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Contemporary figurative art and fine art artist, Reid McLachlan paints expressive original oil paintings and they are for sale online in his art gallery. Reid appeared on Star Portraits on Bravo! painting an original oil painting portrait of Roméo Dallaire.
Reid McLachlan - Reviews - under construction

Kindred spirits the theme of Cube Gallery show

A eureka! moment was behind a gallery owner's exhibit writes PAUL GESSELL.
(from the Ottawa Citizen, January 7, 2006)

Reid McLachlan paints relationships like no other artist in the Ottawa area. Most of his dark, often disturbing canvases show a man and woman working out some troubling issue. They look like they have just finished or are just about to start a quarrel. The women are often seething; the men contrite. The overall look of the paintings is very contemporary, yet the mysterious symbolism of various secondary objects scattered about the pictures is downright medieval. (Why is that man holding a spyglass? Why is that woman brandishing a shovel?)

Don Monet, owner of the new Cube Gallery near the Parkdale Market, was looking at some of McLachlan's paintings this past fall and had a "eureka!" moment. He decided to organize a group show on the theme of relationships. The resulting exhibition is called Kindred, which opened yesterday. And it's a winner. Eleven artists, mainly from the Ottawa area, are participating.

Monet has generally chosen wisely, even though some of the works deal with the topic of kinship in only tangential ways. The result is a themed exhibition one would expect to see in a public gallery rather than in a commercial space. Future shows at Cube will be similarly themed.

McLachlan's work dominates Kindred. His paintings are always intense, commanding you to stand before them and to meditate whatever dispute is being acted out on the canvas.

Other highlights include Victoria Wonnacott's acrylic paintings of swimming children. They initially seem harmless, but stare at them for awhile and you become aware of malevolent forces at work in the water. You can almost hear the theme song of Jaws playing in the background.

The most impressive Wonnacott is Lass du Lac, showing a young woman from the rear rising from a lake. The painting is reminiscent of the pop-cultured Group of Seven landscapes pioneered by the British-Canadian superstar Peter Doig. Wonnacott, of Montreal, is the sister of Ottawa artist Justin Wonnacott. Talent must be genetic. Outaouais artist Pam Connolly offers a collection of tiny photographic images of children placed in large painted landscapes. Such is the life of a child: a small being in a very large world. Connolly has been experimenting with her mixed media techniques and is steadily improving. Keep an eye on this artist. Unforgettable are the Cynthia O'Brien clay sculptures of giant amoeba-like creatures, some with teeth and sparkly jewels, engaged in unusual kinships. Imaginative and wonderfully cheeky.

Other artists in Kindred include Paul EIter, Bruce Garner, Jennifer Gibbs, Karina Kraenzle, Esther Schvan, Oleh Sirant and Tiffany Teske.

"Reid McLachlan, Mirroring the Human Soul by Catharine Joyce"
(from The Low Down to Hull and Back News Jan. 25 - 31, 2006)

There is a definition of a poem – as ‘something that resists the intelligence almost successfully’ – that speaks to the elusive but arresting quality of Reid McLachlan’s paintings. We know this place – the dark, sorrowful recesses of the heart – and yet the interplay of symbol and narrative tease us out of thought. We cannot know with the rational reach we employ day to day, dissecting the evidence, coming to conclusions. No. Reid McLachlan’s work demands that we stand open, vulnerable to the fears that lurk beneath our carefully constructed reality.

This is dream space. This is a dialogue of ideas, of veiled meanings, of an obsession with the big themes every human must grapple with – life, love, death, loss, faith. A mirror effect governs the experience: the stories within each painting reflect the viewer, the colour of his soul, the tenuousness of his grasp on life, love. To stand before a Reid McLachlan painting is to be drawn into a Thomas Hardy world where the vagaries of Fate rule, where nothing is certain but the haunting sense that we have been here before.

The colours of Reid’s palette charge his vision – those smoky grays and luminous blues, those earth tones that anchor us in an often leaden and barren landscape. He says that within the challenge of each painting, he doesn’t have to think about colour; it is organic, it comes to him intuitively.

So too the characters who stand arrested, starkly drawn against this looming backdrop: like figures out of Dante, they are vehicles for Reid’s ideas. He does not use models; rather his people rise like icons, archetypes of the unconscious, eyes staring or averted, glazed with inner reckoning. There is something eternal in their clarity of line, in the often distorted dimensions of their limbs as if the perils of being human were vested in the gesture of a gnarled finger, an awkward embrace. They are not soon forgotten.

