Posts Tagged ‘skull’

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!

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lake george happenings

July 22, 2010

Lake Geoge, near Canberra has been getting a lot of attention lately, and as I’ve written about the lake here before I thought it might be a good way to bet back to blogging after I’ve left it dormant for a while (apologies to my regular readers – you know who you are!). What has to be the best public art I’ve seen in a long time appeared on the lake recently and has been drawing a lot of attention from passing motorists. Four life-size and realistic sculptured zebras graze the lake bed in front of one of the rest stops. They were installed by artists, Alan and Julie Aston.

It’s a bit old news now, but earlier in the year Weereewa-A Festival of Lake George, was held on and around the lake and in the nearby town of Bungendore. I was involved in a couple of events. Megalo Print Studio and Gallery mounted an exhibition of hand printed tea towels titled “windwash”. I screenprinted a couple of designs which contributed to the installation of work from many members which stretched some 200 meters out onto the dry lakebed.

Finally, another festival event was a “works on paper” exhibition and prize. After spending some time exploring the lakebed one afternoon, and collecting materials I made a drawing using powdered bone and sediment from the lake on black paper, which won me a joint first prize!

“Lake George”, Peter McLean, powdered bone, lake sediment and acacia gum on paper

new engravings

April 7, 2010

After a very busy month, I’ve finally had a run of a few days at home. Apart from a lot of gardening, I’ve also made a couple of new wood engravings. Firstly a tiny landscape carved on a small round of pear wood, about an inch across.

After that warm up, I moved onto something a little more ambitious. An image of an animal skull on a large round of hawthorn. The block is about 20cm long and the image itself about 10cm I guess. I’ve been carving it over the last few days and started proofing today. I’m still quite undecided how I want to print it for an edition. Printed as dense black, the engraved image looks great, but I think the shape of the block becomes too dominating, so I’ve been experimenting with lighter printing. Getting the balance right and the prints consistent will be something of a challenge though. Anyway, here’s some images.

wood engraving of scull from hawthorn block

Skull, wood engraving, Peter McLean 2010


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