Fonds UBCA-ARC-1448 - Cameron MacLeod fonds

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Cameron MacLeod fonds

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Physical description

43 cm of textual records and other material.

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Cameron MacLeod was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, on February 20, 1958. He was a talented artist from an early age and produced the main body of his work from 1967-1981. According to those close to MacLeod, he underwent open-heart surgery at the age of three, which affected him psychologically for the rest of his life. MacLeod became mainly involved in art during his high school years at St. Georges School, where his art teacher Edward Gale was an important mentor. Gale helped to stage MacLeod's first exhibit in 1976 at the school. Jack Shadbolt was also a significant supporter of MacLeod during this time. After graduating from St. Georges, Cameron MacLeod completed an Honours B.A. in Fine Arts at the University of British Columbia and studied in London, Trois Riviéres, and The Banff School. While at Banff, MacLeod studied under Takao Tanabe and Alan Wood, who influenced his art. He also spent time travelling through Europe in the late 1970s and early 1980s. MacLeod won various awards and scholarships and showed six exhibitions of his work during his lifetime.
Cameron MacLeod's art can be divided into four periods. From his time in high school and at UBC, the first period consists mainly of paintings of landscapes and graveyards. This period was influenced by the Group of Seven and Emily Carr and MacLeod's time in Haida Gwaii. The second period spans his time at The Banff School. It comprises landscapes and depictions of Indigenous encampments influenced by the Fauve School, Gordon Smith, Allen Jones, and Alan Wood. MacLeods third period of work, completed during his travels in France and England, is made up of landscapes influenced by Cezanne and Van Gogh. Francis Bacon and Giacometti heavily influenced his final period. MacLeod used charcoal and oil to create black and white pieces that often reflected the trauma of his open-heart surgery and represented, as curators Caroline Riedel and Meredith Temple described, a final journey inward.
MacLeod died of heart failure at age 25 in 1983, following a long struggle with anorexia. His work has been shown several times after his death. His family put on an exhibit in Vancouver in 2004 titled Beyond Presences: An Exhibition of Cameron Ian MacLeod (1958-1983), and in 2008-2009, the McPherson Library Gallery in Victoria put on an exhibit titled In Search of Lost Time: The Art of Cameron Ian MacLeod, 1958-1983.

Custodial history

Cameron MacLeod’s records were kept by the creator until his death in 1983. After that date the creator’s mother, Celeste Shannte (MacLeod), had custody of the records until they were donated to the UBC Archives. The bulk of these materials were donated in 2014; three bound journals were donated in 2016.

Scope and content

This fonds contains records relating to Cameron MacLeod’s schooling, personal life, and work as an artist. The majority of the material spans from his childhood until his death in 1983, but the fonds also contains records relating to posthumous exhibitions of his artwork. Included in the fonds are schoolwork, personal reflections and journals, correspondence with family and friends, photographs, and examples of his artwork.

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Location of originals

Oversize folders of art are located in the archives vault, cabinet 2, drawer 9. Files are labelled "Cameron MacLeod fonds (34 items) ca. 1981, 1 of 2" and "Cameron MacLeod fonds (47 items) 1964-1981 2 of 2."

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Researchers are strongly advised to check with the University Archives regarding permission to publish or otherwise use materials from this fonds.

Finding aids

Online finding aid
Please see the finding aid for an inventory of files.

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No further accruals are expected.

General note

The dates on some of the records are not written in MacLeod’s hand. It is probable that these were supplied by his mother, Celeste Shannte.

Physical description

Includes: 119 drawings, 22 paintings, 3 watercolours, 6 prints, 3 collages, and 25 photographs col. & b&w.

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