With Euan Macleod based in Sydney and Gregory O’Brien in Wellington,
the collaborative paintings the two artists have created over the past decade are a continuation
of a trans-Tasman conversation which began in 2009 when O’Brien was writing a monograph
on Macleod’s art. Upon the publication of Euan Macleod—the painter in the painting (Piper Press, 2010) the exchange of ideas between the two migrated to what would soon become an ongoing series of collaborative works on canvas and paper.

At times painting in the same room, at other times in different countries,
Macleod and O’Brien relish their divergent approaches to art-making. As
O’Brien writes, the collaborations set ‘a painterly manner (Euan’s)
alongside my graphic approach, which is probably closer to drawing than
painting. Whereas Euan conjures movement, my image-making is static;
his work is visceral, mine cerebral. Such contradictions fuel our ongoing
project, forcing both of us to step outside our comfort zone.’
Between 2011 and 2022, the two artists travelled to locations ranging from
Waiheke Island and the Bay of Plenty to Alexandra and Gore. The
resulting images are meditations on provincial, often far-flung places. Yet
these gleanings of ‘local knowledge’ also look outwards to broader
concerns. As the Irish writer Patrick Kavanagh put it, local realities such as
the small town or parish should not be thought of as ‘a perimeter’ but as
‘an aperture: a space through which the world can be seen’. From the
vantage point of these paintings, we are constantly aware of processes of
climate change, environmental degradation and the often vexed
relationship between humanity and its environment.