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RBC Canadian Painting Competition

Since 1999, the RBC Canadian Painting Competition, with the support of the Canadian Art Foundation, has been a unique initiative that helps bridge the gap from emerging to established artists. The RBC Canadian Painting Competition is RBC’s cornerstone RBC Emerging Artists Project property which focuses on supporting artists at the early stage of their careers. More than just financial support, this program offers mentorship, exposure to audiences and more.

Three regional juries comprised of experienced gallery directors, artists, curators and industry leaders select five paintings from their regions to make up the fifteen finalists, ensuring a true representation of visual artists from across the country.

Eastern Canada (Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, Newfoundland and Labrador),
Central Canada (Ontario),
Western Canada (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut).

The three juries convene for a two day deliberation where they determine one national winner and two honourable mentions from the 15 finalists. The national winner receives a purchase prize of $25,000, the two honourable mentions each receive $15,000 and the remaining 12 finalists receive $2,500 each.

The top three works become part of the RBC Corporate Art Collection which holds more than 4,500 works of art collected over the past century.

 

 

The 2017 RBC Canadian Painting Competition Finalists

To all the artists who submitted their work, thank you for your interest, passion and creativity. We are proud to announce the 15 finalists in this year’s competition: Michael Freeman Badour, Amanda Boulos, Teto Elsiddique, Cindy Ji Hye Kim, David Kaarsemaker, Wei Li, Laura Payne, Veronika Pausova, Laura Rokas-Bérubé, M.E Sparks, Kizi Spielmann Rose, Angela Teng, Joani Tremblay, Tristan Unrau and Ambera Wellmann. The winners will be announced on October 17th 2017 at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

 

 

View the finalists and previous winners:

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Brian Hunter

National Winner

Brian Hunter
Winnipeg, MB
Two empty trays mounted vertically, 2015
Oil on wood
36 x 48 inches

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Nika Fontaine

Honourable Mention

Nika Fontaine
Berlin, DE
Schnell Schnell 17, 2015
Glitter on canvas
60 x 48 inches

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Cameron Forbes

Honourable Mention

Cameron Forbes
Saskatoon, SK
Maritime Plaza Hotel, Window Set 2, 2016
Acrylic on board
14 x 19 inches

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Michael Freman Badoure

Michael Freeman Badour
Patrick's Boots, 2017
Oil on muslin
48 x 36 inches

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Amanda Boulos

Amanda Boulos
Duckie Wants Water, 2017
Oil on panel
28 x 25 inches

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Teto Elsiddique

Teto Elsiddique
neckrings, a breezy thing, 2017
Acrylic on canvas
60 x 48 inches

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Cindy Ji Hye Kim

Cindy Ji Hye Kim
Conspiracy Theory, 2017
Acrylic, ink, pastel and oil on canvas
68 x 62 inches

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David Kaarsemaker

David Kaarsemaker
Portage 1, 2017
Oil and acrylic on canvas
24 x 32 inches

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Wei Li

Wei Li
Obsessiveness and excitement, never growing out of them, 2017
Oil and acrylic on canvas
40 x 60 inches

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Laura Payne

Laura Payne
Enneadec II, 2017
Acrylic on panel
18 x 18 inches

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Veronika Pausova

Veronika Pausova
Typography, 2017
Oil on canvas
20 x 18 inches

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Laura Rokas-Bérubé

Laura Rokas-Bérubé
Paint by Number 7, 2017
Oil on canvas
36 x 28 inches

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M.E. Sparks

M.E. Sparks
Hollow Dog, 2017
Oil on canvas
59 x 47 inches

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Kizi Spielmann Rose

Kizi Spielmann Rose
Sun and a Tide Pool, 2017
Acrylic, oil pastel and oil stick on panel
24 x 30 inches

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Angela Teng

Angela Teng
Line Dance (Pink and Black for Mary Heilmann), 2016
Crocheted acrylic paint on aluminum panel
21 x 17 inches

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Joani Tremblay

Joani Tremblay
The Lure of the Local Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society, 2017
Oil on canvas
44 x 36 inches

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Tristan Unrau

Tristan Unrau
Nun, After Pasolini, 2017
Oil on Canvas
29 x 36 inches

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Ambera Wellmann

Ambera Wellmann
Temper Ripened, 2017
Oil on wood
39 x 35 inches

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Patrick Cruz

National Winner

Patrick Cruz
Guelph (Ontario)
Time allergy, 2015
Acrylic on canvas
20 x 24 inches

