News Releases - < 2000
Halifax Video Artist Jan Peacock Wins Bell Canada Award in Video Art
Ottawa, 22 May 1997 - The Canada Council for the Arts and Bell Canada are pleased to announce that the winner of the 1997 Bell Canada Award for outstanding achievement in video art is video artist Jan Peacock. The prize will be presented to the laureate on 12 June 1997 in Banff, as part of the 18th Banff Television Festival.
Carol Bream, Director of Endowment and Prizes at the Canada Council for the Arts, will present the artist with the Canada Council medal, and Norman Simon, Group Vice-President for Bell Canada will present her with a cheque for $10,000. A screening of a selection of works by Jan Peacock will follow the presentation.
In 1990, continuing its tradition of patronage of the arts, Bell Canada provided the Canada Council with a gift which was used to create the Bell Canada Award in Video Art. The $10,000 prize is awarded annually for exceptional contribution by a video artist or artists to the advancement of video art in Canada and to the development of video languages and practices (videotapes or installations). Past winners of the award are Robert Morin and Lorraine Dufour, of Montreal (1991), Paul Wong, of Vancouver (1992), Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak, of Toronto (1993), Zacharias Kunuk and Norm Cohn, of Igloolik, NWT (1994), Sara Diamond, Banff (1995) and Colin Campbell of Toronto (1996).
Jan Peacock was selected as this year's winner by a jury of professional video artists. The jury members were Renée Baert, Louis Bélanger, David Findlay, Shani Mootoo and Ariella Pahlke. Seven artists were nominated for the prize by a panel of critics and curators comprising Zachery Longboy, Janine Marchessault and Christina Ritchie.
Media representatives are invited to attend the ceremony and screening.
Thursday, 12 June 1997, 12:00 to 2:00 pm
Banff Springs Hotel, Alhambra Room
For more information on the Bell Canada Award in Video Art, contact Bruno Jean, Officer, Endowment and Prizes, at 1-800-263-5588, ext. 4116, or at (613) 566-4414, ext. 4116.
Jan Peacock was born in Barrie, Ontario in 1955. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Western Ontario in 1978 and an M.F.A. from the University of California at San Diego in 1981. Since 1980 her work, both single-channel videotapes and video installations, has been shown extensively throughout North America and internationally and has received a variety of important awards. It has been included in numerous important group exhibitions, including New Canadian Narrative at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; Festival Video Art Plastique (Hérouville, France, 1996); Perspective 95 (Art Gallery of Ontario, 1995); Circonvolutions (Museo Carillo Gil, Mexico City, 1995); World Wide Video Festival (Den Haag, Netherlands, 1991 and 1994); 4x4: Video from Japan, Holland, Brazil and Canada (Galeria Imagine, Rome, 1991); Infermental 10 (Osnabruck, Germany, 1990); Mediawerks (Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany, 1990); Biennial of Contemporary Canadian Art (National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1989); Interior Presence: Projecting Situation (The Nickle Arts Museum, Calgary, 1989); and Fukui International Video Biennial (Fukui, Japan, 1988) . Recent solo shows include Reader by the Window at Presentation House Gallery in Vancouver and at YYZ Artists Outlet in Toronto; Selected Works at Galerie Oboro, Montreal; WHITEWASH (which won the Silver Plaque Award for Experimental Video at the Chicago International Film and Video Festival, and a special media critique award at the Atlanta Film/Video Festival), at YYZ; and shows at the MacDonald Steward Art Centre, Guelph; Centre for Art Tapes, Halifax; A Space Gallery, Toronto; and 49th Parallel Centre for Canadian Art in New York.
In addition to her work as an artist, Peacock has curated well-crafted and scholarly exhibitions for Canadian galleries and museums, including the critically praised Corpus Loquendi: Body for Speaking for the Dalhousie Art Gallery and national tour. She has been teaching video production and theory and history of video at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design since 1982, where she is Associate Professor in the Fine and Media Arts Department. As well, she regularly conducts workshops and lectures throughout the country.
Jan Peacock's work takes its primary impulse from a sense of the materiality of language, which she then manoeuvers through the poetics and politics of memory. To this end her work has explored a great variety of narrative forms both written and oral, subtly effecting mutations of those forms through an insistent visualization of speech and text. This is achieved through a scrupulous method of weaving and layering visual and aural sources that are part diary, part home video, part elaborate studio constructions. The resulting works are both intimate and seemingly inevitable. But underlying the elusive tales there is a commingling of personal history with historical awareness which brings about a recognition of the conditions of living - of communication and perception - at this particular intersection of technology and human consciousness.
Her installation work Reader by the Window draws on a personal archive of video landscape walks recorded over a six-year period in Canada, Japan, France, the U.K. and the U.S. This evocative work explores the common experience of "the familiar" in unfamiliar places, where, as she explains, "the boundaries of our identities blur into our surroundings and the strange becomes recognizably our own." The work consists of a darkened room with a large video projection of fleeting, intriguing travel images and a complex soundtrack, as well as a video-book in which the viewer can sit and watch the pages' images and texts transform. The work is about mobility, information intake and memory.
The focus and precision of Peacock's artistic insights and the superb formal qualities of her works are outstanding. For these reasons, she is an eminently worthy winner of the Bell Canada Award.