Winnipeg native Daniel Barrow is the 2010 winner of the $50,000 Sobey Art Award, given annually by a jury to the Canadian it considers the best visual artist in the country under 40 years of age.
Mr. Barrow, 39, prevailed over four other finalists Thursday evening at an awards ceremony at the Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal. Each of the runners-up received $5,000 from the Sobey Art Foundation, which created the award in 2002 to heighten awareness of contemporary art and younger Canadian artists. To be considered for the award, an artist has to have shown work in a public or commercial gallery within 18 months of his or her nomination.
It was Mr. Barrow's second try for the Sobey, having been short-listed in 2008. In a release, the five-member jury described Mr. Barrow as its "unanimous choice. Over the past 15 years [he]has created a unique, self-sustaining fictional world composed of drawing, storytelling and manual animation of the antiquated technology of the overhead projector . . . Wry, politically astute and strangely heartbreaking, his comic narratives address love, loss, gender and media culture."
The Sobey divides its nominees by geographical region. This year Mr. Barrow, who's now based in Montreal, was the representative from the Prairies and the North. Kamloops' Brendan Lee Satish Tang was the B.C./Yukon finalist while collaborators Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby, both graduates of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, represented Atlantic Canada, Montreal's Patrick Bernatchez Quebec and Torontonian Brendan Fernandes Ontario.
The five finalists were chosen from a long list of 25 announced last April. Works by Mr. Barrow and his four competitors are on view at the Musee d'art contemporain in Montreal through Jan. 4, 2011.