One-third of the finalists in a prestigious national painting competition are University of Guelph graduates. Ashleigh Bartlett, Jennifer Carvalho, Tiziana La Melia, Wallis Cheung and James Gardner are among 15 national finalists selected from hundreds of Canadian entries.
The RBC Canadian Painting Competition prize, which celebrates promising new Canadian visual artists, was created in 1999. The awards – including $25,000 for the overall winner and $15,000 each for two runners-up — will be announced Oct. 1 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
“This is an outstanding example of the quality of both students and faculty in the studio art program in particular and of the creative arts in general at the University of Guelph,” said Donald Bruce, dean of the College of Arts.
“What other program in studio art in Canada has had similar results? This result underscores the fact that this program is at the very top in Canada.”
Each artist submitted a single painting for the competition. Following regional selections, jury panels will select the top three award winners.
Carvalho graduated from the University’s master of fine art program in 2013, and Bartlett and La Melia graduated in 2011. Cheung and Gardner completed bachelor’s degrees in the School of Fine Art and Music (SOFAM) in 2008.
Their paintings were featured in Saturday’s Globe and Mail.
SOFAM director John Kissick said, “Our alumni are becoming the next generation of Canadian contemporary art. It is also interesting to note that Bartlett and La Melia were nominated in the west, showing alumni are providing leadership across the country.”
Last year, two SOFAM artists, including one current student, were nominated for the prize.
Added Bruce, “Clearly this is a testimony to the quality of work done here, a result that both graduates and professors can be proud of. It is also a sign to prospective students that the U of G programs in creative arts are amongst the very finest in the country: this is the place to be.”