Euan Macleod  
 


 

High And Low
Nockart Gallery, Hong Kong
March 20 - May 19, 2017

“Every landscape is, as it were, a state of the soul, and whoever penetrates into both is astonished to find how much likeness there is in each detail.”

Henri Frédéric Amiel, 1852


The Nockart Gallery, in partnership with the Nock Art Foundation, is pleased to present “High and Low,” featuring new paintings by New Zealand-born artist Euan Macleod.

The exhibition comprises of 10 paintings on canvas and a selection from a suite of 41 works on paper created after a trip to China’s spectacular Yellow Mountain (Huangshan) in 2016.

The paintings further attests to Macleod’s ability to engage with a landscape and capture its primal essence through his energetic application of paint. An UNESCO listed World Heritage site, Yellow Mountain is notable for its magnificent natural beauty, which has been an inspiration to centuries of Chinese art and literature, including traditional Shanshui (“mountain-water”) painting. Macleod’s paintings of Yellow Mountain, on the other hand, exemplify an aesthetic of landscape painting that can be described as “Australasian”—through heavy strokes and smears of paint, Macleod shapes his vision of the granite rocks and pines that appear to emerge from mystical clouds, and injecting them with the presence of human figures, both real and imaginary.

 


       
 

A BACKWARD GLANCE
Bowen Galleries,Wellington, NZ
3 – 29 April 2017.

Euan will be giving a floor talk at 11.30am on Saturday 8 April and will then be at the gallery until 3.00pm.

Integral to the backward glancing sweep of these paintings is the New Zealand landscape—beit Macleod’s childhood locale of Lyttelton Harbour, or the Southern Alps, which he encountered later in his youth. These works also chronicle recent forays into outlying areas from Fiordland to inland Canterbury. Once a gold-mining site, Skippers Canyon, near Queenstown, offered the kind of existential echo-chamber that Macleod’s art has long thrived upon. Juggling both a sense of belonging and alienation, his paintings of Tunnel Beach, a short distance south of Dunedin, are a visual equivalent of James K. Baxter’s elemental poem, ‘Tunnel Beach’:

The waist-high sea was rolling
Thunder along her seven iron beaches
As we climbed down to rocks and the curved sand…

In the six years since the publication of Euan Macleod—the painter in the painting (Piper Press, Sydney), the artist’s world has continued to broaden. Extensive bodies of work have been inspired by travels through Europe, to Gallipoli on the Turkish Peninsula, Hong Kong and Mainland China, as well as the aforementioned journeys around the South Island. A tour of Fiordland in 2015 further enhanced his evolving vision of southern New Zealand. For Macleod, as for any artist worth their salt, contemplating these landscapes becomes, inadvertently, a process of looking backwards into history—to the Fiordland visited by Captain Cook in the late 18th century, to Shotover River during its gold-mining heyday, and also to the settlements and seasonal routes of Ngai Tahu over many centuries.

Gregory O’Brien 2017

 


 

 
SWING/BRIDGE
Watters Gallery, Sydney
September 5 - 30, 2017

Humanity is so closely linked to its environment, write Pope Francis in Laudato Si, that we ‘feel the desertification of the soil almost as a physical ailment, and the extinction of a species as a painful disfigurement’. It is a question of balance as well as movement, whether standing still or moving along a thread-like path on a hillside, whether wading through river-water or crossing a swing-bridge in the company of other hikers or a herd of cattle:

Some things
you can’t blame on a river—
crossing a swing-bridge
by horse, five or six cattle
following at a time,
if one of them panicked they would all
lose their balance,
you’d join them in the Whanganui River
forty metres below.

Earlier this year New Zealand achieved a legal first when, after much consultation with Maori groups, ‘legal
personhood’ was accorded to the Whanganui River, 200km north of Wellington. The waterway now has the right to be represented in a court of law. Therein lies a proof that, in fundamental ways, we can change the terms upon which we engage with the environment. Such an acknowledgement that humanity is umbilically linked not only to water, but also to soil and air and a broader concept of nature, has been at the heart of Euan Macleod’s painterly project for the over three decades now.