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

Figureworks 2019

On display at Saint Brigid's Centre for the Arts, Ottawa from November Nov 20 to Nov 30, 2019. (full details)

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2019 Figureworks Prize Winners

First Prize: Michigan Man after Arcimboldo by John Healey

First Prize ($4000) - Michigan Man after Arcimboldo

John Healey
Framed archival pigment print on Baryta
40in x 32in

As described by the jury: The technical brilliance of this composition is at once classical and contemporary. The materials used are a testament of the precarious state of our environment at this time, and foretells the dire consequences of our consumption habits.

Artist statement: "This work is a part of the Plastic Beach project. The plastic to create this work comes from items taken from Lake Michigan. "Plastic Beach magnifies the evidence of human polluting of freshwater resources by showing us the stuff right under our feet. It confronts us with the beauty of the very thing with which we are unwittingly poisoning the environment and ultimately ourselves."

Second Prize: Turner & Hooch II by Scott Waters

Second Prize ($1750) - Turner & Hooch II

Scott Waters
Oil and acrylic on panel
36in x 24in

As described by the jury: An accomplished and compelling self portrait of a middle aged man, contemplative and self deprecating. The unfinished quality suggests the passage of time and in the artist's words; raises the middle finger to death.

Artist statement: "The painting addresses the passage of time and a resistance to that unassailable fact. The band Metallica does a fine job of standing in for middle-aged white guys who, well past their artistic prime, just keep on trying. Perhaps the same can be said for the painter/sitter in this portrait. The tactical backpack is a reference to military culture (domain of the young and/or busted), and though unknowable, the aging cat is in the early stages of kidney failure. In short, this painting is a love letter (and a middle finger against) mortality. Relatedly, the nature occasionally realist nature of this painting is another reference to time: Specifically, the physical and temporal process of construction. So, on the one hand, stopping short "robs" the viewer of the often-desired high realism portraiture, but at the same time, the painting is frozen before completion, leaving both sitters in a state of half-life, permanently held between start and finish."

Third Prize: Retired by Lindsay Irene

Third Prize ($1000) - Retired

Lindsay Irene
Digital inkjet print on cotton rag
40in x 32in

As described by the jury: It has a powerful visual impact and backstory. There is a duality of strength and vulnerability in this unconventional direct and honest self portrait.

Artist statement: It wasn't the sex that was hard. In fact, sex was the easy part. It was catering to men who felt justified in seeing me while their wives were at home undergoing chemotherapy, the men who hurt my peers and tried to find sneaky ways of getting me to show up at their front door, the men who followed me throughout my career and beyond with an uneasy obsession, and the men who pined after my petite body and compared me to their teenage daughters (always announced while climaxing). That was the hard part.

I had stopped seeing clients for about a year at the time of this photo, yet I still encountered manipulative men from my past who seemed to always find ways of sustaining a once finite relationship. It was one night in particular that my feelings rose to the surface and I reacted by composing a photo announcing to the world that, in no uncertain terms, I was finished with the industry and to leave me alone.

It worked.

Honorable Mention: Esprit des aulniers by Rosemarie Peloquin

Honorable Mention ($500) - Esprit des aulniers

Rosemarie Peloquin
Hand needle-felted wool sculpture around a wood trunk slab
33in x 11in x 18in

As described by the jury: The piece shows a hight level of technical skill. The choice and integration of natural materials conveys a deeper wisdom.

Artist statement: "Researching my mother's name I discovered the alder (aulne) was one of the trees in the druid's sacred grove. I melt wood and wool to personify these ancient repositories of communal wisdom."

People's Choice Award: Terroir by Michael Goodson

People's Choice Award ($250) - Terroir

Michael Goodson
Acrylic and Silicone on Masonite board
72in x 48in

Artist statement: "My painting explores the skin of paint as both a place of conjuring presence and as a medium exuding its own qualities. I would like to reflect an understanding of the way this skin suggests and creates empathy in the viewer through the dimpled sag of slackened skin, the muscular furrows of a worried brow and the scoring of laugh-lined cheeks. My work addresses both the languages of representation and our visceral responses to material."

2019 Figureworks Finalists

In alphabetical order by artists name.

