Bright Black Starry Sunny Night

September 10-25, 2022

Artist Talk Saturday, Sept 24 , 2pm 

Opening Friday, September 9th at 7pm

In Bright Black Starry Sunny Night, Neil McClelland takes his childhood home as a starting point for considering ideas of place, home, belonging, transformation, and human relationships to nature and the cosmos. In these paintings, he seeks to create a fictional place of deep beauty but also of tension and uncertainty in which anything might happen. Night skies imbue this imagined world with a sense of isolation and magnitude, an opening of the cosmos beyond what a farmyard scene might ordinarily suggest.

The mundane and the sublime, the uncanny and the familiar, desire and dread collide within this place that he represents as a microcosm of the world falling apart but also of nature not only enduring but bursting forth. Each return (both physically and through the practice of painting) back home to the Gatineau Hills of Quebec from here, where he now lives, adds another layer of experience and becomes a measure of the distance in time and space that he has travelled.

Through painting processes that emphasize ambiguity, motion, and change, he hopes to create for the viewer perceptions of place and time that are unmoored and indeterminate and provide a sense of mystery, unease and wonder. Through painting, McClelland attempts to grasp the contradictions and ambiguities that pervade our lives at a time of upheaval, uncertainty, and planetary precariousness. He sees his paintings as spaces filled with possibilities, defamiliarized but somewhere where we might find something of ourselves and our world. The making of this body of work was supported with a grant from The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation

Neil McClelland’s talk will be presented in person and online. Please follow the registration link below to participate via Zoom.

About the Artist

Neil McClelland is originally from the Gatineau Hills, Quebec. He lives in Victoria where he teaches drawing and painting at Vancouver Island School of Art and at the University of Victoria. He received his MFA from the University of Victoria in 2014 and has had solo and group exhibitions in B.C., Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. Neil draws on personal experience, memory, imagination, art history and cinematic influences to make paintings that engage narrative and symbol in the exploration of the quest for perfect happiness, the search for paradises on earth, and human relationships to nature. His paintings are in private and public collections including the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Colart Collection. He is a 2016 and 2020 grantee of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation.

You can find more information about the artist at the following links:

Website –
on Instagram –

Xchanges gratefully acknowledges the support of the Province of British Columbia and the Capital Regional District for our gallery programs.