Celebrating visual art of the human form / Célébrer l’art visuel de la forme humaine

Figureworks 2018

Congratulations to Olivia Johnston our 2018 first prize winner with her piece titled Mater Dolorosa (Angela). 42 artist finalists were selected from almost 400 entries received from across Canada and the United States. There was $7000 in cash prizes awarded along and sponsorship awards valued $400.

2018 Finalists

Peter Adams, Jessie Babin, Margo Blackwell, Olivier Bonnet, Erin Frances Brown, Kimberly Callas, Danielle Clarke, Christine Cousineau, Byrne Currie, Art DiLella, Hannah Evans, Christine Fitzgerald, Oscar Fletcher, Kimia Ghofrani, Jonathan Groeneweg, Caroline Ji, Olivia Johnston, Veronica Keith, Janet Kimantas, Karina Kraenzle, Geneviève Labbé, Sarah Lacy, Jacques Lajeunesse, Gabriel Lavoie, Kelsey McGruer, Andrew McKay, Kathy McNenly, Lora Moore-Kakaletris, Lucia Mugica, David Nelson, Philippe Pallafray, Michelle Peraza, Benjamin Phillips, Alondra Ruiz-Hernandez, Janice Saunders, Roger Schmidt, Nicole Sleeth, Audrey Smith, Ruth Steinberg, Sage Szkabarnicki-Stuart, Gilles Tarabiscuité, Nicholas Thompson, Radek Vizina and Nelson White.

2018 Figureworks Jury

The Figureworks prize is evaluated by a jury of peer professional artists representing a broad range of media and forms of art.

Joanne Rycaj Guillemette

Joanne Rycaj Guillemette

Joanne Rycaj Guillemette has worked both in the Private and Public sectors as well as not-for-profit arts and cultural organisations providing administrative and strategic support, guidance, and artistic direction. She has worked in photo conservation for Library and Archives Canada (LAC), most recently as Curator and Photo Archivist providing curatorial and project management services for exhibitions with national partners as well as negotiating acquisitions and managing historical research of collections. Joanne is currently responsible for the Indigenous Portfolio in Private Archives acquisitions for LAC and is a Board Director for the School of Photographic Arts: Ottawa and a member of its Exhibitions and Gallery Committee. She was a steward of the Steering Committee for the Ottawa 2017 Arts, Culture and Heritage Investment Program, and continues to support the Ottawa Arts Council as the Chair of the Arts Awards. Her experience in the field of photography includes her own artistic practice.


Joanne a travaillé au sein des organismes artistiques et culturelles pour les secteurs privé, public et à but non lucratif offrant le support stratégique et administratif, conseils et direction artistique. Elle a travaillé en conservation et restauration des photographies pour Bibliothèque et Archives Canada (BAC), et plus récemment comme commissaire et archiviste de photos dirigeant des programmes d’expositions avec partenariats nationaux et des négociations d’acquisitions ainsi que gérer la recherche historique des collections. Joanne est présentement responsable du portfolio autochtone en acquisitions des collections privées à BAC. De plus, elle est directrice au conseil d’administration du School of the Photographic Arts : Ottawa et membre du comité d’expositions et de la galerie. Elle était membre du programme d’investissement des arts, de la culture et du patrimoine d’Ottawa 2017, et continue de présider le comité des prix du Conseil des arts d’Ottawa. Son expérience dans le domaine de la photographie comprend sa propre pratique artistique.

Jennifer Macklem

Jennifer Macklem

Jennifer Macklem is a multi disciplinary artist who creates sculpture, video, performances, installations, paintings, drawings and collaborative public art. With a national and international exhibition record, her artistic practice is experimental in nature. She completed her undergrad studies at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris and at the Parsons School of Design and earned an MFA at the Université du Quebec à Montreal.

She has presented her work nationally and internationally at artist-run centers, university galleries and museums. In her work you find birds in the afterlife, ears of butterflies, iridescent wings, pools of black ink, pig heads in bronze, frozen landscapes, portraits, mink fur, imaginary planets and narcissistic goats. Reviews of her work have been published in the Journal of Canadian Art History, Vie des Arts, Espace, Guerilla Art, Front: Etcetera and Le Devoir, Montreal. Jennifer Macklem is an Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Ottawa.


