Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cats, Colour & Candour: Q&A with Elizabeth McIntosh

For a few years now, I've been a big admirer of Elizabeth McIntosh's paintings. Though she's been exhibiting her abstract works since the mid 90s, for some reason I only got to see them relatively recently. In any case, she's debuting new works at Diaz in Toronto tomorrow, and I took it as an opportunity to ask her more about her work. Today, the National Post published a related Q&A. Here's an excerpt:

Q When you look back at your childhood, can you see any connections to your art today?

A Yes, I did lots of drawings about pattern when I was a kid. I actually titled one of the paintings in this show Cat because I got the idea from a drawing of a cat that I did as a kid. My mom had it framed on the wall, which is why I remember it so clearly. Back then, I divided the cat's body into shapes and coloured each one in a different pattern. I guess abstraction is something that's been personally fulfilling to me for a long time.


Q Vancouver is best known for photography and conceptual art. How does it feel to be a painter there?

A I think Vancouver is a really interesting place, and it's a great place to live and be an artist. But my work doesn't fit within the dominant dialogue that people hold onto. And that's not just because I'm painting; it's because my art is more based on process than on research. At the same time, you can't say painting isn't conceptual, because painting is a way of thinking--it's just not within the "tradition" of conceptual art.

I don't think I suffer because of any of this, though. I teach at Emily Carr University and I'm surrounded by faculty and students who are interested in painting and in questioning painting. I have a place to pursue what I want to do. But y'know, stuff does come up. I'll get the odd super-clever student who starts taking a class at UBC, and then argues with me about the validity of painting.

The rest of the interview, including McIntosh's comments on feeling a bit ashamed of painting at first, here.

Image of McIntosh's The Brute 2009 from Diaz Contemporary


L.M. said...

Beautiful title for that article, Leah.

Leah Sandals said...

Thanks Lorna, but all credit for that goes to the editors over at the National Post arts section!

I'll pass the comment along.

pixo said...

Beautiful paintings!

I especially love those made in 2009.