The award, which includes a $50,000 cash prize and a solo exhibition at the AGO in 2017, is presented annually to an artist who has made an outstanding contribution to the visual arts in Canada.
Born in Baltimore in 1953, Meigs studied at the Rhode Island School of Design. She moved to Canada in 1973, earning a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1975 followed by a Master's degree from Dalhousie University in 1980. She has taught for the past 23 years in the Visual Arts Department of the University of Victoria.
“Sandra Meigs is an innovative contributor to the Canadian art world, and her unique vision has rightfully earned her a space on the international stage,” Stephanie Smith, the AGO's chief curator, said in a press release. “Primarily a painter — and one with an exquisite touch — Meigs makes vivid, playful, and inventive works that challenge and delight. The AGO is pleased to collaborate with the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation to present this prize to an extraordinary Canadian artist, and we welcome the opportunity to display an exhibition of her work in the future.”
The Gershon Iskowitz Foundation was created 20 years ago by the painter Iskowitz in recognition of the importance of grants to Canadian artists. Past recipients of the prize include Gathie Falk, General Idea, Stan Douglas, Rodney Graham, and Liz Magor.
The 2015 prize jurors included artist Kim Adams; Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal curator Lesley Johnstone; collector Jay Smith; and curator/critic Sarah Milroy. Milroy and Smith are both trustees of the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation.
This is the second significant award Meigs has received in 2015; earlier this year she was named one of eight recipients of the Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts. Her extensive exhibition history includes over 40 solo and 60 group exhibitions in Canada and abroad. Meigs has been represented by the Susan Hobbs Gallery in Toronto since 1993.