Hangama Amiri

Honourable Mention

Hangama Amiri
Halifax, NS
Island of Dreams, 2015
Ink, acrylic, silkscreen on panel
36 x 36 inches

Claire Scherzinger

Honourable Mention

Claire Scherzinger
Toronto (Ontario)
My Contribution To The Many Paintings Of Pots And Plants, 2015
Graphite liquid and powdered, oil paint and linen on panel
24 x 18 inches

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Tiziana La Melia

National Winner

Tiziana La Melia
Vancouver, BC
Hanging on to the part, 2014
Oil on panel
42 x 25 inches

Nicolas Lachance

Honourable Mention

Nicolas Lachance
Montreal, QC
index no. 3 The book of Empathy, 2014
Gesso and acrylic on canvas on MDF
28 x 24 inches

Ufuk Gueray

Honourable Mention

Ufuk Gueray
Winnipeg, MB
Market, 2014
Oil and acrylic on canvas
68 x 54 inches

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Colleen Heslin

National Winner

Colleen Heslin
Vancouver, BC
Almost young, wild and free, 2013
Ink, dye and acrylic on cotton
72 x 48 inches

Colin Muir Dorward

Honourable Mention

Colin Muir Dorward
Ottawa, ON
Labyrinthineon, 2012
Oil on canvas
63 x 55 inches

Neil Harrison

Honourable Mention

Neil Harrison
Toronto, ON
Fig.13 Knowledge, 2013
Oil on linen
70 x 48 inches

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Michael Freeman Badour

Michael Freeman Badour

Michael Freeman Badour graduated from OCAD University in 2014 with a BFA in painting and a minor in digital media. He is interested in the ways representation functions as a tool for understanding and his painting practice breaks away from individual stylistic obedience. He is interested in the many ways systems of communication can be represented and the biases and misunderstanding each method of representation holds – from language scripts to information technologies to modes of transportation, such as cars or boots, as well as formal strategies in painting, such as line, colour, and shape. Patrick’s Boots is inspired by a photograph of his brother’s childhood boots, as well as by Van Gogh’s paintings of his own boots. “I believe that a pair of old boots is a great symbol of past communication between one man and the world,” he writes, “and a symbol for how the world and it's objects come into one’s existence.”
Amanda Boulos

Amanda Boulos

Amanda Boulos recently graduated from the MFA program at the University of Guelph and received her BFA from York University. Her goal is to produce a body of work that speaks to how Palestinian misplacement and nomadism is represented in contemporary visual culture. She is attracted in particular to the broken narratives found in oral Palestinian archives, and her paintings combine the experiences of both trauma and transformation. By extracting fragmented and dislocated narratives from oral archives, she is able to visually reproduce and preserve their incomplete forms. By depicting the figures, landscapes, and objects she uncovers in a state of metamorphosis, she transforms them into surreal, unstable retellings of historical and contemporary Palestinian experiences. “My work emphasizes the complicated, diverse and ever-changing nature of Palestinian history and identity,” she writes. “I believe that painting provides a plural space with the flexibility to intervene in conversations about Middle Eastern politics, Palestinian identities and the diaspora.”
Teto Elsiddique

Teto Elsiddique

Teto Elsiddique is a 2016 graduate of the MFA program in Painting and Printmaking at Yale University and received a BFA from NSCAD University. He was a finalist in the 2014 RBC Canadian Painting Competition. As a child of globalization, born in Manchester, raised in Sudan and Canada, and working in the United States, he searches for everyday objects that are both firmly positioned in the West and marked by a history that looks to the East. In constructing his paintings, he traces objects used to teach, objects that signify a performed identity or cultural growth, children’s developmental toys, model train tracks, a wedding dress, and various heirlooms. Formally, the works reference hieroglyphs and relief carvings, and evoke the fragmentation of collage. “My work,” he writes, “wrestles with the index of past cultural identifiers that have transgressed borders, leaving echoes in our everyday language, gestures, and material existence.” 
Cindy Ji Hye Kim

Cindy Ji Hye Kim

Cindy Ji Hye Kim received her MFA from the Yale School of Art and her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. She has exhibited extensively in Canada and the US, most recently in New York. As a painter whose background is in illustration and animation, her most recent body of work utilizes the visual language of cartoons to simplify and generalize shapes, turning female figures and domestic objects into instruments of vision and deception. Examining Korean folk-art traditions and East Asian cinema, she utilizes painting as a vehicle to navigate formal constructions and personal narratives. “Playing with pictorial depth and visual symbols,” she writes, “I’m interested in stepping in and out of the picture as an observer, a voyeur, and a witness.” Her painting Conspiracy Theory is from a series entitled Foot Steps, based on a series of smaller graphite and ink drawings that explore the psychological space of perception and memory.
David Kaarsemaker

