Painter Caroline Mousseau is the 2019 recipient of the $30,000 Joseph Plaskett postgraduate award in painting. Originally from Winnipeg, she is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting at the University of Guelph. The award will allow her to spend six months in Europe upon completing her graduate studies.
This period of great freedom will allow Mousseau to focus on her artistic practice and to discover the masterpieces to be found in European museums: “I will base my work in Berlin and take advantage of short travels to the Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark, to further examine the contemporary relevance of craft in art,” says the artist. “I am especially interested in seeing design or folk art next to original modernist works such as those of the Bauhaus and De Stijl.”
The jury was impressed by the artist’s technical mastery and by her clever deconstruction of the abstract expressionist brushstroke through slow, deliberate gestures. Her remarkable understanding of conceptual issues in painting allows her to confidently deal with the tropes of abstraction.
The 2019 Nancy Petry Award was won by painter Lauren Pelc-McArthur, who is originally from Toronto and is currently pursuing a Painting and Drawing Master of Fine Arts degree at Concordia University. The $10,000 award will allow her to travel to Europe for two months, where she plans to stay in Leipzig in Germany, as well as explore museums in Russia and Italy, and to visit the CERN laboratory in Switzerland. The jury greatly appreciated the complexity of her paintings, which combine multiple techniques to create visually mutable surfaces that evoke the instability of the digital.
The award recipients were chosen after a careful assessment of the 30 exceptional applications received. The jury met in April 2019 at the University of Guelph, and was composed of Doug Kirton, associate professor in the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Waterloo; Frances Loeffler, curator at Oakville Galleries; and jury chair Monica Tap, professor at the School of Fine Art and Music at the University of Guelph. To avoid any conflict of interest, Ms. Tap abstained from voting and discussing Caroline Mousseau’s work. Every year, the jury is held in a different location across Canada. The call for applications will open in February 2020 for the next set of Plaskett and Petry Awards.
Canadian artist Joseph Plaskett, who wished to give young Canadian painters the opportunity to discover Europe, created the Joe Plaskett Foundation in 2004. Since 2015, the Nancy Petry Foundation has partnered with the Joe Plaskett Foundation to administer a second prize, given to the first runner-up. The award recipients are exceptional emerging Canadian artists in the field of painting who are enrolled in or have received an offer of admission from a graduate program.
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