an investigative photo documentary

Exclusive 24-page photo essay from our investigative journalist team in collaboration with award-winning photojournalist Marta Iwanek. Location: Toronto, Canada Copyright Wondereur 2020.

MEET with artist Angela Leach curated by international design guru Bruce Mau.

Leach
4
SOMETIMES, BEING WITH YOURSELF IS JUST TOO MUCH.
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At some point, I started just listening to talk-radio instead of music, so I wouldn’t have to listen to the mental chatter in my head.
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NONSENSE CRIME SERIES, MINDLESS STUFF ARE PERFECT FOR ARTMAKING. IT SETS YOUR BRAIN FREE.
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I find it important to get into that outside world and not get too insular or stuck with whatever the quagmire of the self is.
8
For many years, I worked as a hand-weaver. It was a typical factory job but I really liked the physical aspect of it - working my feet and throwing my arms. I would go in at 7am and work until 1pm. Then I would paint from 1pm to 3am. I’ll never recover from the lack of sleep but this job totally organized my life. It gave me complete freedom to make art.
9
Right now, I’m working on a new series, based on circles. I’ve got a number of drawings and colours set up. If I ever get around to it, my next work is going to be these giant tunnel paintings.
10
I don’t read sci-fi, but I like it as a visual thing – a little bit kitschy, a little bit dramatic.
11.2
I WANT MY WORK TO GIVE A FEELING OF THE FUTURE.
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Optical art is about finding colours that do this, give you that other sense by creating a space.
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CAN THE RIGHT COMBINATION OF COLOURS MAKE YOU HEAR A DEAFENING SILENCE OR GIVE YOU A FEELING OF SINKING?
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I’M A PRETTY BORING, NEAT PERSON, AND I LIKE COLOUR.
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When I was a kid, I remember watching my dad and my older sister make art. My dad never did anything the way it was supposed to be done. So his colouring book drawings were really crazy and spectacular.
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I’M DIFFERENT. I KEEP WITHIN THE LINES.
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In the mid ’80s, a lot of artists were creating works that were very political, feminist or related to the body. Of course, I wanted to be that kind of artist, but at the same time, it wasn’t me.
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Then I was introduced to ‘Neo Geo’ through Damien Hirst’s turntable paintings and the work of Allan McCollum, and I was very intrigued by how fresh it felt.
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I started working with colours in a different way, just simplifying everything, working with one line that is straight and one line that is curved.
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I KNEW I COULD WORK WITHIN THESE RULES WITHOUT FEELING LIKE I WAS TRYING TO BE SOMEBODY THAT I’M NOT.
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When I paint, I stay up for three or four days straight. When I’m passing out, I just lay down on the floor for 20 minutes, then I wake up, get up, and paint again.
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I’ve developed a process that makes me have terrible anxiety and I find that also fascinating because I’m in total control of it. I work always to a deadline that I can’t achieve.
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RIGHT NOW, MAKING ART PHYSICALLY KILLS ME.
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I’m losing my eyesight on one side and it’s making the eye-hand coordination quite painful when drawing these fine hard-edged lines.
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BUT NO MATTER HOW HARD, THERE’S ALWAYS THIS HOPEFUL IDEA THAT I CAN DO IT. I CAN DO IT. I’LL DO IT.