Jim Macgregor

Medium: Acrylic, Magic Sauce

Jim has showcased his work during a solo exhibition called ROOM FOR MAGIC. See Exhibition page for past show information.


Jim Macgregor is an abstract artist creating with a colour palette that is intricate, yet quiet and calm, reflective of his introspective, gentle, curious personality. He follows the minimalist and post minimalist movements with a reductive style.

I know a lot about moving paint around. Some from formal education in painting and printmaking (BFA, University of Alberta, 1984). Some from a menagerie of mini careers as a freelancer including film and theatre where I painted sets, or as a faux finish artist where I mimicked surfaces for businesses and private residential clients.(My 7 year old skater kid’s bedroom looked, literally, like a concrete skatepark.)

Experience garnered from these varied disciplines has given me an appetite for exploration, exposure to a multitude of ways in which to manipulate painting materials and facility with the tools to do so.

At this writing, I have painted for some 39 years now. At points in my life I have been without a studio space or had children to raise, and thus, I have had chapters, chunks of time which have been more productive than others. However, I have always maintained a creative practice in some way, shape, or form. I have had five studio spaces in my life, the most significant of which would be the first I occupied after my degree, in the Phillips Building on 104 Street.

I have had spotty involvement in exhibitions and with galleries. I have had self mounted café shows and cameos in group shows. I have never abandoned my practice. Patience is a virtue, and my chapter has arrived in good time.

Painting/making is my calling, a devotion and the most authentic communication I have at my disposal. We are all differently gifted and I believe we are bound to honour these gifts in order to live our time in truth and gratitude.

Why am I a painter?

I guess I feel as though making art is my highest contribution and my legacy. I will not leave behind a treasure trove worthy of a dragon, but through my work there will, evermore, be an essence, a vestige of me present in the room for those who wish it so. A communication I delivered that resonated with someone who had maybe made a similar observation, or felt a certain way, but had no means to express.

It is also self-care of the highest order for someone like me.

My work through the pandemic feels, to me, akin to when someone places a blanket on your shoulders as a way of saying ‘I cant really fix things but I can offer this little gesture of kindness because I see you’re hurting’.

I set out to express something to the world that is personal, simple, beautiful and meaningful.

I have access to a method of communication most people do not. My voice is not reliant on language in order to be heard and understood. The language of the non representational artist is universal, requiring nothing more than engagement from the viewer.

People needn’t worry about ‘getting it’; there is nothing to get.

Only something to bring. An open mind and an awareness of feelings whatever they may be.

I hope to produce something evocative so that my own intentions have less to do with the way the work lands than what the viewer offers to the work, from their own lived experience of the world.

I set the stage, arrange the players and in the end, ‘the play’s the thing’, mine being only one interpretation of countless valid ‘takes’ on the world.

If I have succeeded, these paintings will not confront, but rather engage the viewer. Should that viewer choose to live with one, I trust that the piece will be a calming, compelling and ever changing companion with a quiet but insistent voice.

On Process:

I am a process painter. I typically work in series, fascinated, maybe obsessed, by the way a group of work can amplify each other and reveal nuances, refinements in technique. I love a collection, of almost anything really.

I develop and explore formats. I am innovative in terms of material usage, tools, problem solving and utilizing crossover skill sets from various visual art disciplines.

I create opportunities for surprises by breaking rules and trusting in my ability to react in the moment.

My work is often propelled forward and along a fresh path by an addition of something new in studio, a colour, tool, a jig, a material, a technique to hone.

Always, I am concerned with a high level of execution and craftsmanship. I paint with intention and every step, every move I make is considered. I try at points in the development of each piece to relinquish some control to allow materials their voice. We must always leave room for magic.

I am there in the moment to trust, observe and learn. The lid of my toolbox is always open.

For more information or to contact this artist for a commission, please contact [email protected].