PEGI NICOL MACLEOD
Private Collection, Toronto
Laura Brandon, Pegi Nicol By Herself: The Life of Pegi Nicol, Canadian Artist, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal and Kingston, 2005, page 3.
Spontaneity and swirling, curvilinear lines, bright colours and gestural freedom were a trademark of Pegi Nicol MacLeod (1904-1949). MacLeod prioritized her craft and neither marriage, motherhood nor privation thwarted her ambition. Drawing inspiration from her immediate surroundings and everyday experiences, MacLeod’s steadfast documentation of her private sphere lends intimacy to her work.
Between 1925 and 1939 MacLeod painted her self-portrait more than two dozen times, illustrating with frank detail her own sexual development and awakening. The painting Seated Nude, could be a self-portrait as it bears a striking resemblance to the artist. In this work, a woman is positioned seated, tilted forward. There is a vitality or momentum to the subject, a tactile realism that stands in contrast to the mannequin-esque depictions of women by her male contemporaries at the time. MacLeod’s nude breathes in life and exhales the secrets of self discovery.