Posts Tagged ‘canberra’

Bonsai and Monotype

April 21, 2016

eucumbene

Well I am well out of the habit of writing blog posts, but there are a couple of pieces of news to share, so I am back. The two things are related, and they have to do with monotype. Firstly, my work above, Eucumbene, is in a show at the moment at Megalo Print Studio & Gallery in Canberra.  The show is called Bonsai + Print and it is the culmination of a year long project which brought together five printmakers and five bonsai artists.  More about that shortly.  The other thing is that Megalo have asked me to present a monotype workshop next month (May 22 – see here for details). This will be just a one day workshop to keep it as a fun and easy thing to do.  We will probably concentrate on black and white images for this one, and then schedule a later class for working with multiple colours later.

bonsaianika

The Bonsai + Print show has been really well received with many people commenting on how different the gallery feels with the living (and quite spectacular) bonsai in the space.  The above shot shows a great bonsai Banksia by Mike and a large print by Annika Romeyn which also happens to be a monotype.  Mike was the bonsai artist who responded to my query as to if anyone had any dead bonsai they could give me.  I intended to slice them up and either make relief prints as they were, or use them for wood engravings.  The dead bonsai that I received fromMike were such interesting objects though, I got stuck on making drawings of them and later monotypes and still haven’t reached the stage of being ready to slice them up yet.  A prominent feature of bonsai is of course scale, with the plants looking like scale models of much larger trees, and so it just felt right to start printing the monotypes on some of my sizeable collection of old maps (that’s another story).  I started drawing the trees in an upright fashion, but with them being dead, and using the maps which seemed to emphasise land as something to be used and altered for industrial purposes (like the map used for Eucumbene, which is actually a blueprint used in planning some of the tunnels that make up the Snowy Hydro Scheme in the Australian Alps) I began to think about the loss of very old trees from many of our landscapes and other forms of degradation of nature, habitat and soil that have occurred, and so my tree forms became fallen.

You can see a review of the show here, and it will be on at Megalo until April 30.  Keep an eye on the Megalo Facebook page; it seems like a number of us will be giving an artist talk in the gallery at 2pm on the last day (Saturday April 30) but that’s not quite confirmed yet.

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The Endless Transience of Being

September 3, 2015

sp-paint-seeking2

This blog may well have been in a state of inaction, but believe me I haven’t !  A new solo show titled The Endless Transience of Being opens tonight at Megalo Print Studio & Gallery.  Every show is important of course, but this one feels especially so.  It’s my first solo show in Canberra (where I currently live) since 2012, and the first big showing of a new body of work since a rather serious crisis of confidence and subsequent withdrawal from making much new work through 2013 and 2014.  Many artists suffer from a lot of uncertainty about the value of their own work, and whether it will be perceived by others in a way that even remotely matches how they themselves see it and its meanings.  The more personal the work, the greater the existential risk of course.  Well so far the feedback I’ve had on this show has indicated that the way other people interperate the work is quite within the bounds of where I wanted it situated, and if anyone has decided on the basis of the show that I might be a bit unhinged, they’ve kept it to themselves!

Noted art historian Sasha Grishin has published a review in the Canberra Times here.

McLean enjoys velvety blacks which have been pushed back with a cloth and brush to release brilliant contrasts, where white forms appear with an almost hypnotic intensity and develop a ghostly presence. Within this grid of monotypes there are some stark and beautiful images including Sacred grove and Fallen feather, which have a crispness of definition, while at the same time a certain sophisticated abstraction. It is this quality of something existing and being present, but within an undetermined passage of time, that seems to be implied in the title of one continuous meditation on the “transience of being”. The mood of the whole installation is slightly melancholic and sombre with rocks, water and the naked human flesh appearing as recurring elements. The whole installation could be interpreted as a young man’s meditation on being and time with a considerable dose of passion, angst and high romanticism.

I’m pretty happy with that!

exhibitions, sooner and later

December 7, 2012
'The Stuff of Life' (detail), Bone powder and Acacia gum on black paper, Peter McLean, 2012

‘The Stuff of Life’ (detail), Bone powder and Acacia gum on black paper, Peter McLean, 2012

The (more or less) annual M16 Drawing prize is on again, and it opens tonight! (That’s Friday December 7th, M16 Artspace, 21 Blaxland Crescent, Griffith, Canberra.)  This is a detail from my entry, a drawing in powdered bone on the ever wonderful Black Hahnemuhle – that’s paper for those not familiar – I’m not sure which is my favourite, Black Hahnemuhle, or Kozo Extra Light.  It’s like trying to compare apples and oranges really.  I’ve only given a glimpse of the drawing, you’ll have to head along to the M16 Gallery sometime before December 21st to see the whole thing, and no, despite appearances and expectations, it’s not a drawing of mountains.  I know a lot of the names on the finalist list, and I’ve no doubt it is a great show that will delight and amaze!

