Christian McLeod

Artist Summary

Christian McLeod is the particle physicist of Canadian art. McLeod’s paintings produce new matter from the kinetic energy of oil-based pigments colliding across his canvasses. He daubs and scrapes, pushing and pulling mounds of oil-based colours until he has seized a sliver of time, a snapshot of change.

Full Biography

Profile

Christian McLeod is the particle physicist of Canadian art.

McLeod’s paintings produce new matter from the kinetic energy of oil-based pigments colliding across his canvasses. He daubs and scrapes, pushing and pulling mounds of oil-based colours until he has seized a sliver of time, a snapshot of change. In vibrant abstract works, McLeod interprets the beauty and destruction of the contemporary landscape, capturing the shift between a perceived image and the particles that comprise the whole picture.

After graduating from the Toronto School of Art in 1992 McLeod moved to Spain, where he exhibited locally on the island of Ibiza. He’s also lived and worked in Mexico and Germany. Currently, his art practice is based in Toronto, Canada.

McLeod’s work is showcased in corporate and public collections, including MHPM in Halifax and Calgary and The Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, Ontario, and in private collections across Canada, the U.S., Spain, the Netherlands and New Zealand. His paintings have also been chosen to represent charitable organizations (such as Casey House’s Art with Heart fundraiser) and for book covers for the University of Oxford Press. For two years in a row, McLeod’s paintings have been selected for “Ideas and Visions for a New Concept of Architecture,” a project with the School of Architecture, University of Valencia in Spain. His work has also been featured in recent articles in Chatelaine, Ottawa Magazine, and 1969. Christian McLeod’s painting ‘Perhaps the terrace of this garden overlooks only the lake of our minds’ will be published by Oxford Press on the cover of Philip Goff book – Consciousness and Fundamental Reality.

Texts

1968 Magazine (interview) – To create something beautiful or powerful or important out of nothing… that inspires me.

Reactor (interview) (featured in dotdotdot magazine) – There is a tension in the work. I like to make it an effort to figure out the story. But it takes a lot of patience, a long time to capture that sense of a frozen moment, so I expect my audience to take the time too, to look closely.

Artist’s Statement (Valencia Architecture Conference) – There is perhaps something utopian in my work, but I seek to excavate our recent history to find a way forward, rather than imposing the fetish of the new.

Steve Rockwell – The roots of McLeod’s impulse to paint digs deep into the soil of the primitive.

Martin Mills – Colour itself comes to the fore, along with something I refer to as, for want of better term, “nature,” both unimpeded by a quest for meaning or prophecies of impending catastrophe.

Martin Mills – In his recent paintings, Christian McLeod is engaging directly with the historical changes taking place in his homeland, both the first epoch, wherein wilderness was turned to pasture, and the current epoch, where that which was below the ground is brought to the surface.

John K. Grande – McLeod brings a new energy to abstraction, drawing on and mixing a range of sources like the internet, raw environmental and experiential phenomena, digital screen imaging and video for his art.

John K. Grande – As a painter, he challenges the codes of contemporary abstraction, leaving touches of figuration. These works reference visual experience and the realities of a mediatized society.

Martin Mills – McLeod is obsessed with recording, seeing this as the function of the artist. He is at pains to point out that there is no moral interpretation going on here, merely observation.

Craig Scott – [A]n uncanny ability to place highlights or zones or textured streaks of colour in a way that both teases the eye, moving it around the canvas, and (often) signals a more representational element in his work…

Gary Michael Dault – He clearly finds delight in the rapturous, convulsive nature of untrammeled paint-handling, losing himself in its irrational joys…

Martin Mills – We see depicted the effects of time and place on our collective mental landscape, drawn down into something resembling a coherent statement, yet never quite within the grasp of language.

Artist’s Statement

“When a poignant place of clarity is reached the image takes on its own immortal life’

“I fill as much chaotic beauty into a canvas as to achieve a lifetime of looking”

Christian McLeod