Tuesday, 1 June 2010

John McLean- Painting to Sculpture

'Traffic Yellow', steel, powder coated steel and powder coated aluminium, 102 x 55 x 33cms

I enjoyed these sculptures by John McLean at Bourne Fine Art on a recent visit to Edinburgh. He is a painter I’ve admired for a long time, and these seemed an interesting development. They seemed to owe a lot to Matisse, as do his paintings despite their pure abstraction, but then again who doesn’t? I can hardly talk. I think it’s still difficult to get around Matisse for anyone trying to create anything in paint that explores the area between the representational and abstract values of the medium. But I digress…here’s what John McLean had to say about these new works:
“Making sculpture is more an impulse than an idea for me. An artist’s intentions are multiplex and hard to pin down. And when they can be clearly articulated, they are not necessarily relevant. Ideally, no one should be suggesting what the viewer ought to see. I have always wanted my work to speak for itself.”

“All of my free-standing pieces are close to my paintings and collages. They have the same vocabulary of simple shapes and are equally reliant on colour. Polychromy in sculpture never died out, but since Cubism it has had new vigour.”

“No matter what the medium I work towards such an interdependence of parts that nothing could be added or taken away- a kind of absolute. When it happens, the eye and the spirit join up, just as the ear and soul do when you listen to a fine song.”

I love this quote. It is so well expressed. It speaks volumes to me about my own interests and values in painting that I struggle to articulate when talking about much of my own work. Below is a nice example of the paintings McLean is well known for. There is so much to enjoy and learn from in his work.
L'Eventail, acrylic on paper, 77 x 57,5cms