John Di Leonardo is a Canadian visual artist/poet and a graduate of McMaster University. He has published two award winning chapbooks Book of Hours (2014), and Starry Nights (2015). He is a full member of The Canadian League of Poets. His debut collection of ekphrastic poetry“Conditions of Desire” was published by Hidden Brook Press, 2018.
John has had numerous solo and group exhibitions to his credit over the past three decades, his work can be found in private and public collections such as the MacMaster Museum of Art. He is a past Board of Directors member for the Station Gallery in Whitby Ontario. He is represented by Art Dialogue Gallery in Toronto. He writes and paints in Brooklin, Ontario.
JOHN DI LEONARDO
1953 Born in Italy
1964 Emigrated to Canada
1969-1972 Dundas Valley School of art, Life Drawing, Dundas, ON
1973-1977 Hon, BFA, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON
1978-1979 B.Ed., University of Toronto, ON
1983-1986 OCAD, Life drawing, Toronto, ON
2018 Canada Council Arts Grant/Exhibition
2018. RMG Residency/Exhibition; (June to September) Oshawa, ON
1984 MacMaster University Museum Purchase, 1980, Hamilton, ON
1978 W.A.A.C. Art Scholarship, Bursary to study art, Toronto, ON
1977 Eagle Northright, Canadian Art Competition. Bursary to study art, Hamilton, ON
“My current work explores questions of the nude image as a contentious landscape in the history of Canadian art, and how its tradition as object of desire and shame informs the trajectory of our social constructs, values and identity.”
Di Leonardo's current studio practice continues to explore questions of the nude image as a contentious landscape in the history of Canadian art. His new series "Decameron" (2020-ongoing), explores images of hope through the current Covid 19 global pandemic.
Throughout his career John Di Leonardo has examined the concept of "Time and The Transience of Life". He has devised a methodology characterized by spontaneity, intuition and improvisation through the use of colour, line, text, and the human figure.
Di Leonardo began his career in the 1980's with his series "Ground Zero." In these visceral expressionistic works on paper and
3-D box-shaped canvases he explored the nuclear power concerns at the time.
From 1989 onward Di Leonardo began investigating the healing and destructive forces of nature, with the series “Grand-Mother." The heavily textured 3-D canvases deployed techniques mixing earth, sand, pigment on cut and folded canvases.
From 2000, the "Book of Hours" series evolved, considering the nature of art, country, progress, man. The big questions are explored through the use of quotidian images, text, bold colours and mixed media techniques.
In 2010 a "Prayers" series emerged exploring the notion and relationship of power, politics and prayer. Di Leonardo deployed a white on white glazing technique with the layering of text and colour.
From 2015 he began researching the concept of time itself with the series "Seconds"Spontaneous gestural outbursts that challenge the body's performance through seconds of time.
In 2018 the series "Mirror-Mirror" was completed. This installation/body of work explored the idea of transience, beauty and the conceptualization of the nude body within Canada’s artistic identity. His figurative images oscillate between abstraction and realism. The series was exhibited at the Robert MaLaughlin Art Gallery, in Oshawa Ontario.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2018 "MIRROR / MIRROR" The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Gallery A, Oshawa, ON
2012 "Book of Hours: Placebo" Whitby Public Library, Whitby, ON
2012 "Book of Hours: Placebo" Art on the Mezzanine, (VAC) Bowmanville, ON
2011 "Book of Hours: Family Is" Art on the mezzanine, (VAC) Bowmanville ON
2010 "Book of Hours: Man Is" Whitby Public Library, Whitby, ON
2009 "Book of Hours: Progress Is" Whitby Public Library, Whitby ON
2008 "Book of Hours: Canada Is" Whitby Public Library, Whitby, ON
1988 "Ground Zero II" Northrop Fry Hall, University of Toronto, ON
1987 "Ground Zero I" Gallery 306, (80 Spadina), Toronto, ON
1983 "Innocence & Experience" St Lawrence Centre Art Gallery, Toronto, ON
1982 "Love & Stuff" Mandeville Gallery, Toronto, ON
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2021 Pine Ridge Arts Council, Allan Artist's, Facebook, January.
2020 Station Gallery, "Dream-logic," Juried Exhibition, Dec.2020-21.
2019 Station Gallery, "Encounters" 27th Juried Exhibition.
2019 Robert McLaughlin Gallery, O.A.A. 51st Juried Exhibition, ON
2019 Station Gallery, "Perfect Moment," 26th Juried Exhibition.
2018 VAC, 38th Annual Juried Exhibition, Clarington, ON
2018 Robert McLaughlin Gallery, O.A.A. 50th Juried Art Exhibition, ON
2018 Gallery 67, "Figure & Still Life," O.A.A., Oshawa, ON
2018 Station Gallery, "One with Everything," 25th Juried Exhibition.
2017 Gallery 67, "Summerlicious" Oshawa Art Association, ON
2017 Robert McLaughlin Gallery, "OAA 49th Juried Exhibition" Oshawa.
2017 Station Gallery, "Glimpse" Juried Exhibition, Whitby, ON
2016 Station Gallery, "High School Confidential" Whitby, ON Canada
2016 Station Gallery, "Secret World," Whitby, ON
2015 Station Gallery, "Slice of Life" Juried Exhibition, Whitby, ON
2014 Station Gallery, "Drawing for Art," Whitby, ON
2013 Oshawa City Hall, Art & History Committee Selection, ON
2013 Station Gallery, "Drawing for Art" Whitby, ON
2012 The Station Gallery, "SHIFT" Juried Exhibition" Whitby, ON
2012 The Station Gallery, "Reading The Image" Group Show, Whitby, ON
2011 The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, "Juried Exhibition" Oshawa, ON
2007 The Station Gallery, "Juried Exhibition" Whitby, ON
2006 The Station Gallery, Juried Exhibition: Subject Matter, Whitby , ON
1997 Mandeville Gallery, "Group Exhibition" Toronto, ON
1994 Robert McLaughlin Gallery, "Juried Exhibition" Oshawa, ON
1993 Mandeville Gallery, Group Exhibition, Toronto, ON
1993 Art Gallery of Ontario, "Rentals" Toronto, ON
1992 Robert McLaughlin Gallery, "Juried Exhibition" Oshawa, ON
1991 Joseph D. Carrier Gallery, "Lyrical Perspectives" Toronto, ON
1989 Art Gallery of Hamilton, "Rentals" Hamilton, ON
1989 Art Dialogue Gallery, "Gallery Artists" Toronto, ON
1983 First Canadian Place, "Remy Martin National Competition" Toronto, ON
1981 McMaster University, Art Gallery, "Alumni Exhibition"Hamilton, ON
1978 OISE Art Gallery, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON