture.” (from the nomination)


Product DetailsNorval Morrisseau:  Man Changing into Thunderbird.   Armand Garnet Ruffo.   (Madeira Park, BC:  Douglas & McIntyre, 2014).

“The first most extensive account of Norval Morrisseau, one of Canada’s most influential and acclaimed artists. Written by Ojibway poet and scholar, Armand Ruffo, and based around interviews with experts including Morrisseau himself,  the book provides a rich, complex interpretation of the artist’s life and works….Making this book a key text in Canadian art literature is Ruffo’s own insight into the iconography of Morrisseau’s work, and how it relates to Canadian art and 20th century culture, as seen through the author and artist’s shared Ojibway heritage….It is a book that not only explores with great sensitivity and refinement the complex – and often maligned – personality of a great artist, but also provides highly original, insightful commentary on contemporary First Nations art that has shaped our country and cultural landscape.” (from the nomination)

Product DetailsSister & I in Alaska.  Emily Carr.  (Vancouver:  Figure 1, 2014.)

“Emily Carr…was a Canadian artist and writer heavily inspired by the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. One of the first painters in Canada to adopt a modernist and post-impressionist painting style, Carr did not receive widespread recognition for her work until later in her life. As she matured, the subject matter of her painting shifted from aboriginal themes to landscapes, and in particular, forest scenes. As a writer, Carr was one of the earliest chroniclers of life in British Columbia.”  (from the nomination)



Product DetailsSusan Point: Works on Paper.  Susan Point, Gary Wyatt and Dale Croes. (Vancouver:  Figure 1, 2014).

“Over the past thirty years Susan Point has become the preeminent Coast Salish artist of her generation, exploring many different modern and traditional themes in a wide variety of media. She has received major public commissions in her home province of British Columbia as well as throughout the Northwest coast, the traditional territory of her people, creating extraordinary monumental sculptures that grace important public buildings….This is the first book devoted exclusively to her works on paper.  Point has been an innovator in printmaking, adapting traditional Coast Salish themes to modern art techniques, translating the heritage of her culture to the wider world while creating a body of work that appeals to art collectors from around the globe….This beautifully designed volume collects 160 of her prints together for the first time and is sure to inspire and amaze those who see it. “ (from the nomination)


Product Details

Visibly Canadian:  Imaging Collective Identities in the Canadas, 1820-1910.
Karen Stanworth.  (Montreal :  McGill-Queen's University Press, 2014).

“These nine case studies, representing key moments of identity formation and contestation, demonstrate how visual culture contributes to the formation and articulation of complex discourses of citizenry, propriety, and collective identities.  By foregrounding methodology, Stanworth’s study itself become an object lesson to the ways in which archives can shape the research object….Stanworth’s innovative ‘Archival Notes’, gives readers a glimpse into the research process and the ways in which archival evidence serves to challenge the research subject.” (from the nomination)