Meat Dress Sculptor wins Governor-General’s Award

A Montreal sculptor and performance artist who caused a sensation with her meat dress – – no, not the one Lady Gaga wore — has been honored with a 2012 Governor General’s award, Canada’s highest recognition for the visual and media arts.

Jana Sterbak’s dresses made from raw flank steak, including Vanitas: Flesh Dress for an Albino Anorectic, (above, courtesy Walker Art Centre) caused a stir when they were exhibited at the National Gallery of Canada in 1991. Sterbak, one of eight recipients named for an award today, is an internationally known sculptor, video and performance artist who explores the human form and sexuality. (Lady Gaga image: Wikipedia)

The other recipients haven’t received as much traffic on Twitter and other social media since the announcements earlier today, but their contributions to the Canadian art scene are significant.

Some of the highlights:

Ron Martin, Toronto: An abstract painter who represented Canada at the Venice Art Biennale in 1978, began his career in London, Ontario, where he was influenced by colleagues such as Greg Curnoe. (Left: To Foil Oils, Phase III, 1997, Winsor & Newton oils on canvas, 76.2 x 55.9 cm. Photo: courtesy of Christopher Cutts Gallery).  Short bio here.


Geoffrey James, Toronto: A photographer known for his images of parks and gardens, who also has created essays on subjects such as the asbestos-mining landscape of Quebec and the urban landscapes of Toronto and Paris. (Left: Rue Charlemagne, Paris, 2000, National Gallery of Canada).


Royden Rabinowitch, Waterloo, Ont.: A sculptor who also works in Ghent, Belgium, and Cambridge, England. His sculptures reflect his thinking on modern physics and ontology, a branch of metaphysics concerned with the nature and relations of being. (Left: Colored Conics)


Charles Lewton-Brain, Calgary, Alberta: An artist, goldsmith and educator at the Alberta College of Art and Design who has invented new techniques for jewelry-making and written extensively about pushing metalwork to its limit. (Left: Pin, sterling, 18 k gold doublee, 24k gold, moonstones, 12 cm long)

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