A nine-member national jury has named Halifax’s Patrick Cruz the 2015 winner of the annual RBC Canadian Painting Competition. Cruz, 28, triumphed over 14 other finalists from across Canada announced in June and was awarded a $25,000 cheque at a ceremony Wednesday evening in Vancouver. Named as runners-up were fellow Haligonian Hangama Amiri and Claire Scherzinger of Toronto who each received $15,000.
Currently completing a master of fine arts program at the University of Guelph, the Philippine-born Cruz won top honours for a colourful, decidedly hectic medium-sized acrylic on canvas titled Time allergy.
In an earlier statement, Cruz, who also earned a BFA in 2010 from Vancouver’s Emily Carr University of Art + Design, said his immigration to Canada about a decade ago has “informed [his] studio practice, prompting [him] to question notions of diaspora, displacement and the adoption of a new cultural identity.”
The jurors – three each from Western Canada, Central Canada and Eastern Canada – said they selected Cruz as the winner “based on his decidedly contemporary attitude towards painting. His brave approach, maximalist aesthetic and wild graphic sensibility set a provocative tone for emerging art in Canada in 2015.”
Cruz’s Time allergy, along with Scherzinger’s My Contribution to the Many Paintings of Pots and Plants and Amiri’s Island of Dreams, now become permanent parts of the RBC Corporate Art Collection, numbering more than 4,000 works.
Works by all 15 finalists are currently on exhibition in Vancouver at the Contemporary Art Gallery through Nov. 29. The remaining 12 artists each received $2,500 at Wednesday’s prize ceremony, held at the CAG.
This year marks the 17th anniversary of the competition, created to honour young and emerging painters.
The selection process has undergone several several changes since 1999, the most recent, in 2004, resulting in the current regime of naming five finalists per region, from which one national winner and two runners-up are chosen.