I met my husband Pierre Leichner when he was working as a psychiatrist at the Douglas Psychiatric Hospital in Montreal. Shortly after we moved to Vancouver, it became clear that he was increasingly frustrated by the corporate mentality that was infiltrating health care. In 2002, after being told he could not advocate publicly for service, he decided to quit and become a full-time artist. He enrolled at Emily Carr Art and Design University and obtained his BFA in 2007 he then obtained his MFA from Concordia University in Montreal. He stopped his clinical practice fully in 2010 and now describes himself as an interdisciplinary artist with a socially engaged practice with a focus on the environment and mental health. Soon after graduating, he became a collective member of Gallery Gachet in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side and a board member of the Vancouver Community Arts Council.
He has been in many local and international solo and group shows. I have enjoyed travelling with him to many countries where he presented his projects at international conferences and in several artist residencies. His work is often emotionally challenging for him as it addresses damages to our environment, social inequities, and prejudices. He believes that art is a way of learning and sharing
knowledge that should be accessible to everyone at all ages.
-Written by Marina Leichner, wife
Which ’hood are you in?
We live on the beautiful North Shore of Vancouver beside the Capilano River on the unceded territory of the Squamish Nation.
What do you do? What are you currently working on?
I am working each day on several projects concurrently. Most mornings I and my wife are at the Gym (I still compete in triathlons and win in my age group as I am the only one). I then work on administrative organizational correspondence, including making submissions and try in the afternoon to get into my studio to make new works.
My latest projects include paintings and videos with compost worms to address the damages of commonly used agrochemicals, and exploring the experiences of immigrants (I emigrated to Canada in 1960) with sculptures made of cement, shoelaces and barbed wire, and promoting underrepresented outsider artists with the Vancouver Outsider arts festival and the Connection Salon Group.
Where can we find your work?
My work is mostly documented on my website and my alter’s YouTube Channel DrLegumes. My worm paintings and videos are on show at the Outlet Art Gallery in Port Coquitlam until January 2023. My gravitational doors are on display at the H.R.Macmillan Space Center in Vancouver.