Vancouver artists earn top spots at the RBC national painting competition

Aug 9 2017, 5:59 am

Canada is home to some truly magnificent up-and-coming artists.

And that’s why RBC established the Canadian Painting Competition, developed through its Emerging Artists Project.

Now in its 19th year, the competition recognizes and nurtures the careers of local artists and supports the thriving Canadian visual arts community. It seeks to inject the vitality and diversity of new talent into Canada’s arts landscape.

And now that the 15 jury-selected finalists for this year’s competition have been announced with Canadian Art, we can share their work with you.

Each artist will have their work exhibited at The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa from September 1 to October 22. The three winners are set to be announced on October 17 following two days of jury deliberation.

In total, the RBC competition will award $85,000 in prize money to the winners.

After this, the winning artists will have their paintings added to RBC’s Corporate Art Collection.

Here’s a look at the Vancouver artists who have made it to the 2017 RBC Canadian Painting Competition finals.

M.E. Sparks – “Hollow Dog” (2017)

M.E. Sparks ‘Hollow Dog’/RBC Canadian Painting Competition

M.E. Sparks’ oil painting on canvas has made it to the finals of the competition, and it’s no surprise since Sparks graduated with a Master of Applied Arts from Emily Carr University in 2016 and also completed her BFA at NSCAD University.

“Hollow Dog” integrates found forms, a personal narrative, and elements of painting history by obstructing and disabling of identifiable images. “This body of work stems from an interest in how individuals observe, classify, and give meaning to form. I work with representational modes of painting to reveal and call in to question our innate desire to name what we see,” said Sparks.


Angela Teng – “Line Dance (Pink and Black for Mary Heilmann)” (2016)

Angela Teng ‘Line Dance’/RBC Canadian Painting Competition

Vancouver-based artist Angela Teng created “Line Dance” with crocheted acrylic paint on an aluminum panel, and it’s going to the final of RBC’s painting competition. Now represented by the Equinox Gallery, Teng studied for the visual arts program at Emily Carr University, majoring in painting.

“This body of work utilizes a laboured dedication to the processes of craft, through abstraction and a studio-based exploration of materials and painting,” said Teng.

Tristan Unrau – “Nun, After Pasolini” (2017)

Tristan Unrau ‘Nun, After Pasolini‘/RBC Canadian Painting Competition

Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate of Emily Carr University, Tristan Unrau, created the oil painting on canvas, “Nun, After Pasolini”, and it has made it to the final division of RBC’s competition. Unrau recently graduated from UCLA with a Master’s degree in Fine Arts and he also studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

“In many ways I paint in opposition to the idea that the artist must contain a specific voice. I am interested in articulating a position within art history that suggests an investment in a specific experience across different kinds of painting,” said Unrau.

Instagram: @tristan.unrau

Other entrants who have made it to the final include Wei Li from the University of Alberta, Michael Freeman Badour, Ambera Wellmann, and Amanda Boulos from the University of Guelph, Laura Payne, Toronto-based Veronika Pausova who studied at the Virginia Commonwealth University, Cindy Ji Hye Kim from the Yale School of Art, David Kaarsemaker and Kizi Spielmann Rose from the University of Ottawa, Joani Tremblay from Concordia University, Laura Rokas-Bérubé from San Francisco Art Institute, and Teto Elsiddique from Yale University.

You can check out all of the finalists paintings at an exhibit occurring at the National Gallery of Canada from September 1 to October 22.

RBC is dedicated to helping communities prosper, supporting a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments and employee volunteer activities. The RBC Canadian Painting Competition is just one of many initiatives that demonstrate RBC’s long-standing support for the arts, as well as being one of the most active collectors of Canadian contemporary art in the country.

For more information about the 2017 painting competition, visit RBC online. To get the latest updates and to stay in the know, check out RBC on Facebook and Instagram.

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