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Small Man’s Problems Robert McLeod


10th October - 3rd November 2012

44 Roslyn Gardens, Elizabeth Bay, NSW 2011. +61 2 8353 3500 / +61 2 439 776 655


ROBERT MCLEOD Rob McLeod is a painter based in Wellington, New Zealand, where he has lived now for 40 years. Originally from Glasgow, he came down south in search of new horizons in 1972, and has never left. His exuberant cartoon-based figures of stressed office workers, mummies, mutant Mickeys, banshees and ogres, seem to literally leap off the walls, trespassing into the viewer’s space. Not restricted by the parameters of a frame, McLeod’s creatures are cut out of marine plywood. Crossing into the domain of installation and sculpture, they can be propped against walls, occupy corners of rooms and thereby provide endless visual hooks. These are paintings set on testing boundaries, more particularly the line between repulsion and fascination. The limits of painting and its relationship with the viewer are continually challenged. Wildly idiosyncratic yet formally and conceptually complex, these paintings confound and unsettle. They taunt their audience to look and think again, to work or laugh harder. As McLeod explains “The cartoon-inspired characters are familiar and initially endearing. They are sometimes benign and harmless but more often aggressive and with a dark underside. They can be unpleasant and violent but, as in a cartoon, nobody stays hurt or feels real pain. This is a painted reality. Everyone recovers.” McLeod constantly extends the experience of painting as something to be both made and encountered. He challenges the way painting can operate in and on the contemporary world, and its relationship to other media like sculpture, installation and video. McLeod argues that to remain relevant painting must force active viewing rather than passive contemplation. Painting ‘needs to do more than sit quietly on the wall’. It must meet its audience on other terms, in other ways, while always remaining resolutely painting. Trained at Glasgow School of Art, McLeod graduated with a Diploma of Art, Drawing and Painting in 1969. After leaving art school, he moved into abstraction, which continued well into the late nineties. It wasn’t until 1999 that figuration started reappearing in his work. By 2002 all his painting was completely figurative. From this point on, McLeod slowly developed his pastiche of vaudeville-meets-Looney Tunes characters with an overlay of imagery from his early life in Glasgow. An extensive exhibition history that dates from 1985, he has been the recipient of several art awards. His work is included in several significant private collections including the James Wallace Collection, Auckland as well as several institutions such as the Te Papa Museum in Wellington and The Auckland City Gallery, Auckland. This is McLeod’s first exhibition with Michael Reid at Elizabeth Bay.


LIST OF ARTWORKS Small Man Alone, 2011 Oil and enamel on marine ply 98 x 56cm Small Man Hiding a Problem, 2011 Oil and enamel on marine ply 105 x 62cm Small Man Rejecting a Past, 2011 Oil and enamel on marine ply 105 x 83cm Small Man Running away from a Problem, 2011 Oil and enamel on marine ply 99 x 96cm Small Man Saved, 2012 Oil and enamel on marine ply 95 x 90cm Small Man’s Pleasures, 2012 Oil and enamel on marine ply 136 x 60cm Three Sketches for Small Man Stressed, 2012 Oil and enamel on marine ply 88.5 x 25cm / 81.5 x 20cm / 87.5 x 30cm The Three Graces, 2011 Oil and enamel on marine ply Each figure measuring 290 x 60cm


Small Man Alone, 2011 Oil and enamel on marine ply 98 x 56cm


Small Man Hiding a Problem, 2011 Oil and enamel on marine ply 105 x 62cm


Small Man Rejecting a Past, 2011 Oil and enamel on marine ply 105 x 83cm


Small Man Running away from a Problem, 2011 Oil and enamel on marine ply 99 x 96cm


Small Man Saved, 2012 Oil and enamel on marine ply 95 x 90cm


Small Man’s Pleasures, 2012 Oil and enamel on marine ply 136 x 60cm


Three Sketches for Small Man Stressed, 2012 Oil and enamel on marine ply 88.5 x 25cm / 81.5 x 20cm / 87.5 x 30cm


The Three Graces, 2011 Oil and enamel on marine ply Each figure measuring 290 x 60cm


ROBERT MCLEOD Born Glasgow 1948 Glasgow School of Art, 1965 – 1969 Diploma of Art, Drawing and Painting Arrived New Zealand 1972

Selected Solo Exhibitions 2012 Michael Reid at Elizabeth Bay, Sydney City Gallery, Wellington. Supporting Partick Thistle, Paintings, Rob McLeod Tauranga Art Gallery, Mixing Different Heavens 2011

Bath Street Gallery, Auckland. The 3 Graces Struggle With The Goochi Handbag Auckland Art Fair. Proud To Commit Commercial Suicide. With Paulnache Gallery, Gisborne

