Two grads are semi-finalists in RBC painting competition

Competition was stiff, but paintings by York grads Kim Dorland and Jennifer Lefort are among 15 out of 1,400 entries chosen as semi-finalists in the ninth annual RBC Canadian Painting Competition.

The national prizewinner and two runners-up will be announced in September and will be featured in the winter issue of Canadian Art magazine, published in December.

Right: The view from 36 Olympic Green, Red Deer, Alberta #2, by Kim Dorland 

The winner will take home $25,000 and the two runners-up, $15,000 each. With a total of $55,000 in prizes, the RBC Canadian Painting Competition offers the highest total award of any painting competition in Canada.

It’s a big deal just to make the shortlist. Dorland’s and Lefort’s original entries will be displayed in a cross-country exhibition tour of the semi-finalists from September to November. Images by the semi-finalists will also be highlighted in the fall issue of Canadian Art magazine, published in October.

This year, 1,400 submissions were accepted from 690 Canadian visual artists who are in the early stages (within the first five years) of professional careers. The competition was judged by some of Canada’s most respected artists, gallery directors and curators. Jurors included Ben Portis, assistant curator of contemporary art, Art Gallery of Ontario, and Peter Dykhuis, artist and director of the Anna Leonowens Gallery at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax.

"The judges have chosen some great pieces by artists from across the country," said Ann Webb, acting executive director, Canadian Art Foundation, which co-sponsors the competition. "It always presents a challenge for the jury panel to choose only 15 pieces to represent Canada’s rich cultural vibrancy in the contemporary painting scene."

Left: Untitled, by Jennifer Lefort

Jennifer Lefort is no stranger to winning big prizes. In 2005, she won the $25,000 Joe Plaskett Foundation Award while completing her MFA at York (see the Dec. 7, 2005 issue of YFile). She’s represented by the Montreal gallery Parisian Laundry.

To see Kim Dorland’s work, visit his Web site.