Reid came to art through a natural progression. He drew constantly as a child, bored with academics. He flourished when he took the High School of Commerce Vocational Art program, then went on to the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. A final year in Florence, Italy in 1987, confirmed his path, winning him top honours and awards. He has painted ever since, exhibiting in dozens of solo and group shows, including the annual ‘Artists in their Environment’ Studio Tour. His work is in collections across Canada, and sought after by individuals world-wide.

“Painting is like trying to find the answers to the big questions in life – it is human nature to keep on searching. I work until I feel the energy I am putting out on the canvas stays there, a kind of distilled essence. I have no formula, I just begin with a basic idea.

“I love the process. It’s amazing because I never know what will emerge – every day is different, the issues shift and change as my mood does. But I am trying to get at that sense of ‘presence’ where you reveal a truth, veiled, not obvious, but recognizable if you are willing to look for it.”

Last call by Suzanne Richard
(from Voir Gatineau/Ottawa Feb. 12 - 18, 2004)

Chacun des personnages austères de REID MCLACHLAN semble aux prises avec son misérable sort, porter en lui ses douleurs, impuissant face à ses rêves perdus d'avance.

Marked by Time, Suspending Hope, Measures of Justice, Touch Wood... Voilà quelques titres évocateurs de l'ambiance générale, tragique et parfois vengeresse, de L'Inexorable destin, comportant près de trente tableaux récents. Chacun raconte une bribe d'histoire personnelle, formant ensemble un tout complexe en dialogue, mettant en évidence les nombreuses ironies de la vie.

De la fatalité chez Reid McLachlan

Le thème de la fatalité teinte les plus récentes oeuvres de Reid McLachlan, présentement exposées à la Galerie de I' Alliance française.
Claude Bouchard

(from Le Droit, May 14, 2005)

La vie, l'amour, la mort se confondent sur les 22 huiles sur toile qui habillent les murs de la Galerie, à l'intérieur d'une thématique qui traverse les temps et au sein de laquelle se glisse un amalgame de sentiments, une allégorie d'ambiguités et de symbolisme.

Une grande toile, intitulée One Match, présente un couple de travailleurs, au premier plan, ou une femme, tête baissée, tient en main un briquet qui dégage une flamme. Au haut de la toile, à gauche, une autre jeune femme, plus sereine, est assise dans un décor de terre brûlée et tient un fruit. Des relents de ville et de campagne séparent le couple de l'autre personnage. Une profonde tristesse se lit sur le visage de la femme au briquet, qui, délaissée par son conjoint présumé, est en voie de symboliquement brûler ses souvenirs. L 'homme a la tête tournée vers la jeune femme qui tient un fruit (la tentatrice), et arbore un air de pitié envers l'une et de convoitise envers l'autre.

Le visiteur est invité à se faire luimême l'interprète de la symbolique qui empreint Ie tableau et, donc, de tirer ses propres conclusions. L'oeuvre est présentée avec une palette de couleurs sobre: des gris, des noirs, des bleus, des verts, un peu de rouge, de l'orange. La composition est bien agencée et réfléchie et la toile est vibrante de sentiments misà nu.

Les personnages de l'artiste sont, plus souvent qu'autrement, représentés à l'intérieur d'une composition spartiate ou le symbolisme et l'introspection jouent un rôle déterminant. Ainsi, Ie public est-il appelé à raviver ses propres péripéties émotionnelles, ce qui le porte à réfléchir à son destin.

Si la peinture de McLachlan semble parfois projeter un parcours pessimiste de l'existence de l'être humain, il n'en est rien. Le peintre souligne simplement que la traversée de la vie est jonchée d'événements qui soulèvent des sentiments conflictuels chez chaque individu, et que chacun est lié à un destin. L'incertitude, l'appréhension, les moments de bonheur se succédent tout au long du cherminement terrestre de l'homme et de la femme, et Chacun se doit d'assumer la part d'interaction qui naît de rencontres avec d'autres.

