- Neil McClelland
My paintings explore the notion of “no places.” These are places that somehow connect to humanity’s search for the utopic, for the “good place” that never really exists. They connect to the constant craving for perfect happiness, to the fragility of the paradises we seek. Yet, they are filled with unpredictable possibilities. They are also no places in the sense that they are the result of memory, imagination and multiple sources. They emerge through an accumulation of images, processes of layering digital images, and the unexpected outcomes of translating these in paint. This is a process not so much of recording places but rather distilling them as I search for meaning. I explore the possibilities of materials, mark making and surfaces to heighten symbolic impact.
My no places are imagined and from everywhere and nowhere at once; they also connect to my own story, reflecting my movements across Canada, east to west, and going “back home,” wherever home is. Our relationships with place are formed in childhood, as we make connections that are woven through with uncertainty and fascination, delight and a sense of mystery. These are places where we can find or lose ourselves.
I am a Canadian artist originally from the Gatineau Hills area of Quebec. I currently reside in Victoria, British Columbia, where I received my MFA from the University of Victoria in 2014. I am a 2016 Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grantee and I have exhibited in artist-run, public, and commercial galleries across Canada. I teach at Vancouver Island School of Art, and have taught sessionally at the University of Victoria.