Wellington painter Rob McLeod’s first and last solo showing at City Gallery Wellington was in 1981, an exhibition of expressionist and minimalist abstraction. His paintings return to the gallery in 2012 utterly transformed.
Rejecting their modernist origins and driven by an ever-pressing need to take new form and acquire new energies, McLeod’s paintings are now governed by a bawdy, cartoon-based figuration. These paintings heave with confounding imagery, amorphous figures and riotous crowds that have fled the frame and come off the wall to invade the physical and psychological spaces of the viewer. It’s all driven by McLeod’s belief that to remain relevant painting must push its own conventions and boundaries, that it can no longer sit quietly and reverentially on the wall.
Supporting Partick Thistle draws predominately from the last decade of McLeod’s practice, focused on his large-scale, multi- part paintings on shaped plywood. It makes brief forays into earlier work to insist that while this is a practice in constant evolution, it remains committed to various principles of the role of painting in the contemporary world.