2010 Paulnache, Gisborne. Small Men, Imperialists, Impostors Imperialists and Banshees 2009 Beatty Gallery at Mary Place, Sydney, Imperialists, Impostors, Banshees and Small Stories 2008 Bath Street Gallery, Auckland. Large Paintings The Pencil Gallery, Gisborne. The Not Poussin Paintings Campbell Grant Gallery, Christchurch. Pages From The DMB 2007 Dunedin Public Art Gallery. No Stop, No Pause, No Fast Forward 2006 Edmiston Duke Gallery, Auckland. Giving Colour to Mister Serious and Other Works Expressions Arts Centre, Upper Hutt, The Rob McLeod Show (Mickey Paintings) Eastern Southland Gallery, Gore. No stop, No Pause, No Fast Forward 2005 Judith Anderson Gallery, Hawkes Bay. Paintings, 1995 to 2005 Southland Museum and Art Gallery, Invercargill. No Stop, No Pause, No Fast Forward


2005 The Pencil Gallery, Gisborne. To Mickey Campbell Grant Gallery, Christchurch. Large Paintings Edmiston Duke Gallery, Auckland. Talking About Art and Other Small Paintings 2004 Bowen Galleries, Wellington. True Kiwi Content and Puppet Games Campbell Grant Gallery, Christchurch. Thin Culture and Other Painting 2003 Judith Anderson Gallery, Auckland. Pointless Political Piece and Other Paintings 2002 Pataka Museum, Porirua, A Long Way Home: Three Decades Of Painting Ashburton Art Gallery, Ashburton. Meet Mutant Mickey Bowen Galleries, Wellington, Small Mickey Paintings 2001 Judith Anderson Gallery, Auckland. Meet Rapunzel, Mutant Mickey, Joseph and Other Large Paintings Bowen Galleries, Wellington, Meet Mutant Mickey 2000 Campbell Grant Gallery, Christchurch, Small Shelf Paintings University of Canterbury, Fine Arts Gallery, Large Shelf Paintings 1999 Bowen Galleries, Wellington, Paintings Large and Small 1998 Judith Anderson Gallery, Auckland, Paintings Campbell Grant Gallery, Christchurch, New Works 1997

Sarjeant Gallery, Wanganui, The Objects, the Game and the Life: a Survey Show, 1972-97 Bowen Galleries, Wellington. The Doctor’s Dog, Visitors, Dead Cowboys and other Paintings

1996 Bowen Galleries, Wellington, Small Paintings Hawkes Bay Exhibition Centre, Shaped Paintings 1995 Bowen Galleries, Wellington, Paintings 1994 New Work Studio, Wellington, New Works


1993 Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland, Minimalist Paintings 1981-1982 New Work Studio, Wellington Small Shaped Paintings 1991

Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland Large Drawings Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland Shaped Paintings CSA Gallery, Christchurch, High School Exercise Drawings

1990 Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland Domestic Flavours Paintings, Two Large Floor Works and High School Exercise Drawings Gregory Flint Gallery, Wellington, New and Old Paintings 1989 Louise Beale Gallery, Wellington, Domestic Flavours Paintings 1988 Louise Beale Gallery, Wellington, Small Paintings 1972-82 1987 Artis Gallery, Auckland. Buchanan Paintings 1986 Artis Gallery, Auckland. Paintings and Drawings (Shaped Minimalist Paintings. Lanark Drawings) 1985 Louise Beale Gallery, Wellington Lanark Drawing. Red Metro Gallery, Auckland Lanark Drawings Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt Paintings and Drawings (Shaped Minimalist Paintings, Lanark Drawings) 1984 Louise Beale Gallery, Wellington, Stiff Jumble Paintings 1983 Louise Beale Gallery, Wellington, Lanark Drawings 1981

City Art Gallery, Wellington, Paintings and Drawing, 1972-81 Petar James Gallery, Auckland, Minimalist Paintings

1980 Petar James Gallery, Auckland, Splatter Paintings 1979

Elva Bett Gallery, Wellington, Splatter Paintings


1979

Petar James Gallery, Auckland, Splatter Paintings

1978 Elva Bett Gallery, Wellington, Splatter Paintings 1977

Govett Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, Paintings 1974-77 Peter Webb Galleries, Auckland, Grids Elva Bett Gallery, Wellington, Grids and Tartans

1974

Antipodes Gallery, Wellington, Paintings

Selected Group Shows 2011

Smallworks Gallery, Brisbane, Looksee

2005 Wallace Art Award, Touring Exhibition 2004 Wallace Art Award, Touring Exhibition Pataka Museum of Art and Cultures (touring), Representation and Reality 2000 Pataka Museum of Art and Cultures, Think Colour Te Papa, Collectors Choice 1997

Page 90, Porirua, Common Ground: 10 Male Artists Manawatu Art Gallery, Palmerston North, More than a Floor

