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Euan Macleod: The Painter in the Painting

Euan Macleod: The Painter in the Painting


Gregory O’Brien

ISBN 9780975190197

Out of print.

Greg O’Brien received New Zealand’s highest award for writing shortly after writing Euan Macleod.

‘The drama of Macleod’s life is all in his work – in the increasingly complex play of symbols that simultaneously conceals and reveals his thoughts and feelings, and in the energetic application of paint to a flat surface... He is a painter who finds his fulfilment in action rather than reflection. The imagery comes first; the meaning emerges gradually, almost reluctantly. It is only when this great surge of activity is captured within the pages of a book that the shadowy figure in these paintings is transmuted into a complex portrait of the artist.’
—John McDonald

Macleod paints from the core of his being, taking us into innermost regions of the human condition. His works explore 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. Writer Gregory O’Brien looks at the origins of these works in the artist’s life, and in the many strands of Australasian art and history which have shaped them. He explores the ways Macleod has increasingly come to inhabit these tempestuous yet strangely luminous canvases.

Since his arrival in Sydney from Christchurch in 1981, Macleod’s development has been parallelled by the progress—within the paintings themselves—of a lone figure traversing land, sea and sky. This figure is at once Everyman and he is the painter himself. Macleod’s canvases are both an awakening and a laying to rest of ghosts. Like Virgil in Dante’s Divine Comedy, the walking figure leads the viewer towards new ways of seeing and experiencing the world.