Photo above: Horse of Oblivion, 2018, Photogram on fibre paper, 46 x 55.6 cm. ©Shannon Bool, Private Collection, Toronto and Daniel Faria Gallery.

The shortlist for the 2022 Scotiabank Photography Award — comprised of all women — includes a Toronto-based artist who is continually defining new ways of seeing our world; a native of Comox, BC, who uses the medium of photography to examine the meaning of the gaze; and a Korean-born Vancouver-based artist who tackles the narrative of nation and inclusion.

The annual award, Canada’s largest and most prestigious peer-nominated prize for lens-based art, celebrates the creative vision and accomplishments of contemporary lens-based artists. The winner, to be announced this spring, receives $50,000 in cash, a solo Primary Exhibition at the 2023 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, and a book of their artwork published and distributed worldwide by Steidl of Germany. The two finalists take home $10,000 each.

A jury of pre-eminent members of the Canadian arts community — Edward Burtynsky, artist and jury chair; Sophie Hackett, Curator, Photography at the Art Gallery of Ontario; Dr. Kenneth Montague, art collector and curator; and Gaëlle Morel, Exhibition Curator at the Ryerson Image Centre — selected the finalists and will decide the winner.

The finalists

Barbara Astman

Photos from left: Barbara Astman, Garrison McArthur Photographers; Portraits and Conversations with Empty Vessels_312, 2016-2019, Unique Analogue color photogram print,35.56 x 35.56 cm. ©Astman, Collection of the artist

Barbara Astman: Over four decades, Toronto-based Astman, who is Professor Emerita at OCAD University, has explored a wide range of photo-based media in her search to understand the conceptual and material potential and limits of photography. Her works, which have received national and international recognition, address the urgent issues of our times as well as her personal narrative as a woman and artist.

“Astman has pushed and extended the limits of the photographic print in her commitment to surprisingly and deliberately low-tech methods — pioneering work with colour Xerography collages, typing into wet Polaroid emulsion, lifting newspaper ink with packing tape, or using bottles and lint swaths as negatives in the colour darkroom,” said Georgiana Uhlyarik, Curator of Canadian Art, AGO and Astman’s nominator.

Astman’s work includes several public art commissions, including the Murano on Bay in Toronto comprised of 217 windows with photo-based imagery (2010), an installation for the Canadian Embassy in Berlin, Germany (2005) and one for the Calgary Winter Olympics (1987). She has had numerous solo exhibitions and is represented in important public, corporate and private collections including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Her artist’s archives are held in the E.P. Taylor Research Library & Archives, AGO.

Shannon Bool

Photos from left: Shannon Bool; Dead Ringers, 2019, Jacquard tapestry, embroidery, 460 x 712 cm. ©Shannon Bool, the Park Hyatt Toronto and Daniel Faria Gallery.

Shannon Bool: The Comox, BC-native — who has been living in Germany since 2001, where she is a professor of Painting at Academy of Fine Arts in Mainz — more recently has focused her photography-based works on what she calls the gaze, or rather, her gaze. Much of her work involves critiquing Modernism, particularly as it pertains to architecture and the portrait of the feminine body.

“Shannon Bool examines the meaning of the gaze and, as such, epitomizes the importance of considering the everlasting potential of hybrid images to tell new stories, challenge predominant narratives, while investigating what is deeply inherent in our stream of consciousness. Through sometimes unexpected material and visual investigations, she probes us to look more deeply and continuously,” said Daisy Desrosiers Director, Curator, Gund Gallery and Bool’s nominator.

Bool’s works can be found in the collections of Kunstmuseum Bonn, Metropolitan Museum New York, the Stuttgart-based LBBW Collection, Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt, Collection of the Federal Estate of Germany, Lenbachhaus Munich and The National Gallery of Canada. Recent solo exhibitions have been at Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston (2020), The Kunstverein Braunschweig (2019), Centre Culturel Canadien in Paris (2019), and Musée Joliette Canada (2018). 

Jin-me Yoon

Photos from left: Jin-me Yoon; Pacific Flyways: Work in Progress, 2022, inkjet print mounted on aluminium, 22” diameter. ©Jin-me Yoon.

Jin-me Yoon: The Vancouver-based artist was born in Seoul, South Korea and emigrated to Canada with her parents in 1968. Her work is an extension of her experience as an immigrant growing up in Canada. Using subtle humour and irony, Yoon tackles the notion of nation and inclusion.

Yoon’s recently completed project, Pacific Flyways, Long Time So Long, was shot at industrial sites that have become bird conservation areas. One of the works — Pacific Flyways (A Group for 2067) — was a direct response to A Group of Sixty-Seven and includes 18 video and photographic portraits of Korean youth depicted as diasporic subjects in flight, tied to a past and a present, and entangled in cultures, ecologies and geo-politics in an interconnected world. 

“At a moment of renegotiation of the relationship between human and land — marked by histories of colonialism, migration and displacement, and the threat of environmental catastrophe — Jin-me Yoon stands out as a particularly prescient and perceptive Canadian artist who has responded brilliantly and imaginatively to a set of problems with global resonance,” said Pan Wendt, Curator of Confederation Centre of the Arts and Yoon’s nominator.

Yoon is a Professor at Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts. Her work has been exhibited extensively nationally and internationally.