The Christian McLeod exhibit PARTiCLE COLLiSIONS officially opened yesterday at Toronto’s acclaimed Al Green Gallery. An exploration of land use, water, ecology and the built environment, a portion of the exhibition’s proceeds will go directly towards the IGNITE THE SPARK FUND, a program that funds enriching activities for kids in the child welfare system across Canada.

“Christian’s work is the personification of modern abstract painting,” says Lindy Green, director of The Al Green Gallery. “This new collection of work is special because Christian has continued his profound exploration of the contemporary landscape.”

Raised in an artistic family, (Green’s father, Al Green, is a celebrated sculptor), meant that Green and her siblings were consistently immersed in the benefits of artistic expression, including using the arts for philanthropic ventures.

“Growing-up, our understanding that philanthropy and the arts went hand in hand was unquestioned,” she explains. In fact, her father was so dedicated to philanthropy that he was awarded the Order of Canada for his philanthropic works and community service. This legacy is something that Green plans to continue by “bringing a charity or cause on as a partner in each exhibition.”

McLeod relates to this sense of giving-back, saying:

“Often, artists are individuals who want to create a better world and want to help others however they can.”

He also understands the importance of art as a vehicle for expressing often complicated thoughts and ideas, explaining that the collection is “part of the long story; they [the paintings] are made of and part of the physical particles of the earth, that’s what I wanted to shape on the canvas – tectonic shifts, migrations, erosion – slow moving and irresistible forces.”

Young people in the child welfare system who frequently face traumatic events early-on in their lives, experiences that can permanently shape their futures, often share this need for expression. Through art, they can put memories and feelings into abstract ideas which can allow them to better-understand themselves and negative experiences from their pasts.

“All young people are vulnerable to a greater or lesser extent, and those who are most vulnerable need our support and compassion,” says McLeod. “Creative processes are not just for developing passion and joy; we can use them to work through and come to very difficult conclusions that all of us at different times in our lives will have to face. Anything that gives people a way to express themselves is beneficial.”

The Al Green Gallery is open Tuesday-Saturday, 12-5PM, and 12-7pM on Thursdays. For more information click here.

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