Jennifer Macklem est une artiste multidisciplinaire qui crée de la sculpture, de la vidéo, des performances, des installations, des peintures, des dessins et de l'art public collaboratif. Avec un record des expositions tant nationale qu’internationale, sa pratique artistique est de nature expérimentale. Elle a complété ses études de premier cycle à l'École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts de Paris et à la Parsons School of Design et a obtenu un sa maîtrise en arts visuels à l'Université du Québec à Montréal.

Elle a présenté ses œuvres à l'échelle nationale et internationale dans des centres d'artistes, des galeries universitaires et des musées. Dans son travail, vous trouverez des oiseaux dans l'au-delà, des papillons pleins les oreilles, des ailes irisées, des bassins d'encre noire, des têtes de cochon en bronze, des paysages gelés, des portraits, des fourrures de vison, des planètes imaginaires et des chèvres narcissiques. Des critiques de son travail ont été publiées dans les Annales d'histoire de l'art canadien, Vie des Arts, Espace, Guerilla Art, Front: Etcetera et Le Devoir, Montréal. Jennifer Macklem est professeure agrégée au Département des arts visuels de l'Université d'Ottawa.

Danuta Sierhuis, M.A.

Danuta Sierhuis by Ruth Steinberg (2018)

Danuta Sierhuis, M.A., is the Curatorial Assistant, Canadian Art at the National Gallery of Canada. She recently contributed extensive research, writing and administrative support towards the development and reinstallation of the permanent collections exhibition, Canadian and Indigenous Art: From Time Immemorial to 1967 (2017) and Canadian and Indigenous Art: From 1968 to Present (2017-2018). She also co-curated RBC Canadian Painting Competition (2017) alongside Rhiannon Vogl, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art last fall. Before arriving at the National Gallery of Canada in 2016, Danuta held curatorial and administrative roles at Studio Sixty Six, Carleton University’s Archives and Research Collections, and Carleton University Art Gallery in Ottawa. Her interest in Canadian Art spans feminist art history, historiography, and digital humanities. In her spare time, she is a practicing fibre artist, creating woven wall hangings and punchneedle pieces that emphasize texture and colour.

Photo by Ruth Steinberg (2018)


Danuta Sierhuis, M.A., est conservatrice adjointe, art canadien au Musée des beaux-arts du Canada. Elle a récemment contribué par sa recherche, écriture et soutien administratif à l'élaboration et à la réinstallation de l'exposition sur les collections permanentes, Art canadien et autochtone: de temps immémoriaux jusqu’en 1967 (2017) et Art canadien et autochtone: de 1968 à nos jours (2017-2018). Elle a également co-organisé le Concours de peintures canadiennes RBC (2017) aux côtés de Rhiannon Vogl, conservatrice associée de l'art contemporain l'automne dernier. Avant d'arriver au Musée des beaux-arts du Canada en 2016, Danuta a occupé des rôles de conservatrice et d'administratrice au Studio Sixty Six, aux Archives et collections de recherche de l'Université Carleton et à la Carleton University Art Gallery à Ottawa. Son intérêt pour l'art canadien couvre l'histoire de l'art féministe, l'historiographie et les humanités numériques. Dans ses temps libres, elle est une artiste qui pratique la fibre, créant des tentures murales tissées et des pièces aiguilleté qui soulignent la texture et la couleur.

On display at Saint Brigid's Centre for the Arts, Ottawa from November Nov 21st to Dec 1st, 2018. (full details)

If you would like to purchase any of the artworks please email us. Figureworks takes no commission, all sales go directly to the artists.

2018 Figureworks Prize Winners

As selected by our 2018 jury

Mater Dolorosa (Angela) by Olivia Johnston

First Prize ($4000) - Mater Dolorosa (Angela)

Olivia Johnston
Inkjet print on paper, custom made MDF frame and hand-applied imitation gold leaf
81.5 cm x 68.5cm x 3 cm
I am entranced by images of the Virgin Mary. She is one of us, she is all of us.

As described by the jury: A contemporary remix of an iconic subject investing the sitter in a contemplative moment with agency and grace. The artist references the art historical canon with a fresh visual language.

Unmask by Nicole Sleeth

Second Prize ($1500): Unmask

Nicole Sleeth
Oil on linen
60" x 40"

As described by the jury: This confident study explores multiple perspective and poses suggesting the elapse of movement and time. Draws attention to the materiality of the paint by interrupting the smooth coherence of the figure with sudden interjections of painterly marks.

