Four NSCAD alum named finalists in RBC Canadian Painting Competition
August 12, 2011

In the RBC Canadian Painting Competition, it really is an honour just to be nominated. Four NSCAD alumni are among the 15 emerging artists in the running for the prestigious competition, which awards three top prizes and arranges a tour of the semi-finalists’ artwork to major galleries in Edmonton, Hamilton and Toronto.

“To get noticed like this, so early on in my career and so soon after graduation, is great,” says Adam Gunn, an animator who went back to NSCAD University and discovered a passion for painting. The Bridgewater, N.S. native graduated last year with his Bachelor of Fine Arts. “I thought I’d be painting for 10 years or so before anyone would take a look.”
Adam’s painting, New God, Same as the Old God, is a still life of oddities – a doll’s head, an action figure, a peacock feather and plastic plants. “I like to go around to flea markets and yard sales and collect these odd looking things and construct scenes … it all seems familiar and yet it’s not.”

Besides Adam, the other NSCAD alumni who’ve been named semi-finalists for the 2011 competition are Daniel Hutchinson, MFA 2008, of Toronto, Jared Peters, BFA 2010, of Saint John, N.B. and Thomas Chisholm, BFA 2004, a Maritimer now living in Victoria, B.C.

“I’m pretty happy about this,” says Jared Peters, whose painting Tamed Horse is in the running. About the painting, he explains he created a “standard, conventional” painting of a horse placed on a flat background. Images of horses, he says, are “art historically loaded,” but in making this work, he’s “stripped it of ideological narratives.”

Reached via email in Sweden, Daniel Hutchinson says being named a finalist is a boost to his confidence – in his new work and to his art practice in general – and could have a major impact on his career. His painting, Wonder Tree, is part of a body of work exploring the relationship between natural forms and outdoor performance architecture. “I’m interested in the act of performance and the architecture and environments that influence the choices and actions that make up a performance,” he writes. 

Abstract painter Thomas Chisholm says he squeezed everything he could out of his NSCAD experience and is now reaping the benefits in terms of making artmaking a part of his life everyday—“I’m really glad I chose NSCAD. I feel I got so much out of my time there,” says Thomas, who also has a master’s degree from the University of Victoria, where he now teaches. 

Since its creation more than a decade ago, the RBC Canadian Painting Competition has been established as a premier recognition for emerging artists. The competition awards one national winner with a purchase prize of $25,000 and two honorable mentions of $15,000 each.

Winners will be announced in Edmonton on September 27.

All paintings by the 15 semi-finalists will go on display at the Art Gallery of Alberta from September 24 to October 10. The exhibit will also stop at the Art Gallery of Hamilton from October 19 to November 3 and The Power Plant in Toronto from November 12 to 19. As well, the artworks of finalists are featured online at:


god360   Adam Gunn
Halifax, NS

New God, Same as the Old God
Oil on wood panel
36" x 36"



tamedhorse360 Jared Peters
Saint John, N.B.

Tamed Horse
Oil on canvas
36" x 48"


Daniel Hutchinson
Toronto, Ont.

The Wonder Tree
Oil and drafting film on panel
40" x 60"


Thomas Chisholm
Victoria, B.C.

White Decagon 1
Enamel on Aluminium
24” x 24”