RBC Investments Canadian Painting Competition at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (952 Queen West), today (Thursday, November 18) to November 28. 416-395-7430. Rating: NNN
The sixth annual Royal Bank Painting Competition announces the winners tonight at the first show in MOCCA 's new Queen West home, which looks great except for the annoying RBC-logo-infested signage featuring pictures and bios of the 15 semi-finalists. Pipe down with the packaging, please.
Companies sell the idea of art sponsorship to shareholders with the simple equation: art + brand identity = good PR = more profits. The artist's work effectively becomes advertising by extension.
Some artists find the corporate cash a little too sickly sweet. Others appreciate the exposure of being involved in corporate competitions and don't mind the cash at all. Paint ain't free, you know. And, as long as the jury is good, the work should be superb and the contest legitimate. First prize pays $10,000, plus $7,000 each for two runners up. Who cares who pays?
Kudos to this jury, then - the show is diverse and worth seeing. Here are my three favourites for splitting the blood I mean, prize money.
West Coast finalist Jim Park creates extraordinary dark textures on the canvas, depicting what looks like a decaying subterranean aqueduct with such reverence you'd think it was the holy Carmanah Valley.
Adele Chong from Montreal paints abstract floral flourishes and hints of body parts around carefully controlled paint spills on a pink backdrop. Her organic lines blend the random results together into shapes we can recognize but never name.
And Toronto's own Dionne Simpson presents an uncanny black-and-white perspective looking down an urban street. The canvas itself has been shredded, leaving only a grid of tiny squares under an eerily translucent skin replete with little corporate logos. Even the RBC Lion shows up. Hope she wins.