Ambera Wellmann has won the 19th annual RBC Canadian Painting Competition, prevailing over 14 other finalists. Wellmann, of Guelph, Ont., was awarded a cheque for $25,000 Tuesday evening at a ceremony in Ottawa at the National Gallery of Canada.
Wellmann, who received her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Guelph, was a 2016 finalist in the national contest. This year her 2017 work of oils on wood, titled Temper Ripened, prevailed over more than 600 submissions from artists across the country.
Named as runners-up were the Yale-educated Teto Elsiddique of Halifax and the Prague-born Veronika Pausova of Toronto. Those two honourable mentions were worth $15,000, while the remaining 12 finalists received $2,500 each.
According to the jury's statement, Wellmann's painting of an ambiguously gendered body "dissects art history's patriarchal traditions and asserts new representational power dynamics, creating slippery images that both attract the viewer and resist easy reading."
The juried competition, created in 1999 and organized by the Canadian Art Foundation, honours young and emerging Canadian painters. All 15 finalists' paintings are currently on exhibit at the National Gallery until Oct. 22.
The top three paintings (including Elsiddique's acrylic on canvas neckrings, a breezy thing and Pausova's oil on canvas Typography) will become part of the RBC's corporate art collection.