19 Oct 2014

The Painter in the Painting

From Standing Room Only, 2:49 pm on 19 October 2014

In Island (2007/2011) Courtesy of Bowen Galleries. Photo: Michael Brouet.

Thirty years of lonely figures in unsettling landscapes have come together in an exhibition of the work of artist Euan Macleod.

Rocks and Snow (2012) Courtesy of Bowen Galleries. Photo: Michael Brouet.

The Painter in the Painting is the title of a major survey show at Tauranga Art Gallery Toi Tauranga. This is a New Zealand first for Euan, so to celebrate, he’s created a special work for the foyer. It’s a six metre high oil painting of two figures in a boat, contemplating an erupting White Island.

Euan Macleod
Out Of Which Arising (2014) Photo: Radio New Zealand.

It’s easily Euan’s largest work to date and also one of his most challenging. He says although he didn’t want it to, this painting somewhat encapsulates all the themes and the history of his work as an artist.

‘Sometimes people will ask “why do you use the figure?” And I don’t know. Some people will say “why are you still using the figure?” and I still don’t know. But it just makes sense to me.”

Boat Above Submerged Figures (2012) Courtesy of Bowen Galleries. Photo: Michael Brouet.

This show covers the period of 1984-2014. Euan has been based in Australia since the early 1980’s and says looking at his early works now is like reading a dairy.

“You look at them and you recognise it as you, but it’s you from the past. Most survey shows you’ll see, there does seem to be certain something that the artist is grappling with that keeps popping up in the work. You may change the way you say it and your language may get more sophisticated, but there’s still that desire to tell that truth.”

Island (2012) Private Collection.

Produced by Justin Gregory.