For those who might be in Brisbane come January 2013, I’m currently putting together a new solo show to be held at the Brisbane Institute of Art from January 10-23.  I was drafting some publicity material today, so here’s a sneak preview.  More on In Place soon.

in-placejpg

pic of the day

August 20, 2012

Fog and Fault Lines

July 22, 2012

Tomales Bay, relief print, Peter McLean, 2011

The Great Northern adventure is not quite finished (a few days left in Helsinki), but it is time to cast my mind back to California as I will be showing the work created there last year at Fog and Fault Lines, a new exhibition at Megalo Print Studio and Gallery in Canberra.  I was invited to participate in the JB Blunk Residency by the Lucid Art Foundation, located in Inverness, West Marin, and spent two productive months there.   Actually, I often cast my mind back to California, and Inverness in particular.  I felt so at home there, like that place and I were really beginning to understand each other, especially the hills and forest around JB’s very special house.  The prints and drawings that will be shown in Megalo’s gallery still make me feel like I am looking into the eyes of the spirits of the land, speaking to me with a voice I can’t quite understand.

The show will be opening on August 2 at 6pm and will run until August 18.  Megalo is at 49 Phillip Avenue, Watson, ACT, Australia and is open Tuesday to Saturday 9.30am – 5.00pm.

 

gallery pics

July 29, 2011

Preserved Disintegrations was a great success at The Front Gallery, but alas the show is all packed down again now.  Here’s a few gallery shots for those who weren’t able to make it.


sky

July 3, 2011

One of the special projects that will be a part of my upcoming show will be a letterpress broad side I’ve just printed. One of the awards I received when I graduated from ANU school of art in 2009 was the Ampersand Duck Broadside Residency. This gave me the chance to work with Ampersand (aka Caren Florance) to produce a broadside. Broadside (or broadsheet) historically refered to any single sheet of paper printed with text on one side – ie, the original poster. These days broadsides are fine art productions using a combination of image and text, often poetry.

The poem I chose is called Sky by New Zealand poet Brian Turner. It ended up quite a complex project, with the image made up of a relief print from a borer eaten section of Acacia trunk, a moderate sized wood engraving (on a commercial birch block), and the type. The result however looks elegant and simple.

Below is the carved 4″ x 5″ block and the engraving tools.

and a proof print. The block got significant changes between this print and the final version.

My piece of acacia trunk, lovingly sanded smooth and ready for hand printing in Caren’s lovely studio – look at all that nice woody and printy stuff!

Caren fine tuning the type and the wood engraving on her press.

To see some more images of the process, including the finished print (and info on how to buy one!) have a look at what Caren said about it here. Or better yet, come along to the show at The Front Gallery in Canberra.

exhibition

June 27, 2011

Sent off the file to the printers today for the invite to a new show opening at The Front Gallery and Cafe in Lyneham, Canberra from July 20th. Working hard to get it all together on time, but it’s looking good so far. Will make a nice last hurrah before setting off travelling. I’ll add more images from the show over the next few weeks.

lakeside leaf man

June 6, 2011

It’s been a beautiful autumn in Canberra and this day was one of the best, so I had a ride around the lake, got mesmerized by the glowing Beech trees, and made a little leaf man in a quiet spot by the lake.

more shelter structures

June 3, 2011

This temporary structure was found in the park beside Turner Primary School.  The litter of hats, shoes and other items recently discarded and forgotten confirmed that it was constructed by young students.

The authorship of this rather more sturdy structure is less certain.  Found on the edges of Canberra Nature Park, very close to residential areas and yet through the orientation of roads and paths and topography is a little pocket that few would visit.  Did someone actually camp here? (it wouldn’t be the first instance of semi permanent residence on Black Mountain that has slipped under the radar).  Teenagers expending their physical and creative energies happily out of sight?  The site doesn’t appear to have been recently occupied and seems little changed to when I first discovered it two years ago.  Whatever the origins, it sits quietly hunkered down in the woodland, proof of the desire to build structures from and within the environment.


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