LEOPOLD PLOTEK makes paintings that interrogate boundaries: of abstract and figurative, memory and experience, subconscious and intellect. A protégé of the Plasticien artist Yves Gaucher, Plotek spent the early years of his career grappling with his place in the “stream of modernism.” A summer in Italy proved fruitful: the painter returned to Montréal with “an urgent desire to capture something of the feeling I had undergone” while immersed in the architectural traditions of Western culture.
Having since established himself as one of Québec’s leading painters, Plotek continues to be inspired by the “forms that offered themselves to be encountered and responded to at the deepest levels of my imagination.” His large-scale canvases reframe the Western canon as an object of personal experience, expressing his own engagement with its architecture, objects, artists and philosophers – often to comment on civilization’s enduring folly.
Born in 1948 in Moscow, USSR, Plotek emigrated to Canada from Warsaw, Poland in 1960. The artist was educated at McGill University and Sir George Williams University, Montréal, where he studied under Gaucher and Roy Kiyooka; and at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, under William Townsend.
In 2017, the Koffler Centre of the Arts, Toronto, presented Leopold Plotek: No Work, Nor Device, Nor Knowledge, Nor Wisdom, which surveyed five decades of the artist's extensive practice. The exhibition showcased paintings from 1979 to the present, debuting his most recent works alongside pivotal earlier canvases.
Since 1976, Plotek has been the subject of almost 30 solo shows in Toronto and Montréal. Prominent institutions that have hosted group exhibitions featuring Plotek's work include the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (Inaugural Exhibition, 1988); the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal (1982) and the Musée d'art contemporarian de Montréal (1982, 1995, 2001, 2017).
Plotek's work is represented in major Canadian public collections including the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Québec City; and the Canada Council for the Arts, Ottawa. His work can be found in corporate and private collections across Canada and internationally. He lives and works in Montréal, where he is Professor of Fine Art at Concordia University.