David Kaarsemaker

David Kaarsemaker holds an MFA from the University of Ottawa and a BFA from Concordia. His paintings explore the dichotomy between illusory depth and material surface, making use of models created from photographs that reference idealism in architecture. He paints images that have become increasingly distorted, limiting access to them through a scrim of surface gestures. A lengthy process of projecting and re-projecting images onto cardboard models allows him to abstract the image before reconstituting it as a painted representation. In addition to the perspectival space represented, the under-painted and sanded-down brushwork functions both as an index of the gesture and as an allusion to such things as topographic maps or geological strata. He aims to convey both a sense of mental distance from the ostensible subjects of his paintings, and a glowing and tangible presence. Kaarsemaker is represented by Christina Parker Gallery in St. John’s and St.Laurent + Hill in Ottawa.
Wei Li

Wei Li

Wei Li recently received a BFA from the University of Alberta and lives and works in Edmonton. Her work is informed by her experience as an immigrant to Canada from China and addresses the psychological aspect of hybridity. She paints intuitively with an emphasis on process, dealing with the figure in an abstract way that describes both internal and external conflicts of the body. Organic patterns, symbols, and gestures emerge from her experiences, her subconscious, and her imagination and her paintings are then created layer by layer, with structures, rhythms, and energy slowly combining to construct a figurative form. “As an immigrant as well as an artist,” she writes, “I believe it is important to visually address the experience of living in this hybrid and dynamic society. The canvas itself functions as a vehicle to carry the painter’s moment of emotion, memory and energy, and the end result is often visually complex.” 
Laura Payne

Laura Payne

Laura Payne received her BFA in 2010 from Western University and her MFA in 2013 from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, where she specialized in painting, video, animation, and installation. Her paintings extend into the viewer’s space, with surface and shape informing one another to create an image-as-object. Digital experimentation, the observation of coloured light on coloured surface, and the translation from the illuminated screen to acrylic paint all guide the painting process. Though her art practice is primarily painting-driven, the ideas stem from notions of simulated light and the role electronic media plays in contemporary painting, from light to documentation to dissemination. She is interested, in particular, in how evolving forms of media continually inform the trajectory of contemporary painting. Payne has exhibited extensively in London, Ontario, Baltimore, and Saskatoon, where she lives and works. She is represented by Darrell Bell Gallery in Saskatoon.
Veronika Pausova

Veronika Pausova

Veronika Pausova was born in Prague and lives and works in Toronto. She received her BFA from the Glasgow School of Art and her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. “I like to use a kind of mathematical surrealism, with some personal logic, when I make my paintings,” she writes of her work. “I’m interested in the materiality of paint and how color, texture, and pattern can be conceptual.” Rather than planning her paintings with drawing, she experiments with paint as part of the “drawing” process, experimenting with new ways of using paint – scratching, sanding, or layering mediums – and making and re-making many paintings until the right elements come together from the various discarded works. Looking constantly to her past production, she often repeats imagery, creating her own lexicon and occasionally adding new “characters” such as the spider that appears in Typography, that may morph and appear under a different guise in subsequent work.
Laura Rokas-Bérubé

Laura Rokas-Bérubé

Laura Rokas-Bérubé graduated in 2016 from the MFA program at the San Francisco Art Institute and received a BFA in Painting and Drawing from Concordia University. She has received numerous awards for her work, including two Elizabeth Greenshields grants and the Guido Molinari Prize for Fine Arts. Inspired by the relationship of the artist to their work, she explores notions of self-representation and individuality through the acts of creation and destruction. Symbols, both common and cryptic, are scattered throughout her paintings as a means to both cultivate familiarity and create confusion. “Painters must keep up with their ever-changing role by navigating social constructs while remaining faithful to their practice,” she writes. “Although I am an unabashedly representational painter, I am continually inspired by several different media, allowing them to change my perception of what painting means to me and of contemporary painting as a whole.” Rokas-Bérubé is represented by Guerrero Gallery in San Francisco.
M.E. Sparks

