Mysterious and poetic atmospheres emanate from the finely crafted paintings of Elisa McLeod; intricate visual clues make us question scale and proportion, and probe what is real against what is illusory.
The artist depicts botanical imagery captured through the lens of a camera; her oil paintings on canvas exploring the boundaries between representational and abstract pa...inting. Photos act as the starting point for the artists creative process, yet walking around Cornwall is where the artists real inspiration reveals itself. Absorbed by studying the intricate details of nature, a shallow depth of field allows the artist to capture the limitless shapes of a large blurred leaf in the foreground whilst focusing on one small, delicate and often unexpected detail.
McLeods practice originates from an earlier fascination with reflections in glass; through her practice she has continued to carry these man-made shapes through her work in order to add a juxtaposition against organic imagery found in the natural environment of her home in Cornwall.
Caught at a finely balanced point where abstraction takes on recognisable features of natural elements such as a flower, leaf, or thorn, these paintings evoke a sense of reminiscence, a feeling that we are being prompted to recall something that we have distant or incomplete memory of.
Her working process involves a careful balance between controlled and painterly methods, measured divisions and shapes coexist with freely brushed flowing areas of paint. Cornish landscape, and in particular gardens such as Trebah or Heligan, provide a starting point but McLeod does not try to illustrate, the material is selected and pared down to what is needed for the articulation of her searching pursuit.
Light seems to play tricks with our vision, obscuring, dissolving or distorting; precisely defined shapes emerge out of soft luminous veils but then seem to melt away in diffusion again. In this constant play between appearing and disappearing other opposites are brought together that question our experience. A sharp glint of colour sparks against silence, a geometric division suggestive of a pane of glass appears against soft vaporous mist, or reflected or refracted light, dazzlingly bright, cuts across deep contrasting shadow.
Here is a profound searching to discover and understand nuances of the visual world, but accepting that our vision is always clouded, incomplete, and altered by circumstances. McLeod allows us to explore those spaces where uncertainty lingers, and find moments of realisation in these secret places and seemingly insignificant overlooked fragments.
McLeod was born in London and trained at Wimbledon College of Art and Falmouth College of Art, graduating in 2005. She now lives and works in Cornwall. She has ten years exhibiting experience in galleries in Cornwall and more recently she has been invited to exhibit her work in London and Bath; she is an elected member of the Newlyn Society of Artists. She joined Artwavewest Gallery in 2014. McLeod exhibits regularly in London and Dorset.