Tonight, in a ceremony at the Power Plant, Vanessa Maltese of Toronto was announced as national winner of the 14th annual RBC Canadian Painting Competition.
Maltese will receive a $25,000 purchase prize for her work Balaclava, which the jury noted stood out in its ability to reconcile ongoing painterly concerns of depth and surface, pattern and illustration, material and subject to create a dynamic, highly resolved composition.
Honourable mentions were given to Montreal’s Betino Assa and Vancouver’s Katie Lyle. Each will receive $15,000.
Born in Toronto in 1988, Maltese studied at OCAD University, where she graduated in 2010 with the drawing and painting medalist award. Her only solo exhibitions to date have taken place at her dealer’s space, Erin Stump Projects.
Born in Burgas, Bulgaria, in 1984, Assa came to Winnipeg in 2003 to undertake undergraduate studies in fine arts at the University of Manitoba. In 2010, he moved to Montreal to complete his master’s degree, which he will finish at Concordia University in 2013. His artist statement says his works “explore the relationship between living beings and their environment,” combining “people, fantastical creatures, animals, furniture and unrecognizable objects, that may or may not be manmade, to allow the true nature of each element in the work to emerge.”
Originally from Kingston, Ontario, Lyle earned her undergraduate degree at Concordia University and her master’s from the University of Victoria. Her work tends to focus on the female figure. Lyle is also curatorial assistant at Western Front and a board member of the Contemporary Art Society of Vancouver.
Presented in partnership by RBC and the Canadian Art Foundation, the RBC Canadian Painting Competition is a tribute to Canada’s artistic talent. This year, the competition award ceremony was hosted by New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik and featured live performances by Montreal recording artist Florence K.
Paintings by all 15 finalists for 2012—Maltese, Assa and Lyle included—will be on exhibit at the Power Plant until December 3.