Specimen PH762 by Andrew Ackerman

Specimen PH762

Andrew Ackerman
Silicone, pigment, human hair, metal, resin, plastic
6in x 6in x 2in
$600 USD

"The sculpture can be interpreted either as a specimen taken from the body, a biological form grown in a lab, or a close-up of a particular aspect of the body. The skin acts as a boundary between one's self and the exterior world. When presented in isolation, any direct reference to a particular identity is denied, serving to disrupt one's sense of self and positioning the viewer in an awkward and uncomfortable relationship to the work. As such, the sculpture explores the relationship between identity and the corporeal body, post-humanism. Theories of the Abject, as raises questions regarding the inherent risks and possibilities associated with technology."

Qimash by Durrah Alsaif


Durrah Alsaif
Video 11:22
Not for sale

"Originally from Saudi Arabia and now living in Canada, Alsaif is interested in the Middle Eastern experience in the west, particularly as it relates to cultural identity and perception. Alsaif investigates this subject matter, which is considered culturally taboo in her home country. "Qimash" explores the symbolic action of adorning oneself with the Islamic religious garment worn by women - the hijab- while her performance juxtaposes ownership of cultural identity with absurdity, discomfort, and immobility. Through this cumulative gesture, Alsaif urges us to consider the symbolic weight of the hijab and its nuanced significance to the individual women that wear them."

In Qimash, Alsaif investigates this subject matter, which is considered culturally taboo in her home country. Qimash explores the symbolic action of adorning oneself with the Islamic religious garment worn by women—the hijab—while her performance juxtaposes ownership of cultural identity with absurdity, discomfort, and immobility. Through this cumulative gesture, Alsaif urges us to consider the symbolic weight of the hijab and its nuanced significance to the individual women that wear them.

Self-portrait; Among Others by Nima Arabi

Self-portrait; Among Others

Nima Arabi
Charcoal on Flooring Paper
32in x 20in

"Bridging cultural gaps, representing the culture I grew up in, and also adapting the new culture has always been the theme of my art practice as a hybrid-culture artist. Transition, movement, and migration, or in particular, "changes", either in physical format or in the internal stages cause transformation. In my perspective, this transformation distorts our feelings and reshapes us from inside. Recently, I started to examine this distortion through my drawings. By changing either environmental elements, such as lights, or inner elements, such as the rule-set in the drawing process, I intend to capture the influences of different factors of the drawing. Comparing the differences between the result drawings of various situations declares distortion as an outcome of diverse changes I make in my process."

Thomas by Kendall Ayoub-Nichols


Kendall Ayoub-Nichols
Oil on Canvas
60in x 36in

"When I focus on the person in front of me, studying and copying the subject matter through paint on canvas, I believe that through this act of creation something deeper emerges. That something deeper is what I want to capture, explore further, and share with others."

My Tropic of Cancer by Steven Bradbury

My Tropic of Cancer

Steven Bradbury
Pastel and Colored Pencil
36in x 30in
$5000 USD

"This work is as much a psychological portrait as a physical one. I sought to convey the emotional arc of the experience, from my dismay at the diagnosis of a large basal carcinoma and treatment to my relief and fascination with the almost comic roles my face took on during the course of recovery."

up on the high wire by Robert Creighton

Up on the high wire

Robert Creighton
colour, relief and mixed intaglio with chine colle
17in x 22in

"This work is a part of a series called "Carnival". They are using acrobats, and performers in the "circus" entertainment milieu not only as portraits of personalities and acts but as metaphors for certain aspects of our existence/lives."

My Armour/Mon Amour by Christine De Vuono

My Armour/Mon Amour and "My fate is Sealed"

Christine De Vuono
steel apron, mason jars with figures inside on shelf
50in x 50in

"Together they address society's push to contain women into allotted roles, specifically in the domestic sphere. The steel wearable apron depicts both the strength and rigidity of domestic labour, and the jars contain present-day depictions of the Fates - their powers contained and placed on a shelf, always waiting to be released."

Summer by Christine De Vuono


Christine De Vuono
photographic collage
36in x 36in
Not for sale

"Through the language of allegory, the teenage girl is depicted as the source of life, vitality, and change. In a world where major shifters of public opinion are teenage girls, this piece and the series as a whole is geared to depict young women as integral to change and to show them as forces of nature."

