University of Ottawa professor wins 2019 Karsh Award

The winner of the City of Ottawa’s 2019 Karsh Award is Andrew Wright.

Wright, who is an associate professor of visual arts and the acting chair of the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Ottawa, was chosen by a jury  made up of the associate curator of Photographs at the National Gallery of Canada, Lori Pauli, past Karsh Award laureate Michael Schreier, and Franco-Ontarian photographer Geneviève Thauvette.

Andrew Wright, Portrait with Mirror, 2019. Courtesy City of Ottawa

In a media release, the jury said of Wright’s work:

“For 25 years, Wright has been making significant contributions, as an artist and art educator, to art communities in Ottawa, Canada and abroad. His inquisitive approach to art-making has resulted in an impressive and eclectic body of work that often combines playfulness with more serious meditations on perception and the technological underpinnings of both historical and contemporary image-making processes.”

Wright has been nominated for the Karsh Award before, in 2010 and 2012, and has been nominated six times for the Sobey Art Award. He was a semi-finalist for the prize in 2007. In 2011, he won the Gattuso Prize at the CONTACT Photography Festival in Toronto. Wright has been an Ottawa resident since 2008.

Andrew Wright, Disused Twin Brownie Hawkeye Cameras (detail), 2015, silvered objects and custom plinth, 33 x 33 x 152 cm, courtesy of the artist.

His work has been exhibited internationally and nationally including at London Gallery West, Today Art Museum in Beijing, the former Presentation House Gallery in Vancouver and the Ottawa Art Gallery. His work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian High Commission in London and the Xi’an Art Museum in China.

The Karsh-Masson Gallery will host an exhibit of Wright’s work from Jan. 23 to Feb. 23, 2020.

The Karsh Award was established in 2003 to honour Yousuf and Malak Karsh. The $7,500 prize is presented to an Ottawa artist for outstanding work in a photo-based medium.  

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.