10 Canadian Artists You Should Be Paying Attention
10 Canadian Artists You Should Be Paying Attention
When it comes to artists, there tend to be two extremes.
There are a large number who are struggling to pay their rent (despite their level of talent), and a small few who have managed to make both a name and a lucrative career for themselves.
The point is – the struggle is real for far too many young artists, who make major sacrifices in their pursuit, and choose passion over paycheques.
Over. And Over. And Over.
Which is why we need all the initiatives we can get when it comes to bridging the gap between emerging and established artists.
Since 1999, the RBC Canadian Painting Competition, with the support of the Canadian Art Foundation, has been a unique initiative that does just that. The RBC Canadian Painting Competition is RBC’s cornerstone RBC Emerging Artists Project property, which focuses on supporting Canadian artists at the early stage of their careers.
More than just financial support, this program offers mentorship, exposure to audiences, and more opportunities to make life as an up-and-coming Canadian artist a little easier.
Something our children’s cultural environment will thank us for later.
The RBC Canadian Painting Competition selects 15 of the most talented and promising young artists from across the country, who compete for the first-place purchase prize of $25,000.
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.
The three juries then convene for a two-day deliberation where they will determine one national winner and two honourable mentions from the 15 finalists. In addition to the $25,000 grand prize, two honourable mentions each receive $15,000 and the remaining 12 finalists receive $2,500 each.
This is the kind of contest that everyone wins.
The top three works will then become part of the RBC Corporate Collection, which holds more than 4,000 works of art collected over the past century, where they’ll hang as proud representations of the best aspects of Canadian art.
The winners will be announced on November 18, 2015 at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver. These are the top 10 artists you should be paying attention to right now:
John Player – Montreal, QC
“Through my painting practice, I seek to question the normalization of a detached, calculative and militaristic view of the world. In this new body of work, I reference virtual diagrams, maquettes and the seduction of simulations, referring to modes of technology that further an alienating and predatory worldview.”
Claire Scherzinger – Toronto, ON
“I am attempting to reconcile the fact that I have witnessed injustices in the world around me while I continue to make work that is enshrined in a canon influenced by the relics of Modernism and the 20th century. This sense of non-resolution in my work is made evident when I reference Modernist artists I admire through colour, patterns and motifs and twist these ideas into new forms. I consider my paintings to be ‘beautiful moments of impasse,’ in which my original reactions of anger and horror at injustice and inequality are tamed and distilled into simple, unifying images.”
Robert Taite – Winnipeg, MB
“The works exhibit an underlying tension between containment and liberation. They play with the idea that painting has moved away from its oppressive borders to contend with the same space as the viewer—the objects I create can be seen as metaphorical representations of paint as sculptural relief. Working with colour and form, for me, depends less on experimentation with surface and composition within the frame and more on construction and arrangement within the spaces they inhabit.”
Tristan Unrau – Vancouver, BC
“Paintings have the possibility to facilitate many different and even contradictory types of engagement. You can oscillate between reading a painting spiritually or formally. You can construct fictional worlds for which paintings can become windows and you can appreciate historical precedence for specific painterly styles. My paintings suggest and encourage these kinds of parallel readings.”
Hangama Amiri – Halifax, NS
The paintings examine psychic and nostalgic spaces. Caught in a moment of complete serenity and unity with my surroundings, I am empowered by nature.”
Jessica Bell – Ottawa, ON
“I have been thinking about the nature of abstraction and how it can be understood in the practice of constructing architectural follies. For the builder, the construction of a folly is in an indulgence of form and material, but for the viewer, it is a site of evolving potential. My ‘follies’ are unstretched and deliberately subject to the limitations of their material nature, their relationships to one another and the implications of their environment.”
Patrick Cruz – Guelph, ON
“My experience migrating from the Philippines to Canada informs my studio practice, prompting me to question notions of diaspora, displacement and the adoption of a new cultural identity. Through my conflicting colour palette, garish application of paint, repetitive mark making and maximalist compositions, my work aspires to mimic the destabilizing force of modernity to reveal its symptoms and effects.”
Simon deBrée – Vancouver, BC / Stockholm, Sweden
“I begin a painting with a feeling of a place, then I fill the canvas with this feeling, creating a field of forms. As I work, adding layers of paint, the field of forms becomes more spatial, more sculptural. Eventually, the painting mutates from being about that original vague impulse, to being a place in itself.”
Paul Hardy – Montreal, QC
“Ambiguous and abstract, my paintings are characterized by relentless material explorations, undoings and renewals, by an eclectic and complex relationship to tradition, and by a highly idiosyncratic sensibility. I strive for a practice that traverses tradition, provoking a quiet tension. My paintings are contingent upon a return to the visual, to the experiential, to a way of asking questions through process and material—both significant and necessary in our fast moving and increasingly digital times.”
Megan Hepburn – Vancouver, BC
“These paintings research dance and movement as transformative ritual practice. The work builds through a framework of deep play, sustained attention and bodily knowledge. My research reflects movement as learning and haptic knowledge as a platform for the presentation of abstract processes.”