Sumus: Discobolos by Benjamin Entner

Sumus: Discobolos

Benjamin Entner
Marker on Paper
84in x 60in
Not for sale

"My current body of work explores the boundaries and interplay between two- and three-dimensional methods of making. Specifically, the point at which a drawing can become form and an object can become representation. Focusing on the figure, I draw contemporary individuals: myself, friends, family in postures similar to the figures of Classical Greco-Roman and renaissance sculpture. In so doing, I hope to create an awkward dialogue between my contemporary parodies and the historical works - a dialogue that questions, and challenges notions of beauty, proportion, sexuality, and the idealized form."

Selfie On The Edge by Allison Fagan, CPSA

Selfie On The Edge

Allison Fagan, CPSA
Coloured pencil and gouache on black Stonehenge paper
21in x 18in
Not for sale

"This self-portrait is a face-on challenge of the universal obsession with aging. It celebrates my turning 65 and is about embracing a new chapter of life with grace, humour, acceptance and cheekiness. This work is also about family, vocation and bringing light from darkness."

Samantha by Gary Franks


Gary Franks
Pigment ink on photo rag, numbered edition of 3, framed
24in x 36in

"By taking portraits of active Ottawa creators, Gary seeks to capture moments in Ottawa's creative evolution, as he has watched the city grow and change over the years. Through these portraits, Gary hopes to communicate to the viewer the nuances and diversity of the community around him."

BLUE MIRROR by Brandon Giessmann


Brandon Giessmann
Polaroid Film and Shadowbox
22in x 17in
$400 USD

"The body is an archive. I am interested in how flesh can speculate and project beyond the presence to bridge gaps in knowledge and experiences of queer history, illness and trauma."

CHRONICLE by Brandon Giessmann


Brandon Giessmann
Polaroid Film and Shadowbox
22in x 17in
$400 USD

"These fragments are relying on one another to inform and contextualize my ambivalence about connecting to traumas that are not explicitly my own."

The Soothsayer of Untold Truths by Gianni Giuliano

The Soothsayer of Untold Truths

Gianni Giuliano
Oil and egg emulsion on linen
40in x 30in

"Neither an apparent reflection of a plausible reality not an evocation of an imaginary reality, Giuliano's works expose the image as the shaping of an ever-renewed intentionality of the contribution of an object for the gaze."

Worker by Abigail Gossage


Abigail Gossage
15.6in x 30in

"As a photographer when photographing the human figure I look for expression whether it be in the body language of the subject or in the emotion of the face."

Drawing.Dancing (video) by Nicci Haynes


Nicci Haynes
Video 3:07
15.6in x 30in

"Nicci Haynes is a visual artist whose roaming practice includes print, drawing, mad-scientist installations and awkward little videos, which are variously brought into service as vehicles for her explorations."

Futur Antérieur by Horst Herget

Futur Antérieur

Horst Herget
Photography: archival print from tintype plate
25.5in x 19.5in

"In an increasingly virtual world, the manner in which we create images of ourselves, the meaningful moments that inform our ideas of who we are, is more important than ever. The handcrafted wet plate photographic process transcends today's digital perfection for a likeness that is more expressive of the human condition."

The endless flowers of the sun by Niloo Inalouei

The endless flowers of the sun

Niloo Inalouei
Acrylic and oil on canvas
28in x 24in

"Negotiating a sense of belonging to two disparate cultures at once, my paintings follow epistemological strategies to dissect Persian and Canadian identities. Navigating feminist structures in Middle Eastern diasporas, I investigate memory and autobiographical photographic sources through their passages and rhythms of time. They function as an archival tool, in order to be reconstructed through the act of painting. My recollections are distortions which rupture through imagination, transmitting new manifestations that I have not yet foreseen. My paintings attempt to bridge the gap between portraiture and abstraction."

Walter as Detroit by Jason John

Walter as Detroit

Jason John
Oil on Polyester
40in x 30in
$6000 USD

"Art, as an object that offers opportunities for subjective insight, is in my work an opportunity to consider how individuals form distinct and sometimes drastically different memories and perceptions of shared experiences, with profound and uncertain consequences for what we call identity."

Poised by Louise Kermode


Louise Kermode
Oil on aluminum panel
24in x 18in

""Poised" depicts a moment of both power and fragility. A young woman, as if on the verge ofspeaking, engages the viewer directly while her hands betray uncertainty."

