October 22, 2019

Myfanwy MacLeod
The Undesirables

Libby Leshgold Gallery at Emily Carr University of Art + Design

From Myfanwy Mcleod, The Undesirables, 2019. 

The Libby Leshgold Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Myfanwy MacLeod entitled The Undesirables, featuring works drawn from her public art endeavours over the past ten years and including both realized and unrealized projects as well as propositional ideas. Studies, casts, and working models created as part of the design and production process, largely overlooked as art works in their own right, are on display in the exhibition, as are works that have grown out of her public art projects.

At the centre of the exhibition is a twelve-foot tall cast for Primrose, a sculpture of a donkey soon to be installed in Toronto. Like MacLeod’s set of iconic public sculptures, The Birds, installed in Vancouver’s Olympic Village, Primrose is the antithesis of the soulless “turd in the plaza” (a phrase coined by architect James Wines). Both of these public sculptures, along with The Lady, a camel installed in North Vancouver, make up a trilogy that alludes to the symbolic language of animals in Western art. At the same time, they reference histories and specifics of the sites where they are permanently located. This blending of art history, popular culture and folklore is a consistent feature of MacLeod’s work whether it is presented in a gallery or a public space. It skillfully walks the line between conceptual consideration and the appealing whimsy.

Myfanwy MacLeod’s work is charming, but at times it also touches on social, political and environmental concerns such as in her work honouring Jane Jacobs, the feminist, author and activist whose ideas about healthy urban environments put her at odds with urban renewal schemes of the nineteen sixties and seventies. Jacobs’ advocacy work and writing around the social constructs of a city continue to influence urban planning and artistic engagement within the urban environment.

During the exhibition, the Libby Leshgold Gallery will host public programmes that relate to notions of public art. Of particular interest to Myfanwy MacLeod is the importance of encouraging more woman artists to take an active role in public art and this is one of the themes that will be addressed in the companion programming.

The Libby Leshgold Gallery respectfully acknowledges that we are located on the unceded, traditional and ancestral xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territories.

The Libby Leshgold Gallery is grateful for the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts and presenting sponsor RBC Wealth Management.

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