19 December 1998 – 31 January 1999
at Centennial Square
Euan Macdonald’s work to date speaks to a questioning sensibility. It is characterized by transition, ambivalence, an irreverent use of materials, and fragmentary, fleeting, images that seem familiar and cryptic at the same time. Born in Scotland and raised in England, Macdonald emigrated to Canada with his family when he has 14 and settled in Edmonton, then later moved to Toronto to study art at OCAD. He has exhibited widely since graduating in 1988, most notably at the Koffler Centre (1994), Mercer Union (1995), the Robert Birch Gallery (1996, 1997), Southern Exposure, San Francisco (1997) and at the Art Gallery of Ontario (1997). In 1999 Macdonald will be exhibiting at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo and New Phase Art Space in Taiwan. For his exhibition at Oakville Galleries, Macdonald will be presenting a new body of work. Oakville Galleries’ newsletter writer Karen White met with him in July to discuss his artistic practice.
KW: Your practice has often been framed in terms of painting, and yet I notice that you have starting to make videos. Do you still consider yourself primarily a painter?
EM: I do change medium a bit. When I was only painting I began to feel a weird allegiance to painting and all its traditions. I noticed that the painters with whom I was being critically aligned had very diverse ideas. Also even though I had been used to working on different things in the studio, I found myself only exhibiting specific aspects of what I was doing. I found this quite limiting. I’ve always drawn a lot and figured that the drawings could be realized just as effectively in video. It was a very literal transition. I started making videos by literally animating the drawings.
KW: How would you characterize your concerns? Are there questions or issues that continually interest you?
Although I haven't always consciously followed specific subjects, certain concerns reappear in my work. I respond to things around me. I'm interested in how people as individuals deal with finding a sense of place. How they live in the city. They form a sense of place that expand further into issues of space. I'm also interested in how time is related to a sense of self and space - obvious things like how time seems to speed up or slow down depending on what you are doing. Sometimes I've paid attention to these ideas in my work. The video "Interval" for example, contrasts the swaying shadows of palm trees with the rapid passing of traffic. It seems to me that time is the medium in which we lose or become ourselves.