Orange Regional Gallery’s final exhibition of the year ‘Euan Macleod: Prints 1991-2016’ opens on December 10 at 2pm, so it’s a good time to highlight a work from our collection by this celebrated artist.
‘Inside Going Outside’ is a striking oil painting which is currently installed in the foyer at the gallery.
The painting was donated to us by Jim Cobb as part of the Chroma Collection and is a classic Macleod work with its visceral and expressive use of materials and representation of a mysterious figure wandering in a landscape.
“When I paint I start from a point of chaos and then try to bring it back around,” Macleod said in a recent conversation.
“The figure emerges from the image. I try to create tension and uncertainty in the work early on so that my full attention is brought to the process of painting.”
Macleod’s work evolves from the experience of handling pigments. While much can be said of the narrative meaning in his work, he is perhaps more interested in discussing his material processes and leaving the meaning to us.
At the time he painted ‘Inside Going Outside’ MacLeod was experiencing some breakthroughs in his painting methods and was consciously trying to push the limits of the medium.
“I was pouring and tipping the paint,” Macleod said, “putting thin over thick and breaking the rules. Sometimes I’d sweep the studio floor and mix the dust or pumice into my paints to give them more substance. This is when I would ring up Jim Cobb, [the renowned Australian paint maker] and ask his advice on what was possible and what to expect.”
For Macleod, painting is a kind of excavation. Paint is a metaphor for the primeval, geological forces that shape the world.
“You can really get the essence of a place with paint,” says MacLeod.
“Paint is often quite literally made from earth and when diluted, the watery quality lends itself to rain and erosion.”
Macleod’s use of ambiguity in his work is important in conveying the meaning. It is difficult to make out the figure as it has no clearly defined edges and dissolves within the image. This gives the impression of a fleeting glimpse which is difficult to fully resolve.
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