About My Work

Catkins. Oil stick on duralar over acrylic on panel, 24" x 48", 2015 SOLD

Leslie Norgate

The constantly shifting face of urban landscapes, especially my old Toronto neighbourhood, captivates me. Through the natural devolution of an abandoned building like the old linseed oil factory which is the subject of the Wabash series, the past may be read in creeping rust, blooming slivers of paint, and darkening windows.

I base my work on photographs I’ve taken of these places. Many of the photos end up being elaborately collaged, the old-fashioned way with scissors and tape. The collages are a jumping-off point for the making of the work, and bring the images closer to the way the scenes appear in memory.

Each piece consists of two layers: a translucent sheet of vellum or mylar which is drawn and painted with various media, layered on top of painted heavyweight paper. The top layer suffuses the bright colours and softens the dark tones of the underlayer, while the underlayer exerts a gentle overall influence upon each piece. Separately, the layers bear only a passing resemblance to each other. They are coaxed into alignment by various means including stitching.



Born in Toronto, last in a heat of five children, I began to draw before learning to speak. After graduating from the fine arts program at Central Technical School, I embarked upon an ongoing career as a maker of headdresses for theatre, dance, opera, film and television.