“I think I do things intuitively. I start first, and the conceptual stuff happens along the way.” 2011
Myfanwy MacLeod is an established Canadian artist currently living in Vancouver, British Columbia.
MacLeod grew up on the edges of suburban Oakville, and London, Ontario. As a child she would hold séances, Ouija board sessions and construct haunted houses. After high school MacLeod travelled throughout Europe. She then went on to study film at Concordia University, in Montreal Quebec; later she would change her focus to Art. In 1995 MacLeod received her MFA from the University of British Columbia where her advisor was Jeff Wall. She has taught at the University of British Columbia as well as at the University of Western Ontario, London and the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Vancouver.
Macleod is interested in the way an image or a concept can be altered, transformed or even given new meaning when its context or form is changed. A wry sense of humour pervades her work as it draws on Modernism’s iconic moments and delves into popular culture and the vernacular.
In her Hex paintings, Hex II, 2009, MacLeod looks to the folk art tradition, most readily associated with Eastern Pennsylvania Dutch culture, of marking the sides of barns and other objects such as bibles and pottery with hex symbols. While some in Pennsylvania claim that the signs are merely decorative, others indicate that the symbols have very specific meanings and are believed to ward off evil spirits, bring forth a good harvest, good luck, faith, love and happiness. MacLeod was intrigued by images of these traditional folk symbols and interested in translating them into artworks which could be viewed, deciphered and invested with different meaning by seeing them through an aesthetic and conceptual lens.
MacLeod chose to collaborate with a professional sign painter to produce the works. According to the artist, “My decision to have the works fabricated by someone else but according to my specifications is part of the ethos of Minimal art. By adopting this Minimalist strategy, I wished to sweep aside the vestiges of authorial presence manifested by formal invention and the handling of materials.”