BMO 1st Art! Competition Spotlights 13 Emerging Artists from Across Canada

  • BMO Financial Group announces one national winner and 12 regional winners
  • $15,000¬†is awarded to the national winner;¬†$7,500¬†is awarded to each regional winner
  • All selected works will be showcased from¬†November 15 to December 8¬†at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery,¬†University of Toronto

TORONTO, July 24, 2018 /CNW/ РBMO Financial Group today announced the national and regional winners of its 16th BMO 1st Art! competition, an annual event that recognizes visual arts excellence amongst post-secondary and undergraduate-level students from across Canada.


BMO 1st Art! 2018 National Winner – Clara Couzino (CNW Group/BMO Financial Group)

A distinguished committee of curators, gallery directors and art professors selected the winners. Clara Couzino from Concordia University, Quebec, won the national prize of $15,000. Each of the 12 regional winners received $7,500 and all have been invited to Toronto for two nights to attend the opening reception of the 1st Art! exhibition. Winning pieces will be on display at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, 7 Hart House Circle, University of Toronto, from November 15 to December 8, 2018. All artworks are returned to the artists after the show.

“Supporting new artists is a priority for BMO and we are very proud that 1st Art! provides emerging artists a much needed platform as they transition into the next phase of their careers,” said¬†Gilles Ouellette, Group Head, BMO Asset Management and executive sponsor of BMO 1st¬†Art! since its inception. “The works of this year’s artists illustrate a remarkable range of content and media. We look forward to hosting all of the winners in¬†Toronto¬†this November to celebrate their artistic achievements.”

“We are thrilled to announce another immensely talented group of winning artists this year,” said¬†Dawn Cain, Curator, BMO Corporate Art Collection. “Since its inauguration in 2003, BMO 1st Art! has recognized a total of 211 young artists hailing from all corners of¬†Canada; each offering a new and unique work that oftentimes pays homage to the part of¬†Canada¬†in which it was conceived. We look forward to continuing to support and unite recent art school grads for years to come.”

Deans and instructors of post-secondary arts programs across Canada were once again invited to nominate three eligible students from each visual art specialty to submit a recent work. The BMO 1st Art! competition welcomes submissions from a number of artistic media including drawing, printmaking, photography, painting, ceramics, textiles, and three-dimensional works in a variety of materials.

Out of the 267 post-secondary and undergraduate-level students, the 2018 BMO 1st Art! winners are:

National Winner

  • Clara Couzino,¬†Concordia University¬†(Quebec)

Regional Winners

  • Max Keene,¬†University of Alberta¬†(Alberta)
  • Phoebe Huang,¬†Simon Fraser University¬†(British Columbia)
  • Jimmie Kilpatrick,¬†Brandon University¬†(Manitoba)
  • Sylvan Hamburger,¬†Mount Allison University¬†(New Brunswick)
  • Emma Burry,¬†Grenfell Campus,¬†Memorial University of Newfoundland¬†(Newfoundland¬†and¬†Labrador)
  • Rodney MacMullin,¬†Nova Scotia¬†College of Art & Design University (Nova Scotia)
  • Greg Morgan, Nunavut Arctic College (Nunavut)
  • Josi Smit, OCAD University (Ontario)
  • Paul Atwood,¬†Holland¬†College (Prince Edward Island)
  • Sarah Madgin, Universit√© du Qu√©bec √† Montr√©al (Quebec)
  • Amber Agarand,¬†University of Regina¬†(Saskatchewan)
  • Christopher Dufour, Yukon School of Visual Arts (Yukon)

A variety of materials and themes are present in this year’s winning works. A few highlights include:

  • A composition of painted objects, shelves and string built to resemble a sheet of lined paper, creating a new visual and textual language that shifts between 2D and 3D depending on the viewer’s perception. (Clara Couzino, National winner)
  • A set of lithographic prints and a woven version of a traditional aboriginal garment ‚Äď both considered recent artefacts ‚Äď symbolize and explore tensions between the construction and deconstruction of historic and cultural memory. (Sarah Madgin,¬†Quebec¬†winner)
  • A digital print on silk georgette draped over a steel frame that explores the desires and intimacies that form in our relationships with objects and spaces. (Josi Smit,¬†Ontario¬†winner)
  • A steel sculpture based on a common venetian blind, which has been scaled up and flipped upside down; a metaphor for isolation that questions the balance between privacy and avoidance. (Rodney MacMullin,¬†Nova Scotia¬†winner)

The 2018 selection panel:

  • Hugues Charbonneau, Director,¬†Galerie Hugues Charbonneau
  • Adriana Kuiper, Artist and Associate Professor,¬†Mount Allison University
  • Naomi Potter, Director/Curator, Esker Foundation
  • Sarah Robayo Sheridan, Curator,¬†Art Museum¬†at the¬†University of Toronto

To view the winning pieces on BMO Financial Group’s website, please visit:¬†

About BMO Financial Group
Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider ‚Äď the 8th largest bank, by assets, in¬†North America. With total assets of¬†$744 billion as of¬†April 30, 2018, and a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

SOURCEBMO Financial Group


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