Deflated by Patricia La Prairie


Patricia La Prairie
Pigment ink on cotton rag
28.5in x 38in

"Home is where the heart is. Home is sweet. Homeward is the result of turning the lens inward and finding those moments that illustrate the nature of home and what it means to my family. Using a documentary approach, I also captured found moments that tell the story of what home means: returning home, leaving home, empty nest, new nest."

Nest by Patricia La Prairie


Patricia La Prairie
Pigment ink on cotton rag
28.5in x 38in

"Home is where the heart is. Home is sweet. Homeward is the result of turning the lens inward and finding those moments that illustrate the nature of home and what it means to my family. Using a documentary approach, I also captured found moments that tell the story of what home means: returning home, leaving home, empty nest, new nest."

Untitled Girl with stripes by Jaymie Lathem

Untitled Girl with stripes

Jaymie Lathem
Graphite and charcoal on duralar
67in x 40in

"This work challenges the construction of memory and personal identity suggesting both concepts are constantly assembled, disassembled and reconstructed by a multitude of layers and is exceedingly complex."

The Hardy Boys and the Girl in the Dresser by Ava Margueritte

The Hardy Boys and the Girl in the Dresser

Ava Margueritte
24in x 24in

"As I got older sex quickly became something so violent after first hand having falsified pornographic images spread of myself amongst my high school peers. To deal with such a heavysubject at a young age I examined what control means to me and experimented with reclaiming my body".

Celeste Marten

Mom (There is No Stage Five)

Celeste Marten
Inkjet print on paper
42in x 42in
Not for sale

"Using art as communication, she is interested in the intensely therapeutic and cathartic qualities that are allowed through visual expression. Throughout her work, Marten predominantly explores ideas of identity, transition, memory and loss."

Johnny Vegas by Angelina McCormick

Johnny Vegas

Angelina McCormick
Pigment Print
24in x 24in

"Musicians spend so much of their time on the road, in strange rooms, and in front of new audiences every day. They go from having never met or interacted with the new audience to negotiating the promises and the pitfalls with the new audience every night, leaving them alone, naked, exposed and emotionally exhausted in his/her hotel room. This is the moment Angelina McCormick captures."

Mulattos on a Coach by Addie Kae Mingilton

Mulattos on a Coach

Addie Kae Mingilton
Acrylic on canvas
36in x 36in
$500 USD

"My paintings are based on photographs of my mixed-race family. Acrylic paint can be moved and maneuvered smoothly: it doesn't mix easily and dries quickly allowing me to create unblended shapes, representing my experiences as a mixed-race individual, my lack of acceptance in modern and political society, and my struggle to fit into one race or the other."

Letter to Eran, 1989 by Tamar Segev

Letter to Eran, 1989

Tamar Segev
Colored pencil, charcoal, and oil paint on Arches Oil Paper
22in x 15in
$500 USD

"My work directly investigates my grandparent's experience as Polish Jews during WW II. Many of their stories are lost to me, because of physical distance, time, and language barriers. I am interested in the transition of memory from one generation to the next; my work becomes a direct record of this search for access. Through the act of making, I am now able to spend time with my subjects."

Amara by Bonnie Sheckter


Bonnie Sheckter
Prismacolor on Matte Acetate
13.12in x 16.37in

"I am always on the look out for interesting faces to draw, and the chance to capture candid expressions which convey a variety of eloquent inner thoughts and emotions: for me, these glimpses give testament to our humanity and our empathy to one another."

WWII #3 by Aaron Sidorenko


Aaron Sidorenko
Oil and acrylic on linen
72in x 72in

"This work is part of a series of portraiture of World War II vets I had worked with and became friends with between 2012-2015. At first the work was to give some kind of immortalization of the sacrifices made. It has since turned into something greater for me. Perseverance. These men and woman who were once my age found the strength to carry on. My work wishes to convey: "Endure and Persevere"."

Echo chamber by Mike Steinhauer

Echo chamber

Mike Steinhauer
Inkjet print on Epson Premium Luster paper
20in x 20in

"My recent work is an investigation into memory-both as it is created and re-experienced. Referenced within my work are the writings of Pierre Nora: "We speak so much of memory because there is so little of it left.""

Walking past patriarchy by Mike Steinhauer

Walking past patriarchy

Mike Steinhauer
Inkjet print on Epson Premium Luster paper
20in x 20in

"I am particularly interested in the relationship between past and present use of object and space."