The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) named Tim Whiten, professor emeritus at York’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) and founding member of the visual arts program, winner of this year’s Gershon Iskowitz Prize.
As the most recent Gershon Iskowitz artist at the AGO, Whiten will receive a $75,000 cash prize and have his works featured in a solo exhibit hosted at the gallery throughout 2025.
The prize, created and funded by the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation, has been awarded via the AGO every year since 1986 to “a professional Canadian visual artist who has achieved maturity… and who is on the verge of using their creative energy to produce a significant body of work, or to continue their research.”
During deliberations, the Gershon Iskowitz Prize jury commended Whiten for the innate quality of his work to go beyond mere physical presentation and offer an ethereal experience to his audience.
Throughout his five-decade career, self-described image-maker Whiten has used everyday objects as foundational materials, the bases of his poignant multimedia projects. Through Whiten’s installations, simple household items such as clothing, furniture, food, tools or dishes are recontextualized and given meaning, often for the purpose of spiritual or metaphysical commentary.
Himself a student of accomplished philosopher Oscar Oppenheimer, Whiten’s style is inspired and informed by his own quandaries, as well as those that so enraptured his mentor and colleague.
Born, raised and educated in Michigan, Whiten eventually attended the University of Oregon, where he received his MFA, before his path towards a teaching practice was interrupted by military service. Whiten then moved to Canada in 1968, becoming a highly respected fine arts pedagogue and instructing at York until his retirement in 2009. During his tenure at the University, Whiten was the recipient of the 1999-2000 Dean’s Teaching Award in what was then the Faculty of Fine Arts.
From North America to Asia and beyond, Whiten’s work has been featured in collections – both public and private – at galleries around the world. In addition to the AGO in Toronto, Whiten is also featured at Canada’s National Gallery in Ottawa.
To learn more about Whiten and the Gershon Iskowitz Prize, click here.