Lift by Erin Frances Brown

Third Prize ($1000): Lift

Erin Frances Brown
Urethane resin with oil paint
27" x 11" x 23"

As described by the jury: A self contained dreamlike sculpture that suspends all notions of gravity suggesting an open ended narrative. With an uncanny sense of impending awakening.

Honorable Mention ($500) - Dysmorphia

Alondra Ruiz-Hernandez, Kimia Ghofrani and Oscar Fletcher
Clay on body, lights and camera
Featuring two artists performing with clay to manifest a state of alienation of the self within the body.

As described by the jury: An explorative work that dramatically captures the alienation of the self within the body playing off the duality of mind and materiality.

2018 Figureworks Finalists

In alphabetical order by artists name.

Probing the Isle of Arran by Peter Adams

Probing the Isle of Arran

Peter Adams
Oil on canvas
36" x 30"
A portrait of my son posing in front of a map of the Isle of Arran, after which he was named. About identity and how we gain confidence and independence in our early teens.

Self-portrait with Red Lamp by Jessie Babin

Self-portrait with Red Lamp

Jessie Babin
Coloured Pencil on paper
11" x 17"

The happy knitter by Margo Blackell

The happy knitter

Margo Blackell
Water soluble graphite on terra skin (mineral paper)
18" x 26"

Afternoon on George’s Yacht by Olivier Bonnet

Afternoon on George’s Yacht

Olivier Bonnet
Mixed Media: chalk and charcoal on a 1954 Canadian Hydrographic Service map of Lake Ontario
42" x 51"

Nurture Me by Kimberley Callas

Nurture Me

Kimberley Callas
3D print, PLA Bio Filament
29" x 16" x 6"
Part of a new ‘Eco Self’ series.

Sunday Morning by Danielle Clarke

Sunday Morning

Danielle Clarke
Oil on canvas
40" x 30"
This painting of Katie, whom has been seen as something “other” her entire life as a result of her facial difference, depicts her with a sense of normalcy that serves as a rejection of the prejudices through which others have seen her.

Wallflowers by Christine Cousineau


Christine Cousineau
Oil on linen
64" x 46"
Composed of fragments of photographs from a variety of sources which are compiled in Photoshop to form an entirely new image.

Princess Rachel Imperatrix by Byrne Currie

Princess Rachel Imperatrix

Byrne Currie
Oil on canvas mounted on panel
33" x 18"

Anon#1 by Art DiLella


Art DiLella
Silicone, mixed media
32 x 33 x 21 cm (12.6" x 12.9" x 8.26")

and in the end by Hannah Evans

and in the end

Hannah Evans
Inkjet on archival paper
12" x 12"
A break-up portrait; My former partner pushes the shutter button 5 days after our break-up, and in the bed we still shared together.

Kaniehtiio by Christine Fitzgerald


Christine Fitzgerald
Unique aluminum “Tintype” mounted and framed in a beeswax coated natural maple shadow box frame with UV plexiglass. The tintype is coated with sandarac and lavender oil as was done in the 19th century.
12" x 14"
Kaniehtiio (‘beautiful snow’ in kanien’keha) is from the Kahnawake Mohawk reserve and Ottawa. The diagonal line is symbolic of my friend living in two worlds.

Tangled Up in Us by Jonathan Groeneweg

Tangled Up in Us

Jonathan Groeneweg
Inkjet print on used mattress cover
60" x 40"

Blue Couch by Caroline Ji

Blue Couch

Caroline Ji
Oil on canvas
36" x 36"
Exploring solitude stemming from having an introverted personality in the contemporary world.

Camo Girls: WWI Women in Camouflage by Veronica Keith

Camo Girls: WWI Women in Camouflage

Veronica Keith
Oils on board
30" x 40"
An exploration of the Women’s Reserve Camouflage Corps, made up of women artists who developed camouflage for use by American troops in Europe during World War I.

Amber Light by Janet Kimantas

Amber Light

Janet Kimantas
Oil on board
48" x 36"

Untitled 2 (from the Series ‚ÄúTroubling The Image‚ÄĚ) by Karina Kraenzle

Untitled 2 (from the Series “Troubling The Image”)

Karina Kraenzle
Inkjet print on archival paper
12" x 18"
The series attempts to explore new meaning through images that have been dislocated in time and space.

