I first became aware of Euan Macleod's work about four years ago. I was instantly drawn to everything about his paintings. The rich, thick, expressive mark making... multiple layers of paint (sometimes scraped back), the emotive impact, palette and subject. And, that lone figure (sometimes figures). I remember wanting to know and see more. Although I did look at his work, it wasn't until this year that I really delved into his body of work and read through the publication, Euan Macleod: The Painter in the Painting (2010), Piper Press, by Gregory O'Brien. The book has 200 colour images where Macleod "takes us into the innermost regions of the human condition, exploring states of youth and aging, the relationship between human body and environment, and the processes of memory and forgetting which shape both people and places".
Much of Macleod's sensibilities and thoughts are reflected in my own concerning land, belonging, place, settlement and connection. I simply feel his work resonates with me, and I'm drawn to how he can draw you into the painting. His practice is prolific and his voice (it seems) has not deviated over time. So... when I saw that the PG Gallery here in Christchurch was having an exhibition of new works, I was more than excited. Unfortunately, an artist talk planned for midweek was cancelled due to ill health. Feeling slightly deflated at losing the possibility of seeing or meeting Mr Macleod in the flesh, I took a visit to the gallery today with two fellow artists. The exhibition did not disappoint!
Approximately 15 works were on show. Some smaller framed works in both acrylic and oil, and at least half were larger (1200 x 1500mm) with the largest measuring in around 2300 x 2500mm! The exhibition was split into two. One room showing paintings which responded to Gallipoli, while the other showed his more regular theme of the figure in rivers, on rocks, in boats, walking as he does through the landscape... sometimes lone, other times repeated or paired in alternative scales. Totally mesmerising, totally submersive (is that a word I can use?), large and emotive and full of movement and texture. And, and, and ... I could go on. But what I would say is, If you can go, and you're even half a fan, you should. I think a revisit is in order.
A link to the PG Gallery website and online exhibition follows: Click HERE.