Atlantic - William Robinson

The 2016 Sobey Art Award - William Robinson
William Robinson (Mary Lynk/CBC)

The Sobey Art Award is Canada's pre-eminent award for contemporary Canadian art. The annual prize is given to an artist under age 40, who has exhibited in a public or commercial art gallery within 18 months of being nominated. 

William Robinson lives and works in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His practice includes a variety of media, such as site-specific installations, performance, video, musical composition, sculpture and printed matter. Robinson explores how sound and music can extricate social and historical narratives resting dormant within particular sites and built environments. Currently, he is investigating the material, cultural and sonic transmutation of certain metal objects and their related manufacturing processes. The recipient of a 2016 Canada Council for the Arts Audio Research Grant, he is presenting a solo exhibition, Brutalist Songs, at Galerie Sans Nom in May 2016. 

2016 Sobey Art Award Juror Pan Wendt on William Robinson

"There were many deserving candidates and the selection process was incredibly difficult – in fact, the conversation was still going on during the bus ride back to Halifax. But I think we achieved our goal, which was to choose artists with immense promise at a pivotal point in their careers, and who each reflected the rich variety of approaches to art making in Canada. This is what the Sobey Art Award is for, to provide timely support and recognition for Canadian artists. Choosing the Atlantic finalist was particularly difficult. I was pleased, though, that William Robinson's impressive work was recognized by all of the jurors. His multimedia installations and sonic narratives are often ephemeral and shown at festivals. As a result, Robinson hasn't yet achieved the national recognition he deserves. This will change now, as a wider audience will become aware of his compelling and complex work."

The Art of William Robinson
William Robinson, Brutalist Song I, 2014 mixed media installation (6 inkjets on paper, 2 audio recordings, 2 printed booklets, 1 display table, 2 pairs of headphones, 2 audio players), each print: 92 × 62 cm; each booklet when closed: 27.9 × 21.6 cm Installation view at Confederation Centre Art Gallery Collection of the artist (Adrienna Metzag)

William Robinson, Young Prayer, 2011 mixed media installation (electric guitar, 3 Marshall guitar amps and speakers, guitar patch cord, plywood, concert lighting truss and towers, multiple concert lights, pulley, modified electric winch, electronics), dimensions variable Collection of the artist (Jeff Bierk)

William Robinson, Sun Ship Machine Gun – Metallurgy I, 2015 mixed media installation and performance (saxophonists, video, audio, powder coated aluminum metal tubing and bar, dyed acrylic fabric, acrylic latex paint) dimensions variable Collection of the artist Film still

William Robinson, Liberation Snare, 2014 mixed media installation and performance (percussionists, drum sticks, musical score, notebook, metronome, midi sensor, audio mixer, speakers, wireless transmission device) dimensions variable Collection of the artist (Lenny Mullins)


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