Sarah No. 2 by Geneviève Labbé

Sarah No. 2

Geneviève Labbé
Pigment Print on Cotton Rag
36" x 24"
A minimalistic document about the small moments of loneliness.

New Dawn by Sarah Lacy

New Dawn

Sarah Lacy
Oil on linen
20" x 30"
Finished after a break-up when the imagery of dawn clouds and blooming flowers came to me.

Sérénité by Jacques Lajeunesse


Jacques Lajeunesse
Huile et tempera, mortier de structure sur canevas de cotton
158 x 101.6 cm

A Look to My Life by Gabriel Lavoie

A Look to My Life

Gabriel Lavoie
Oil on canvas
24" x 30"

Untitled Performance by Kelsey McGruer

Untitled Performance

Kelsey McGruer
Inkjet print on paper
64" x 44"

Ioanna in Herringbone Jacket by Andrew McKay

Ioanna in Herringbone Jacket

Andrew McKay
Acrylic, ink and graphite
24" x 20"

Rob by Kathy McNenly


Kathy McNenly
Oil on linen mounted on acm panel
21" x 16.5"

Water Dance 1 by Lora Moore-Kakaletris

Water Dance 1

Lora Moore-Kakaletris
Photo printed on inkjet photo paper, mounted between 2 pieces of acrylic
23" x 18"

Cleopatra by Lucia Mugica


Lucia Mugica
Pigment ink on cotton rag
36" x 36"

Verdugo by Lucia Mugica


Lucia Mugica
Pigment ink on cotton rag
36" x 36"

Garden Variety Seven by David Nelson

Garden Variety Seven

David Nelson
Polymer Clay, glass garden cloche, artificial moss
18" x 12" x 12"

P12 by Philippe Pallafray


Philippe Pallafray
Stainless steel, aluminum and computer hard drive
12" x 16" x 9.5"
The work speaks to a future in which robotics may not only have replaced parts of the human body but also may have displaced humans altogether.

Henry by Michelle Peraza


Michelle Peraza
Oil on aluminum
60" x 48"
Henry, my father, a Costa Rican immigrant.

Blue Woman by Benjamin Phillips

Blue Woman

Benjamin Phillips
Polymerized gypsum, silicone, fiberglass, paint, steel, pigment
62" x 18" x 16"

Ruth by Janice Saunders


Janice Saunders
Inkjet print on archival photo paper lustre, black and white photo
16.25" x 10.75"
My 95 year old mother. She has dementia but her handwriting is still beautiful. First she wrote her name, the rest followed.

Portrait of Elsa by Roger Schmidt

Portrait of Elsa

Roger Schmidt
Charcoal and chalk on primed aluminum panel.
36" x 26"

Sight Un-Sensed by Audrey Smith

Sight Un-Sensed

Audrey Smith
Acrylic and charcoal on gallery wood panel
48" x 36"
About feeling disconnected during a visit to China.

Morning Stretches by Ruth Steinberg

Morning Stretches

Ruth Steinberg
Medium format film; digital archival print
18" x 18"

Urban Stream by Sage Szkabarnicki-Stuart

Urban Stream

Sage Szkabarnicki-Stuart
Photograph, archival fine art print
30" x 24"
Using forks and spoons collected around the pond, the costume reflects the swans that live there.

Cultural Appropriation #5 by Gilles Tarabisuité

Cultural Appropriation #5

Gilles Tarabisuité
Photo: Inkjet on Endure 255 paper
42" x60"
Starting from the premise that cultural identities cannot be fixed in definitive categories, I deconstruct and reconstruct these identities by mixing the cultural attributes and signs of each other.

Bella Donna by Nicholas Thompson

Bella Donna

Nicholas Thompson
Marble (Carrara Statuario)
15" x 13" x 12"

Searching for Icarus by Radek Vizina

Searching for Icarus

Radek Vizina
Oil on canvas on panel
40" x 30"

Veteran Elder by Nelson White

Veteran Elder

Nelson White
Oil on canvas
24" x 24"
Ellsworth R. Oakley jr who served with the US Army Rakasan Division 187 airborne during the Korean War.