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Alan Leishman is a landscape artist and Alison Parkinson focuses primarily on portraits, but both create works that are strongly informed by personal perceptions and emotional connection to their subjects. Work by the two artists will be on display at the Backspace Gallery from 11 to 28 July.

Born in England, Leishman started painting landscapes while visiting relatives in France. After moving to Australia in 1987 with his Australian wife and their young family, he lived and worked in Dunkeld near Hamilton for 25 years. From the early 1990s he exhibited widely with a group of artists called the Grampians Four. And he is well known from his landscapes of France and the Western District of Victoria.

The paintings in Places and people are the first he has shown of Ballarat, where he has lived for the last five years.

“I like to paint buildings which have caught my eye but transformed by light into dramatic or colourful shapes.

“The starting point for a painting is always something that takes me by surprise in some way — the subject dictates how I treat the work and what I am after is my vision of the thing, rather than the literal element.

“What matters most is my perception.”

This focus on perception and personal response to the subject is shared by Alison Parkinson in her series of 48 portraits which she has painted over the past year.

“Most of my work is drawn from life and these portraits are oil sketches rather than considered portraits as I wanted the instantaneous feeling of the portrait to be alive and to breathe off the canvas, to catch a moment of people’s lives.

“Taken as a group, these portraits show our differences and diversities as the patchwork of people meet at the edges.”

Alison Parkinson who trained at the Ballarat CAE (now Federation University) majoring in painting. She lives in Mount Prospect north of Ballarat and has a diverse practice which includes French polishing, clay modelling and most recently making jewellery.


Exhibition details

Alan Leishman and Alison Parkinson: Places and people

11–28 July 2019

Backspace Gallery, open Thursday–Sunday, 12 pm–4 pm