Monkey Puzzle Tree (1997)
acrylic on canvas
The dramatic work of artist Leslie Poole has been admired for more than two decades by Vancouverites drawn to his love of colour and use of light. In this new series of large-scale acrylic paintings on canvas, Poole reclaims three dominant themes of his earlier work: male and female figures, landscapes, and flowers.
Poole has long been fascinated with what he calls the "nebulous, water-like splashes of light which are so transient". He approaches light in the current series by responding first to the shadows, which he paints with transparent gel in brushwork reminiscent of Bonnard or Matisse.
His paintings are a kind of "battleground" on which he searches for the light and colours that will both illuminate and darken what he sees as interplays of the masculine spirit and feminine soul. Like a metaphor for "the Jungian darkness of the psyche", Poole's shadows also unite their subjects with a lattice-work of strong negative and positive spaces.
© Mia Johnson