2015 prize winners

Congratulations to our 8 winners of $25,000 in awards at the inaugural Salt Spring National Art Prize!

The intent of the Salt Spring National Art Prize is to encourage artists whose practice demonstrates originality, quality, integrity and creativity, resulting in significant work with a real visual impact and depth of meaning.

The Joan McConnell Award and Residency for the best work in the competition

$10,000 + Salt Spring Island Artists Residency in 2016 to the value of $5,000


Building (All the rooming houses on my street have had their front door removed.)
81″ high x 48″ wide x 37″ deep
Sewing thread, laser print on vellum, artist’s childhood front door, cement, time.

“My socially engaged practice can be understood as working to rebuild doors whose removal increases vulnerability and removes dignity.

This piece is documentation of that process. It involves time to knit together the small threads that build relationships, questioning what anchors our current systems which require rooming houses (and my role in them) and translating this fragile pricess back to a gallery.”

Peters_Corrie_TCorrie Peters
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Corrie Peters is a post-disciplinary artist whose primary medium is relationship.

She has learned about art and how to be in the world from the many people who have been willing to sit with her in her ignorance, struggles and joys; people who have taught her the strength of silence and the realities of systems of power.

Peters currently lives with her family on Treaty One Land in Winnipeg.


Three Juror’s Choice Awards of $1,000 each represent the individual choices of each juror

Juror’s Choice – Vicky Chainey Gagnon

Baillargeon_ Annie_Les-Cannibales

Les Cannibales
41″ high x 48″ wide
Ink jet print and water colour

Annie Baillargeon’s photomontages create singular spaces that spring forth from a fertile imagination. The collage effect, at once technical, figurative and symbolic, conjures multiple readings and lends itself to a rapturous poetic language. The subtlety and finesse in her work is in the latent unease that underlies her invented universe, putting the individual under stress to reveal her strength and her fragility.

Baillargeon_Annie_TAnnie Baillargeon
Québec City, Québec

Annie Baillargeon lives and works in Québec City. For the past decade, she has been pursuing a multidisciplinary practice based on an exalting and transgressive representation of the female body.

Baillargeon is a co-founding member of the multidisciplinary collective Les Fermières Obsédées, whose performances and interventions have, since 2001, lent an unruliness to the genre of action art. She has exhibited as a solo artist in art-run centres in Québec and Canada such as L’Oeil de Poisson and Centre VU in Québec City, Espace F in Matane, Galerie Séquence in Saguenay and Galerie 44 in Toronto.

Baillargeon has participated in group exhibitions including L’Envers des Apparences at the Montréal Museum of Contemporary Art, C’est arrivée près de chez vous at the Musée National des Beaux-arts de Québec, the Constructed Images at the Contact Photography Festival in Toronto and most recently at the Liverpool Biennale.


Juror’s Choice – Holger Kalberg


Lunch Break in Les Tuileries
14.25″ high x 19″ wide
Collage on paper

Lunch Break in Les Tuileries is an exampole of McNeil’s fresh and detailed approach to capturing life in urban environments. With the medium of collage, the artist examines the variations of colour, movement and texture in the world around her.

The brilliant August mid-day light in this Parisian park dances over the two women taking part in an everday ritual of eating lunch. After capturing these types of scenes with her camera, McNeil recreates the moment later in her studio, by assembling tiny pieces of printed media.

McNeil_Jessie_TJessie McNeil
Vancouver, British Columbia

Jessie McNeil holds a BFA from Emily Carr University and has completed her first artist residency project at the Estonian Printing Museum/Studio, Tartuensis in Tartu, Estonia. Since her graduation in 2013, McNeil has shown in solo and group exhibitions throughout British Columbia, Toronto, Ontario and most currently, the coastal town of Viimsi Estonia.

In her interdisciplinary art practrice, McNeil addresses themes of place and memory with an emphasis on cultural history, identity and language. Her figurative paper-based collages, which she calls portraits of place, are made with the eye of a street photographer, while fulfilling the artist’s need to cut, paste, smudge and assemble.


Juror’s Choice – Ian Thomas


We’d Like To Help
48″ high x 48″ wide
Oil on canvas

The painting We’d Like To Help depicts an arrangement of objects that balances between still-life and pure abstraction. Narratives develop between the objects and they acquire animate characteristics. One object speaks, as the title implies, inviting each viewer to become part of the narrative.

