Thursday, March 24, 2016

Eleanor King | Glenfiddich Artist in Residence

On Tuesday night, at an event at the Spoke Club in Toronto, the winner of this year’s Glenfiddich Artists in Residence was announced. Eleanor King, originally based in Halifax but now living in New York, was awarded the prize, valued at $20,000 Canadian at a ceremony hosted by the program’s curator, Andy Fairgrieve.

King has participated in residencies at The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, SOMA Mexico, and The Banff Centre in Alberta, among others. Her work has been exhibited across the country, and she was a national finalist for the Sobey Art Award in 2012. She is represented by Diaz Contemporary in Toronto.

2016 marks the 15th year of the Glenfiddich Artist in Residence program, and the 12th that a Canadian artist has participated. This summer Eleanor will join artists from India, China, Australia, the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

Chosen from over 100 submissions, King’s proposal involves living for three months at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Northern Scotland as though it were the turn of the century. She will disconnect from any technology and information unavailable before 1900. The clothes that she wears, the food that she eats, the books that she reads, will all have been accessible to a woman living over a hundred years ago. King said that the date was not chosen arbitrarily, but that it would allow her to drink 12-year old Scotch at the Distillery, which was founded in 1886.

King spoke about admiring "the ridiculous and unreasonable" nature of Jon Sasaki’s proposal from last year, in which the artist attempted to build and fly an airplane at the site, using only a 1983 copy of Popular Mechanics as his guide. She also stressed that her work is not about nostalgia, or the suggestion that life was better in 1990 (“it almost certainly wasn’t”), but as a way to examine sustainable futures.

"My work takes many forms, and I often try to provide new ways of connecting with the present moment,” she said, “with this project I hope to create an extraordinarily local lifestyle that highlights the historical skills, traditions, materials, and foods, and ultimately gain an understanding of how time becomes "the crucial ingredient" for the cultivation of great works of art and great whiskey alike."

King’s project will ultimately take the form of an artist’s book, documenting her time at the distillery. This will mark the first time one of the participants in the Glenffidich program produced a bookwork as their primary project.

The Glenfiddich AiR Prize has sponsored more than 100 artists since its inception since 2002. Canadian artists include Eleanor King (2015) Jon Sasaki (2015), artistic duo, Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky (2014), Daniel Barrow (2013), Jillian Mcdonald (2012), Helen Cho (2011), Damian Moppett (2010), Arabella Campbell (2009), Jonathon Kaiser (2007), Annie Pootoogook (2006) and Myfanwy Macleod (2005). For more information, visit:

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