Liz Magor

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Liz Magor
Born 1948 (age 66–67)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Alma mater University of British Columbia
Known for Sculpture, photography

Liz Magor (born 1948 in Winnipeg, Manitoba) is a Canadian visual artist. She received the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in 2009. She received the Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO in 2014.


Magor was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1948. She is currently based in Vancouver. Magor studied at the University of British Columbia from 1966-1968, and Parson’s School of Design in New York from 1968-1970. Subsequently, she completed her diploma at the Vancouver School of Art in 1971.[1] Magor won the sixth annual Audain Prize in 2009 for lifetime achievement in visual art;[2] she was also awarded the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2001.[3] She taught at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver from 2000 to 2013.

Magor's internationally exhibited and produced work usually takes the form of sculpture and photography. Magor’s work has been presented at The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; the Museum of Modern Art, Antwerp, Belgium; the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Marburger Kunstverein, Marburg, Germany; the Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver; The Power Plant, Toronto; and the XLI Biennale di Venezia, Italy.[4]

Art Practice[edit]

LightShed in 2006

Liz Magor works in sculpture, installation, public art and photography. Her sculptural work investigates the ontology of ordinary or familiar objects, which she remakes and presents in new contexts.[5] For example, Magor has created facsimiles of food items and their containers, as well as other objects such as driftwood, logs, tree stumps,and clothing.[6] A studio- and object-oriented artist, Magor’s work emphasizes process and materiality, and highlights the difference the real and the simulated.

In previous work, Magor used mould-making and casting techniques to make replicas of coats, trays and cutlery (which she calls “serviceable objects”) as receptacles for other materials (such as candies or cigarettes).[7] These works reference the accumulation of discarded goods and vices that appeal to our common impulses. They also raise questions about the social and emotional life of objects. Magor’s more recent work involves the repurposing of used clothing and old wool blankets (other types of “serviceable objects”).[8]

In her article entitled Magor's Timeless Transitions, Robin Laurence writes, “Art, Liz Magor says, is the place where our perceptions are opened and examined for prolonged periods of time. Much longer, she suggests, than in our day-to-day encounters with the visual world, where we tend to interpret given signs in fixed ways, and where our first impressions are usually consolidated by our second [impressions]. Magor's art refutes such consolidation: irresolution prevails and closure eludes us. Her sculptures consistently play reality against unreality, meaning against alternative meaning, initial appearance against later revelation.”[9]


  1. ^ “Discover must-known artists from across Canada.” Canadian Art. Accessed June 7, 2013. [1]
  2. ^ ”Vancouver artist Liz Magor wins B.C.’s Audain prize”. CBC News. April 8, 2009. [2]
  3. ^ "2001 Winners". Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  4. ^ Bradley, Jessica.“Liz Magor”.The Canadian Encyclopedia. Accessed June 7, 2013.[3]
  5. ^ Emily Carr University of Art + Design. “Liz Magor – Faculty Bio”. Accessed June 7, 2013. [4]
  6. ^ Brown, Nicholas. “Liz Magor”. Hunter & Cook 04, 2009
  7. ^ Woodley, E.C. “Real Dead Ringers: The Art of Liz Magor”. Border Crossings, Issue 117, March 2011. [5]
  8. ^ Milroy, Sarah. “Liz Magor’s artistic salvage operation”. The Globe and Mail. November 30, 2012 [6]
  9. ^ Robin Laurence. “Magor’s Timeless Transitions”. Georgia Straight, December 16, 2004

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Adler, Dan. "Liz Magor: Susan Hobbs Gallery". Artforum, Summer 2007
  • Arnold, Grant; and Monk, Philip; et al. Liz Magor. Toronto/Vancouver: The Power Plant/Vancouver Art Gallery, 2002
  • Campbell, Deborah. The Outlaw. Canadian Art, Summer 2009, 42-47
  • Dault, Gary Michael. Look closer to grasp Molly’s Reach. The Globe and Mail, 12 March 2005
  • Feinstein, Roni. Report from Toronto: Opening Doors. Art in America, no.11(November 1994), 38-47
  • Gopnik, Blake. ’Flaws’ point to artist’s crucial theme: artificiality. The Globe and Mail, 2 September 2000
  • Heth, Shannon. Wilderness Escape—Liz Magor and Emily Carr. Montecristo, Autumn 2010, 54-5
  • Krajewski, Sara and Jeffries, Bill. Liz Magor: The Mouth and other storage facilities. Seattle/Vancouver: The Henry Gallery/Simon Fraser University Gallery, 2008
  • Lafo, Rachel Rosenfield. The Potency of Ordinary Objects: A Conversation with Liz Magor. Sculpture Magazine, November 2012, 36-41
  • Laurence, Robin. Material Intelligence: The Art of Liz Magor, Border Crossings, vol.22, no.86(2003), 36-41
  • Marshall, Lisa. Liz Magor. Canadian Art, Spring 2013
  • Monk, Philip. Liz Magor, Equinox Gallery. C Magazine, September–November 1999
  • Nicholas, Vanessa. Liz Magor: Blanket Statements. Canadian, posted 5 May 2011
  • Tousley, Nancy. Liz Magor. Canadian Art, 17.1(Spring 2000), 70-74
  • Tousley, Nancy; Hogg, Lucy; and Shier, Reid. Liz Magor. Vancouver/Toronto: Contemporary Art Gallery/Art Gallery of York University, 2000.