Toronto artist Lee Henderson has been chosen by curator Andy Fairgrieve to be this year's 2017 Glenfiddich Artist in Residence. Henderson will travel to Dufftown Scotland in June of this year, where he will live for three months researching local ghost stories and reanimating them electronically. For me, the piece foregrounds the humour that has always been an important part of Henderson's investigations into mortality. And - remembering some of the town residents and Glenfiddich staff from when was there in 2008 - I can imagine them responding very well to this work.
Visit Henderson's site here, the site of his gallerist (Zalucky Contemporary) here, and the Glenfiddich site, here. The full press release is below.
"Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist Lee Henderson has today been announced as the winner of the 2017 Canadian Glenfiddich® Artists in Residence Prize. This summer he will travel to the Glenfiddich® Distillery in Dufftown, Scotland, where he will produce a work that will examine the multiple meanings of the word 'spirit' and "consider whisky as a vehicle for commemoration and an expedient to shared rituals of mourning".
Henderson works in a variety of media, including video, photography, installation, sculpture, and performance, producing elegant investigations into mortality. "But they're typically funny," he says, "…the way that King Lear is funny". During his three-month residency, he will explore past local legends and ghost stories, and then set about re-haunting the spaces electronically.
Henderson is one of only seven artists from around the world awarded the prize, which is one of the most coveted residency prizes in the arts. The selected artists will live and work at the Glenfiddich® distillery in Northern Scotland, near the historic Balvenie Castle.
Celebrating its sixteenth year, the Glenfiddich® Artists in Residence Prize includes travel and living expenses, as well as providing artists with a significant production budget to create and present a new work on-site. Valued at $20,000 per artist, the Residency Prize represents the Glenfiddich® commitment to the arts and the communities it serves.
Andy Fairgrieve, curator of the Glenfiddich® Artists in Residence Prize, shared the news from Dufftown, earlier today. "We are very proud that the Artists in Residence Prize appeals to so many of Canada's leading and emerging artists," he says, noting the high number of applicants this year. Following an Open Call process, a jury of seven Canadian artists and art professionals creates a short list of ten artists, from which Fairgrieve makes the final selection.
In relation to Lee Henderson's residency proposal Fairgrieve says, "Lee's ideas surrounding spirits is of course very apt at Glenfiddich, referencing not only our single malt whisky but the haunting beautiful and historic landscape surrounding the distillery itself. His proposal to create apparitional interventions around Glenfiddich is one I look forward seeing being brought into reality and I am sure will be enjoyed by the Glenfiddich workers and local residents of Dufftown.
Upon learning of his win, Henderson stated, "I'm totally thrilled and honoured, and can't wait to start the project." He will travel to Dufftown in early June. Fairgrieve will be in Toronto this week to meet Henderson in advance of the summer residency.
The Glenfiddich® Artists in Residence Prize has sponsored more than 100 artists since its inception since 2002. Canadian artists include Eleanor King (2016), Jon Sasaki (2015), Rhonda Weppler & Trevor Mahovsky (2014), Daniel Barrow (2013), Jillian Mcdonald (2012), Helen Cho (2011), Damian Moppett (2010), Arabella Campbell (2009), Dave Dyment (2008), Jonathon Kaiser (2007), Annie Pootoogook (2006) and Myfanwy Macleod (2005).
This year's distinguished jury panel included Dr. Sara Diamond, President of OCAD University; Crystal Mowry, Senior Curator at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery; Michelle Jacques, Chief Curator at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; Kristy Trinier, Director of Visual, Digital and Media Arts at the Banff Centre; Ivan Jurakic, Director of the University of Waterloo Art Gallery; Stefan Hancherow, independent curator and Director of the 2015 Feature Art Fair, and the Canadian 2008 Glenfiddich® Artists in Residence Prize recipient, Dave Dyment."