Skip to content

May we suggest

News / October 2, 2013

Colleen Heslin Wins RBC Canadian Painting Competition

Tonight at the National Gallery in Ottawa, Vancouver’s Colleen Heslin was chosen as the national winner of the 15th annual RBC Canadian Painting Competition.

Heslin, who is known for paintings that evoke mending and textile-making, will receive a $25,000 purchase prize for her artwork Almost young and wild and free. (To view the winning artwork, click on the Photos icon above.)

Honourable mentions were given to Colin Muir Dorward of Ottawa and Neil Harrison of Toronto. Each were awarded $15,000 for their works Labyrinthineon and Fig. 13 Knowledge respectively.

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the award, each of the remaining 12 finalists received $5,000.

A release stated that “the jury was struck with the freshness of Colleen’s approach to the traditions of painting, her play with surface and depth, and her invocation of the pursuits of mending and making in the medium of textiles.” It also stated that Almost young and wild and free was considered “a formally elegant update on the medium’s perennial questions.”

Born in Toronto in 1976, Heslin graduated from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design with her BFA in 2003 and as of this year was an MFA candidate at Concordia University. She is also an independent curator who in 1999 founded an art space, Crying Room Projects, in Vancouver. The space continues to host murals by various artists.

Dorward, born in Edmonton in 1979, also graduated from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design—in his case, in 2007. He is currently an MFA student at the University of Ottawa. Harrison graduated from York University with an MFA in drawing and painting this year; in 2004, he received a BSc in physics and astronomy from the University of Victoria. He was born in Winnipeg in 1981.

Paintings by the winner, honourable mentions and finalists will be exhibited at the National Gallery until October 13. They will also be exhibited at Art Toronto from October 25 to 28.

Established in 1999, the RBC Canadian Painting Competition—a partnership with the Canadian Art Foundation, publisher of Canadian Art—nurtures Canadian visual artists early in their career by providing them with a forum to display their artistic talent to the country and open doors to future opportunity. Submissions are accepted from professional, practicing visual Canadian artists who are in the first five years of their careers.

“Canadian artists have consistently stood with the world’s best, and the calibre of this year’s finalists and winners reaffirms that fact,” said Ann Webb, executive director of the Canadian Art Foundation. “It is a thrill and delight to be able to help discover the next generation of Canadian talent.”

More than 500 artists submitted works for this year’s competition. For information on applying to future competitions, visit