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!