M.E. Sparks

M.E. Sparks graduated with an MFA from Emily Carr University in 2016 and completed her BFA at NSCAD University. She was the 2016 recipient of the Nancy Petry Award and a finalist in the 2016 RBC Canadian Painting Competition. Sparks has participated in residencies in Germany and Finland and has exhibited extensively in Halifax, Vancouver, and, most recently, Berlin. Hollow Dog is part of a body of work that stems from an interest in how individuals engage with visual information and give meaning to form. Sparks looks for ways to subvert representational modes of painting to both reveal and call into question our predisposition to name and classify in order to understand and, ultimately, to possess the things around us. Through an obstructing and disabling of identifiable images, she composes her paintings in an attempt to push the observer out, to cast the subject in shadow, or to block deeper, unknown spaces from view.
Kizi Spielmann Rose

Kizi Spielmann Rose

Kizi Spielmann Rose is a 2017 graduate of the MFA program at the University of Ottawa, for which he received a Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada (SSHRC) grant. Sun and a Tide Pool employs oil stick over oil pastel, the scoring following a loose pattern of serpentine lines that run more-or-less parallel to one another and create the illusion of an undulating, illuminated surface. It illustrates his interest in one of painting’s fundamental dichotomies: the illusory potential of painted images to depict virtual light, space, and movement on the one hand, and the physical reality of pigment on a surface on the other. “My contribution to contemporary painting,” he writes, “involves a tightrope walk between process driven formalism and ambiguous illusionism. A history of abstract formalism is present in my work, but equally important is the evocative play of light across waves and the distortion of submerged forms beneath a liquid surface.”
Angela Teng

Angela Teng

Angela Teng received her BFA from Emily Carr University in 2011 and was a finalist in the RBC Canadian Painting Competition in 2016. She describes her practice as a laboured dedication to the processes of craft through a studio-based exploration of materials with an emphasis on abstraction. The technique she has developed of crocheting acrylic paint exploits its tactile and sculptural qualities and evokes a direct relationship to the body. The work, she says, reconsiders what is traditionally required to make a painting, renegotiating how a picture can be made. At the same time, the gesture of using the craft of crochet positions the paintings within feminist discussions. While her works are informed by hard-edged abstraction, minimalism, and colour field painting, their sculptural form, the processes employed, and the materiality of the paint problematize such connections. Teng lives and works in Vancouver, where she is represented by Equinox Gallery.
Joani Tremblay

Joani Tremblay

Joani Tremblay is a graduate of the MFA program at Concordia University and received her BFA from UQAM. She has participated in residencies in Berlin and Tokyo, and has upcoming solo exhibitions in Los Angeles and in Stockholm. At the core of her practice, that incorporates drawing, painting, and installation, lies a fascination around place, landscape, and flora. In revisiting landscape painting, she wishes to explore and act on the relations of power inherent in landscape and the correlated ideas of pleasure and beauty. Her painting The Lure of the Local Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society speaks to her interest in the cultural framing of nature. “I paint utopias, illusory places imagined as pleasure states, or a feeling of a place, tangling between abstraction and representation,” she writes of her work. “In a time of fear, hate, and populism, pleasure and beauty become a form of resistance.”
Tristan Unrau

Tristan Unrau

Tristan Unrau received his BFA from Emily Carr University in 2012 and is a recent graduate of the MFA program at UCLA. He lives and works in Los Angeles. He also studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and was a finalist in the 2015 RBC Canadian Painting Competition. His painting Nun, After Pasolini, inspired by Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1971 film Decameron, shows a nun, biting her lip as she stares out past the viewer. In the scene of the film, she is contemplating her desire, and the painting may be viewed as a metaphor for our engagement with painting. “My paintings find their precedents somewhere along a history of painting,” Unrau writes of his work. "Painting can be a way of thinking, to paint is a kind of telling and you can do all sorts of things with that.”
Ambera Wellmann

Ambera Wellmann

Ambera Wellmann graduated from the MFA program at the University of Guelph. Her work emerges from an engagement with a diverse range of nineteenth century figuration from the Western canon. She is interested in artists who conceptualized modes of realism as an engine of self-understanding and renewal during periods of rapid social and technological transformation. Exploring this tradition from a feminist perspective, her work embodies the experience of violence and eroticism that underlies realism, and critically reflects upon how those sensations are rationalized as representations of women. The translucent clay bodies that populate her paintings provide both a layered visual archaeology and a sense of continuity that engages a critical dialogue around figuration’s role in the production of gendered subjects and viewers. Through marks that seduce and simultaneously confess the procedures of their seduction, her paintings aspire to a sense of vulnerability over knowledge, and feeling over explanation. Wellmann is represented by TrépanierBaer Gallery.
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