Les compositions sont agencées de manière à refléter l'atmosphère au sein de laquelle baigne Ie personnage, et chaque toile illustre Ie combat intérieur qui se déroule. Les tableaux de McLachlan se présentent comme un assemblage de destins variés. Les toiles sont intenses et les personnages volontaires. Le peintre jalonne sa composition d'indices qui permettent au visiteur d'interpréter Ie moment capté, au gré des expériences de son vécu. McLachlan se défend de diriger sa pensée. Il se contente de disposer des repères qui permettent aux gens d'analyser la symbolique. Des toiles, telles Revelations, Cold Feet, Wishful, sont superbes et illustrent avec acuité autant de femmes qui accomplissent leur destin avec succès - par des voies différentes.

Une oeuvre magnétique, et qui retient l'attention, est intitulée Belly Up. Le tableau, un diptyque, porte a introspection et est très réussi. La toile de gauche illustre un paysage campagnard, alors que celIe de droite présenté un couple de jeune travailleurs. À la droite de cette dernière, un jeune homme est assis sous une voûte qui donne sur l'extérieur. Il est entouré de bouquins, d'un mégaphone, de blocs de ciment, de statuettes de personnages et d'autres objets. Un bol d'eau est posé à ses pieds, dans lequel flotte une femme nue, couchée sur le dos. La scène suggère qu'un malheur a eu lieu; libre au public d'improviser. Au bas de la toile, un écriteau indique: Funeral Parking Only. Ici encore, le peintre a utilisé les coloris qui lui sont habituels et par lesquels ses amateurs reconnaissent ses oeuvres: les blancs, les verts, les bleus, le rouge, les gris, les noirs. La peinture est opaque et dégage une impression de force.

L'oeuvre de Reid McLachlan est visuellement et intellectuellement stimulante. Malgré les heurts, marques et blessures, tant physiologiques que psychologiques qu'inflige la vie à l'individu, l'artiste laisse sous-entendre, par la vitalité et la force de ses personnages, que l'être humain poursuit sa quête de bonheur maIgré les vicissitudes qui entravent le parcours un vécu. Des rayons d'espoir sont visibles partout dans l'oeuvre.

Reid McLachlan a étudié a Ottawa, à Toronto et à Florence, en ltalie. L'artiste-peintre expose avec succés depuis 1987 et a tenu quelque 15 expositions individuelles. Il a contribué à de nombreuses expositions collectives. On retrouve ses oeuvres dans plusieurs collections publiques, privées et du monde des affaires.

"Hopscotch #6"
(reprinted from an article entitled Communication through Hopscotch by Andrea Smith in the Ottawa XPress, Thursday, May 29, 1997)

McLachlan's paintings provoke an instantaneous reaction: first, through the expert use of intense oil colours; and then, through a wealth of symbols it might take you a lifetime to decode. Many of his works are divided into panels, a story behind every piece, and every detail means something related to the greater whole. In a recent series of large canvasses he calls his Hopscotch series there is an overriding narrative. "Hopscotch #6 is the final installment.

The painting is divided into four panels. One, in the bottom right-hand corner, features a giant red "6". The largest panel contains a crouching woman, whose carefully drawn hands and feet give away as much about her character as her face - with deep set eyes and pouting dark red mouth. Scattered around her feet are an assortment of icons, arrows, a photo album (number six, of course), a snow globe containing two little naked people, and the chalk and eraser she has used to draw the hopscotch cross floating above her head in the background (six steps). The panel adjacent has a character bleeding in the bathtub after apparently tearing off his clothes (judging by the shoes) and leaving an unfinished entry in a book, open on the ground. A miniature canoe floats around in the bloody water. You can get very involved in this painting; it's warm oranges against cool blues lure you in, but the story is what really makes you want to stay awhile to put it all together - or take it home.

And don't expect the artist to give anything away in the form of an answer.

"I encourage people to look at them and interpret them in their own ways, based on their own past experiences," says McLachlan. "If I tell them why I painted them, then they won't search out their own meanings and then they just won't look at it as hard or think about it as much. They'll just take my word for it and then the work doesn't challenge them at all."

For McLachlan it's all about visual, not verbal, communication. He seems to be interested in getting people to appreciate the ambiguity of symbols in different contexts - that their meanings change from person to person and over time.

"Sometimes," he says, "if I look at a painting I did three years ago, I may have forgotten some of the things I was thinking at the time; but, will also look at them again and reinterpret them from where I am at this time, - and it's different."

"It's really interesting having people come in and just start talking about a painting and tell me stories that I never even saw in them. It's encouraging to me to hear peoples' reactions to them because they can be completely different from my own. But then, how I see it can be changed. It's just good to get that interaction."