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MFA student takes home $25k painting prize

Colleen Heslin wins national RBC Canadian Painting Competition
October 3, 2013
By Renée Dunk


MFA in Studio Arts student Colleen Heslin is the national winner of the RBC Canadian Painting Competition. Heslin won the $25,000 purchase prize for her piece "Almost young and wild and free," a vibrant mixed media creation that blends painting with textile art.

The jury was struck with the freshness of Heslin's approach to the traditions of painting, her play with surface and depth and her invocation of the pursuits of mending and making in the medium of textiles. "Almost young and wild and free" stood out for moving beyond the practice of painting though the use of stitchery and staining, and suggests a stepping off point for where painting can go, a formally elegant update on the medium's perennial questions.

Heslin wasn't the only Concordian to be shortlisted for the prize in 2013 — MFA in Studio Arts students Brendan Flanagan and Nathaniel Hurtubise were also finalists, as was alumna Laura Findlay, BFA (Studio Art) 11.

According to Ann Webb, executive director of the Canadian Art Foundation, an organization that manages the competition along with RBC: "Canadian artists have consistently stood with the world's best, and the calibre of this year's finalists and winners reaffirms that fact. It is a thrill and delight to be able to help discover the next generation of Canadian talent."

About the competition

Established in 1999, the RBC Canadian Painting Competition recognizes and supports Canada's emerging artists. The competition nurtures Canadian visual artists early in their career by providing them with a forum to display their artistic talent to the country and hopefully open doors to future opportunity.

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