1995 Wellington City Art Gallery, Local Colour 1994 Wellington City Arts Festival, Strange New Land 1990 CSA Gallery, Christchurch, Hogging the Floor 1987 Wellington City Art Gallery, Off the Wall


1987 Wellington City Art Gallery, Drawing Analogies 1986 National Art Gallery, Shed 11, Wellington, Content/Context 1985 Stephen Mori Gallery, Sydney, Perspecta 1978 Dowse Art Gallery, Lower Hutt, Three Painters 1976

Auckland City Art Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand Drawing Manawatu Art Gallery, Palmerston North, Four Wellington Artists

1975

Barrington Gallery, Auckland Figurative Art Now

1973

New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington, Eight Young Artists

Artist Residencies 2006 Mataura Licensing Trust 50th Anniversary Inaugural Artist In Residence

Collections •

Te Papa, Wellington

Pataka Museum of Art and Cultures, Porirua.

The Auckland City Art Gallery, Auckland

The Robert McDougall Gallery, Christchurch

The Sarjeant Gallery, Wanganui

Manawatu Art Gallery, Palmerston North.

Dowse Art Gallery, Lower Hutt.

The Bath House, Rotorua.

Victoria University, Wellington.

Wellington College of Education, Wellington.


Christchurch College of Education, Christchurch.

Christchurch Institute of Technology, Christchurch.

James Wallace Collection, Auckland.

The Real Art Roadshow.

Awards 2005 Runner up Prize, Wallace Art Awards 2004 Jury Prize, Wallace Art Awards 1998 Lillian Ida-Smith Award for Painting 1981

QEII Arts Council Grant

1978 Rotorua Art Award 1977

QEII Arts Council Grant

Selected Bibliography Dan Chappell, Figuring it all out, pp.72-75 (illus) Art News NZ, Summer 2011 Process. Robert McLeod, Artist Profile, Australia Issue 17 2011. pp 122-123. (illus) Dandini Comes Clean. Ed. Aaron Lister (2011) published Paulnache Aaron Lister (2004) Robert McLeod, Travelling With The Happy Worm. Art New Zealand No 109, pp.66-69 Preview. Process. Robert McLeod. Artist Profile. Issue 17, 2011, p122-123. Dan Chappell. Organised chaos in the exuberant paintings of Rob McLeod. Art News New Zealand. Summer 2011 Dandini Comes Clean.Paintings by Robert McLeod (2011). Edited, Aaron Lister PAULNACHE publishing An Orange In A Fried Fish Shop: Paintings by Robert McLeod (2003) Essay, Aaron Lister: published Craig Potton Ltd. Katy Corner Postcards p 26 (illus) Art News New Zealand, Spring 2002 A Long Way Home: Rob McLeod. (2002). Catalogue essay, H. Kedgley; published by Pataka Museum of Art and Cultures Think Colour. (2000). Catalogue essay, J. Mane-Wheoki; published by Pataka Museum of Art and Cultures Allan Smith. (1998) Robert McLeod and the Giggler in the Wood (illus). Art New Zealand, No 85, pp.37-41 The Objects, the Game and the Life: A Survey Show (1997). Catalogue essay, M. Scaife; published by Sarjeant Gallery Local Colour (1995) Catalogue essay, A. Smith; published by Wellington City Art Gallery Warwick Brown (1995) One Hundred New Zealand Paintings, Auckland: Godwit.


Allan Smith (1990) Ways to do More and More (illus). Art New Zealand, No 56, pp.70- 74 Susan Foster (1988) Robert McLeod: An Interview (illus). Art New Zealand, No 46, pp.64-67 Soft Paradigms (1987) Catalogue essay, I. Wedde; published by Wellington City Art Gallery. The Grid: Lattice and Network (1987) Catalogue essay, A. Bogle; published by Auckland City Art Gallery. Content/Context: A Survey of Recent New Zealand Art (1986) Catalogue essay, L. Bieringa: published by National Art Gallery Elva Bett (1986) New Zealand Art: A Modern Perspective. Auckland: Reed and Methuen Six New Zealand Artists: Perspecta 85 (1985) Catalogue essay, C. Sotheran: published by Mori Gallery, Sydney Susan Foster (1985) Wellington Review (illus) Art New Zealand, No 36, p.22 Jim and Mary Barr (1980) Contemporary New Zealand Painters, Martinborough: Alister Taylor Peter Cape (1979) New Painting since 1960 Auckland: Collins Neil Rowe (1978) Wellington Review (illus) Art New Zealand, No 11, pp.19, 61


44 Roslyn Gardens, Elizabeth Bay, NSW 2011. +61 2 8353 3500 / +61 2 439 776 655


ABOUT ROBERT MCLEOD

Small Man's Problems - Robert McLeod  

This is McLeod’s first exhibition with Michael Reid at Elizabeth Bay. Rob McLeod is a painter based in Wellington, New Zealand, where he has...

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