2019 Plaskett and Petry Award Recipients

2019 Plaskett Award Winner – Caroline Mousseau

Painter Caroline Mousseau in her studio. Photo credit: Richelle Forsey.
Painter Caroline Mousseau in her studio.
Photo credit: Richelle Forsey.

Caroline Mousseau holds a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and is currently completing her MFA at the University of Guelph. She is investigating how the formal practice of craft can inform a methodological and philosophical framework for a feminist approach to abstract painting. Her work aims to highlight how the process of slow consideration is a fruitful ground for abstraction in an immediate world.

The jury found Mousseau’s work enticing both from a formal and a conceptual point of view. They appreciated the clever deconstruction of the abstract expressionist brushstroke through slow, deliberate gestures. In addition to the brilliant technique seen in her works, her strong artist statement confirmed a solid conceptual understanding, allowing her to confidently deal with important issues in painting, and to question the tropes of abstraction.

Mousseau plans to base her work in Berlin in order to focus her attention on contemporary dialogues that are being generated by its high concentration of painters, curators, and writers. She intends to visit institutions that highlight the history of formalist abstraction like the Kröller-Müller, Stedelijk and Groninger museums in the Netherlands; the National Gallery in Norway; and the Glyptotek and Statens museums in Copenhagen. In parallel, she will research the contemporary relevance of craft in art, as well as the history of craft and design as it crosses folk art, Modernism, De Stijl, and the Bauhaus. She envisions her time in Europe as a crucial opportunity to focus solely on painting, and to physically examine Europe’s rich shifts in gesture, materiality and formalist abstraction from the 19th–20th centuries into current context.

2019 Petry Award Winner – Lauren Pelc-McArthur

Painter Lauren Pelc-McArthur in her studio. Photo credit: Richard-Max Tremblay.
Painter Lauren Pelc-McArthur in her studio.
Photo credit: Richard-Max Tremblay.

Lauren Pelc-McArthur holds a BFA from OCAD University, and is currently in the third year of her MFA at Concordia University. In her work, she aims to express the potentialities of digital culture as well as addressing its seduction, shallowness, and inherent conflicts of meaning. Using paint with matte and glossy films, iridescent pigments, and pastel-hued impasto application, Pelc-McArthur destabilises the act of screen-biased painting through scattering optical effects, which are difficult to see unless one is physically with the work. In her paintings, she creates spaces that she populates with cyclical imagery, primordial life forms and flora, suggestions of technological apparatuses, and transforming humans.

The jury was impressed by Pelc-McArthur’s varied and complex paintings, which combine multiple innovative painting techniques to create visually mutable surfaces that evoke the instability of the digital. The quality of her application was further confirmed with a well-written artist statement, a clear plan for her time abroad, and an enthusiastic reference letter from Janet Werner.

Pelc-McArthur intends to apply to the Leipzig International Artist Residency. She also plans to visit the Moscow Museum of Modern Art and discover their significant collection of Russian Avant-Garde painting. She also wishes to visit CERN, to witness and research through the eyes of an artist what is at the vanguard of science. As she is fascinated with the sculptures of Medardo Rosso, and how he explored fluidity and surface, she hopes to visit the museum dedicated to his work in Italy.