For the past 40 years, I have turned again and again to the solace and the threat of land. Early paintings explored wilderness unmarked by even a telephone wire. Later I stopped looking from afar—moved closer to the landscape as though I lived within it—and painted it with its indicators of human, animal and architectural intrusion.
In the beginning, I put paint and canvas in my vehicle and searched the countryside. Having found a likely spot, I stopped and painted on location. More recently, almost yearly, I explored the back roads near my childhood rural home. Each year, with camera and sketchbook, I moved in closer and closer to the ragged trees that lined the farm fields. In the process, my painting of landscape became less about the landscape and more about the painting. Recent portraits of the land are a many-sided struggle among memory, sketch notes, photos and the resisting language of paint. The result is LANDSCAPE PORTRAITS. Why portraits? Because the earth takes our presence PERSONally.
In LANDSCAPE PORTRAITS I present issues of nature vs. man in order to reconstruct their relationship. This is the role of painting: to present in a non-discursive way elements of our human concerns so that intuition has a role in connecting information which threatens to disastrously disconnect.
What also interests me now is not making a landscape, per se, but finding a metaphor for how ephemeral jigsaw shapes of sky grab hold of tree branches, trunks, and leaves. In reality, this immaterial air is a kind of nothing – negative space. But if one really looks, it becomes as intrusive in the eyes’ gaze as branch or leaf or paint. The opposites unite, and it is as though a breath of air becomes body. The earth struggles to breathe. The earth breathes fire, a suggestion of apocalypse.
About the Artist
Internationally exhibited, Vancouver-based artist Leslie Poole (b. 1942, Halifax, Nova Scotia) received his MFA from Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut) in 1970 and is now firmly established as one of Canada’s most extensively recognized and collected artists. He has had over 120 solo exhibitions in Canada and the U.S. In addition to one-person shows in Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco, his work has been shown in solo exhibitions in numerous Canadian museums including Vancouver Art Gallery; Kamloops Art Gallery; Art Gallery of Alberta; Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; Art Gallery of Nova Scotia; Confederation Centre Art Gallery; Charles H. Scott Gallery; Simon Fraser University Art Gallery; Richmond Art Gallery; Memorial University of Newfoundland Art Gallery; Beaverbrook Art Gallery; Art Gallery of the South Okanagan; Kelowna Art Gallery; Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies; Prairie Art Gallery; Mount St. Vincent University Art Gallery; Nanaimo Art Gallery and Exhibition Centre; Grand Forks Art Gallery; Prince George Art Gallery, University of British Columbia (AMS Gallery); Surrey Art Gallery; Burnaby Art Gallery; and University of Alberta Art Gallery.
Poole’s work has been purchased for major public, corporate, and private collections from Victoria, BC, to St. John’s, NF, including Vancouver Art Gallery; Trimark Mutual Funds; Hyatt Hotels, Vancouver and Chicago; Canada Council Art Bank; Glenbow Museum; Canadian Broadcasting Company; Department of External Affairs; Royal Bank; McGill University; Waterfront Centre Hotel; Dofasco; Imperial Oil; C.I.L.; Toronto Dominion Bank; Famous Players; Crown Life; Shell Canada Resources; Simon Fraser University; Canadian Pacific; Gulf Canada Resources; Canaccord Capital Corporation; BC Central Credit Union; Ladner Downs; Husky Oil; Air Canada; Claridge Investments Ltd.; Richardson Greenshields; Beaverbrook Art Gallery; Bumper Corporation; Alcan; Dupont Canada; Reed Stenhouse; Zenzen Consultants Ltd.; Edmonton School Board; Alexander, Holburn, Beaudin & Lang; Minto Suite Hotel; Davis & Co.; Coopers & Lybrand; ESSO Resources; Rothschild, Inc.; Le Devoir; Superior Propane; Telus; Owen Bird; BC Automobile Association; OPSEU; Simon Fraser University; Alberta Art Foundation; BC Art Collection; Beaverbrook Art Gallery; University of BC; University of Alberta; Carlton University; Mendel Art Gallery; Burnaby Art Gallery; University of Lethbridge; Art Gallery of Nova Scotia; Art Gallery of Alberta; and many more.
Poole’s paintings, drawings, and prints question rather than tell; his intention is a dialogue with the viewer. With subjects as diverse as male and female figures, still life, landscape, and self-portraits, his methods range from realist to expressionist in style.