This December, EB&Flow
present an exhibition of new work from Threadneedle Prize 2011 Visitors Choice Winner, Nicholas McLeod. McLeods meticulously painted sinister landscapes of abandoned places, wastelands and crime scenes employ a sense of power and energy.
McLeods work investigates how a quotidian setting can easily become threatening; fictional scenes indicate that some event has taken place, or is just about to, but nothing is explicitly revealed. In depicting abandoned clapboard houses, disused water parks and remote farms, a general atmosphere of darkness and unease is apparent although not prescribed. Badlands was created using source material gathered from films, documentaries and the internet as part of McLeods ongoing documentation of contrastingly banal yet ominous crime scene images. McLeods paintings often create a mood of isolation and all of his works are noticeably absent of human form and habitation.
The crux of the image is built up using acrylics; oils are then applied creating visual tension as the image distorts and destabilises. In Hunting Ohio, sections such as the trees are defined vividly in acrylic. This intricacy works alongside parts more chaotically applied. In all his work, McLeod uses paint in many different ways; pouring and flicking, spitting at the canvas and pushing directly into the paint with tools such as trowels, sticks and brooms to create a textured surface.
As layers are built up they eradicate previous parts of the painting rebranding it and hiding what was once there. Small parts remain visible acting as a history of the ghost marks which lie beneath. McLeod explains; I see the poured paint as a kind of curtain or veil which acts as a device by which the forms are hidden, distorted and bleached out. In Digital Hardcore chemicals drip through the image in stripes breaking down the pigment. These lines run through the painting playing with your eyes and reference the work of Turner Prize nominee Ian Davenport.
McLeod draws on a variety of references from traditional 19th century British landscape artists such as Turner and Constable as well as 17th century Dutch landscape painters, yet his source material is almost exclusively American. These landscapes seem familiar yet distant thanks to a ubiquitous TV presence which has developed a fictitious otherworldly association.
Born in Norfolk in 1982, London-based artist Nicholas McLeod graduated in Fine Art from City and Guilds of London Art School in 2009. McLeod was awarded the Threadneedle Prize Visitors Choice Award 2011, The Norman Ackroyd Award for Printmaking in 2009 and the Printmaking Prize for Technical Excellence: City and Guilds of London Art School in 2007. His work has been included in group exhibitions including Threadneedle Prize exhibition at the Mall Galleries (London, 2011); One Year On at 72 Theobalds Road (London, 2011); Garage Show at Royal College Street in (London, 2010); Postcards From Dystopia at Nolias Gallery (London,2009); Interim Show at Electricians Shop (London, 2008); Adopted Art at Cafe Royal (London, 2008) and Interim Show at Maddox St. Gallery (London,