Lachine Canal: Past and Present
Paintings and drawings by G. Scott MacLeod
Thursday, may 27, 2004 from 5 pm to 7 pm
Reception at the St. Ambroise Annex, 5080 St. Ambroise St., Montreal, QC
For more information, contact G. Scott MacLeod
For advanced viewing go to http://www.macleod9.com/lachine/index.htm
Artists have often captured the beautiful and sublime, nature or a park, but how often do artists draw on Montreal’s early industrial history for their inspiration? Scott MacLeod has seized upon a vanishing history that of the Lachine Canal, a historic artery of Canada’s industrial history rapidly changing into a residential and recreational place.
The Lachine Canal is a living legacy of Canada’s economic and social history. Once a 14.5-kilometer water route linking Montreal’s Old Port to Lake St. Louis the canal opened in 1825. When the St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1970 a long history of canal shipping ended. Scott MacLeod’s paintings and drawings bring out the essence of the industrial era, and art becomes a vehicle for expressing a context of buildings, bridges, cranes, docks, and boats that part of life for Canadians.
A source of hydraulic power this industrial corridor was one of the main manufacturing production centres in Canada from the mid-19th century to Second World War, the Canal will change rapidly over the next 20 years as the City of Montreal redevelops its waterfront areas into housing, loft, and recreation areas with walking and bicycle paths and boating along its waterfront.
Industrial architecture with a past history, a living museum in the present, carries all the traces and markings of its past with a quiet majesty. Artists seldom document the areas that do not display a certain wealth, and Scott MacLeod is a rare individual for he has captured these scenes with a bright and accomplished series of oil and graphite works.
The paintings and sketches in this show range from a Railway Bridge to the Five Roses Flour Mill building. An old iron bridge becomes a sublime piece of sculpture while a 75-ton Floating Crane used to unload goods stands starkly against the sky. The Canadian Pacific Railway Bridge is pure beautiful engineering and in another work a boat sits in Lock No. 5 lit up by night-lights. Some subjects such as the Redpath Sugar, Northern Electric and Corticelli Buildings or “Jackknife Bridge” becomes panoramic paintings that recreate the feeling that the Lachine Canal with its coal derricks, Coleco Building, Canada Malting Building is a living museum of industrial building and marine artifacts. The majesty and industrial history of Canada is nowhere more evident than in the Lachine Canal. Scott MacLeod brings it to life. For its generous support of Scott MacLeod’s exhibition, and understanding of the proud heritage that the Lachine Canal and its architecture represent, Montreal’s McAuslan Brewery should be warmly thanked.
- John K. Grande
Writer and art critic John Grande's reviews and feature articles have been published extensively in Artforum, Vice Versa, Sculpture, Art Papers, British Journal of Photography, Espace Sculpture, Public Art Review, Vie des Arts, Art On Paper, The Globe & Mail, Circa & Canadian Forum. The author of Balance: Art and Nature (Black Rose Books, 1994), Intertwining: Landscape, Technology, Issues, Artists (Black Rose Books, 1998) and Jouer avec le feu: Armand Vaillancourt: Sculpteur engagé (Montreal: Lanctot, 2001). John Grande has published numerous catalogue essays on selected artists and has taught art history at Bishops University. He co-authored Judy Garfin: Natural Disguise (Vehicule Press, Montreal, 1998) and Nils-Udo: Art with Nature (Wienand Verlag, Koln, Germany 2000) and his latest book is David Sorensen: Abstraction From Here to Now (Centre culturel Yvonne L. Bombardier, Valcourt, 2001) Mr. Grande’s Art Nature Dialogues has been published by SUNY Press in 2004, as a newly revised edition of Balance: Art and Nature will appear with Black Rose Books.
Ecrivain et critique d’art, John K. Grande a publié de nombreux articles et compte-rendus dans Artforum, Vice Versa, Sculpture, British Journal of Photography, Espace Sculpture, CIRCA, Public Art Review, Vie des Arts, Adbusters et Canadian Forum. Auteur de Art, nature et société (Editions Ecosociété, 1997), de Intertwining: Landscape, Technology, Issues, Artists (Black Rose Books, 1998), de Jouer avec le feu: Armand Vaillancourt; artiste engagé (Lanctot, 2001), de David Sorensen: abstraction d'ici a maintenant (Centre culturel Yvonnne L. Bombardier, 2001) et co-auteur de Nils-Udo: De l'art avec la nature (Wienand Verlag, Cologne, Allemagne, 2000), M. Grande est recemment completé un nouveau livre consacré à l'art environnemental... Art Nature Dialogues publié en 2004 (SUNY Press, NY).