National Gallery of Canada: RBC painting prize goes to Guelph artist Ambera Wellman

Ambera Wellmann of Guelph, Ontario, has won the $25,000 RBC Canadian Painting Competition for 2017. Her win was announced at the National Gallery of Canada onTuesdayy night.

She emerged as the pick from list of 15 talented artists by a jury of artists, curators, and art directors. She will receive $25,000 for her work Temper Ripened.

Honourable mentions went to Teto Elsiddique of Halifax, for his piece, neckrings, a breezy thing, and Veronika Pausova of Toronto for her work, Typography. They each receive $15,000. The other 12 finalists will each get $2,500. On the list of finalists are two Gatineau-based artists Kizi Speilmann Rose and David Kaarsemaker.

Temper Ripened by Ambera Wellman.

The paintings will be part of the bank’s corporate art collection that already holds more than 4,500 pieces of Canadian art. In addition to the financial support, all 15 finalists will get mentoring opportunities with the jury team, exposure to audiences and national recognition.

The RBC Canadian Painting Competition has provided more than 250 Canadian artists an opportunity to exhibit their work nationally.

The work of the 15 finalists can be seen at the National Gallery until Oct. 22.

Wellmann was a 2016 finalist in the RBC Canadian Painting Competition.  

In a media release, the jury called Wellman “a powerful new voice in Canadian art. Working from a foundation of painterly realism, she curiously crops a ceramic figure, turning it into an ambiguously gendered body. Her painting dissects art history’s patriarchal traditions and asserts new representational power dynamics, creating slippery images that both attract the viewer and resist easy reading.”

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.