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Top national prize for U of G grad

A new University of Guelph graduate has won the top prize of $10,000 in a national art competition for a photographic print he created.
Samuel de Lange, left, who graduated this year with a BA in studio art, was among 272 undergrad students from across Canada who each submitted one piece in the 12th annual BMO 1st Art! Invitational Student Art Competition. A jury of deans and instructors of arts programs from across the country picked his as the top entry.
Titled PVTREFACTIO IV (Black Sun), at left, De Lange’s entry was “not a photograph in the traditional sense,” he said in a U of G news release.
Rather, “it is a large-scale monochromatic abstract print made using an expired stock of peel-apart Polaroid film,” he said. “Because the film stock was so old, the negative continually developed. When scanned at a high resolution and enlarged, the images revealed minute traces of growth and decay that spoke to a not-so-distant photographic history.”
Lange credits his professors with giving him the skills to succeed.
“Before arriving at University of Guelph, I had a solid technical base in photography but little understanding of the conceptual development involved in creating compelling work; my professors helped me understand all that goes into this,” he said.
“Now, I’m comfortable taking a multidisciplinary approach to my practice, and I understand what it means to exhibit photo-based artwork in a world that is increasingly saturated with images.”
Prof. Susan Dobson of the School of Fine Art and Music chose de Lange as one of three U of G contest entries.
“Sam is a remarkable artist, a gifted researcher and a hard worker; he is deserving of the award and I am proud of his achievement,” she said in the release. “Over time he has found innovative ways to merge his interests in photographic theory, historic techniques and digital technology.”
De Lange, who is now participating in a residency at YYZ Artists’ Outlet in Toronto, hopes to use the prize to build his career and showcase his work. He is considering using some of the money to buy equipment or to work and exhibit in Europe, the release said.
“I’m also starting to think about some graduate programs that might be a good fit for me,” he said.
The piece that won is part of an ongoing series of about 20 images, and he said he hopes the attention from winning will open up opportunities to exhibit more works from the series.

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