Sparks_ME_TM.E. Sparks
Vancouver, British Columbia

M.E. Sparks lives in Vancouver, British Columbia where she is completing a Master of Applied Arts at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Sparks has been an artist in residence in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, a past recipient of Arts Nova Scotia Creation Grant and Nova Scotia Talent Trust, and a recent recipient of the Gordon and Marion Smith Painting Scholarship.


The Alliance of Salt Spring Artists (ASA) Award of $1,000 for best local artist


Wild Horse Wind Farm
18″ high x 36″ wide

medium format, negative photography

“Development on the Columbia River—dams and nuclear power—contributed to migration to lands that weren’t suited for the grand ambitions of these projects.

This is the area I call The Other Side. The land and the people are dry, but not brittle. Wild Horse Wind Farm finds opportunity in abandonment, describing a postmodern future for a neglected yet resilient landscape.”

Huber_Susan_TSusan Huber
Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

“I work to capture the mysteries inherent in all landscapes. My camera seeks out quirky undertones. I look for subjects that are unguarded, close to nature, and still agreeable to the idea of magic. I am inspired by large format photography and 19th Century processes in the work of Eugene Atget, Eduoard Baldus and Charles Marville.”

Susan Huber had camera-maker R.H. Phillips construct a large format camera which remains her primary camera to this day. She use platinum/palladium for its depth and warmth, and gravitates toward silver chloride Printing-Out Papers such as AZO and POP.

Huber is “mindful of the poignancy of absences, and the raw sophistication in the geometries of the built environment.” The ghosts of complex histories and uncertain futures wander through her frames.

Huber’s work is found in private collections in Europe, North America, South America and Russia.


Three Rosemarie Behncke Peoples’ Choice Awards determined by a vote of exhibition visitors

1st Prize – $3,000


Tailgate Party
48″ high x 42″ wide
Oil on canvas

Tailgate Party reflects the lifetime we spend consuming and hoarding. We see the reality of how much we throw out in our consumer society when the end of life comes. What is left goes to the landfill. The next generation comes along to dispose of it, and the cycle begins again.

Tailgate Party is part of the Stuff Series. For these paintings, Nicola built the complete set before undertaking each painting.

Wheston_Nicola_TNicola Wheston
Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

Nicola Wheston trained at the Ruskin School of Drawing, Oxford, England and at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

For her first twelve years, Wheston worked as a master printmaker, specializing in Intaglio printing. For the last thirty years, she has worked full-time as a painter with a focus on both figurative and landscape painting. Her paintings are all created from direct observation.

Wheston’s work has been shown in galleries in Canada, Mexico and the UK.


2nd Prize – $2,000


8″ high x 5″ wide
Embossing and collograph, 6 plates

The pristine beauty of winter and its change into spring is the inspiration for this piece. As the sun becomes stronger in the spring the light brings changes. The snow sparkles and sags into the crevices and over the edges of the rocks as they reveal themselves in the warmth of the spring sunshine. Changes is an abstraction of those images.

Slighte_Patricia_TPatricia Slighte
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Patricia Slighte is a Graduate of the Ontario College of Art and has an interest in art and design. She has recently been involved in several public art and collaborative projects, acrylic painting and printmaking. Slighte is a new member of a printmaking studio and has been working steadily to explore this new medium.

An emerging printmaker, Slighte is inspired by the environment in which she lives. The cold is intense, but the snow and light in Northern Canada are breathtaking.


3rd Prize – $1,000


The Death of Mr. Wolfe
22″ high x 40″ wide
Ink on paper

The Death Of Mr. Wolf depicts a tragic scene in a dystopian wasteland.

The title and the dying anthropomorphic figure in the foreground are attribute to Benjamin West’s masterpiece, The Death of General Wolfe. The mountain looming in the background is Mount Robson and the mass of disused and decaying objects contains references to art history and Canadiana.

Button_Eric_TEric Button
Vancouver, British Columbia

Eric Button is an artist living and working in Vancouver. He holds a BFA with a major in illustration from Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

Nature and Canadian culture are common themes in his work, which he explores with a sense of humour and a touch of cynicism.