Exhibition | Bruce McLean, ‘Gardenworks’
Vibrant silkscreen prints, collage and ceramics on a garden theme from the celebrated British artist
Acclaimed British conceptual artist Bruce McLean presents an exciting new exhibition of ceramics and limited edition silkscreen works inspired by the light, shapes and movement of his Spanish garden.
As well as sculpture and pottery, ‘Gardenworks’ will feature the Scottish-born artist’s newest monoprints with hand-painted and collage elements.
Collated from a decade of work originally provoked by the energy and colour of his wife Rosy’s carefully tended garden at the couple’s home in Menorca, these pieces burst with his trademark vibrant colour palette and wry humour.
“The garden is like a moving sculpture,” says McLean. “I sit and look at it – the light trickling through, the shapes and funny forms changing with the light, and as the wind moves stuff. That’s where it comes from. It’s not so much that the work is inspired by the garden as that it soaks into me.”
The earthenware vases and platters have been thrown and hand-painted by McLean in collaboration with the Stoke-on-Trent pottery and design studio 1882 Ltd. Also on show – and for sale – will be a series of original, hand-drawn and painted collage sketches for the ceramic pieces (such as ‘Garden Ware – Drawing 07’, below).
Born in 1944, McLean is one of the major figures of contemporary British art. He studied at Glasgow School of Art (1961-63) and at Saint Martin’s in London (1963-66), where he was taught by Sir Anthony Caro, Phillip King, Bill Tucker, Isaac Witkin and Peter Atkins.
In the 1960s McLean became known as an art world ‘dare-devil’, causing a stir at Saint Martin’s when he rejected his tutors’ views of what sculpture should be.
In ‘Pose Work for Plinths I’ (1971; London, Tate, below), he used his own body to parody the poses of Henry Moore’s celebrated reclining figures. He then went onto use rubbish or his body as sculptural material, making works that were all about plinths and framing devices.
At the age of just 27, McLean was the youngest artist ever to be offered an exhibition at the Tate Gallery, but opted, for a ‘retrospective’ lasting only one day.
A hugely experimental artist, since the late 1960s his range has included painting, printmaking, sculpture, film, photography drawing and live work.
After Saint Martin’s McLean went on to teach at numerous art schools including The Slade School of Fine Art, where he became Head of Graduate Painting (2002-2010). The making of prints and posters has been a central aspect of his work and continues to inform his sculptural investigations.
His work is held in private and public collections worldwide including the Tate Gallery, Arts Council of Great Britain, Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Museum of Modern Art, Edinburgh. He has exhibited at many major international exhibitions, from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the Venice Biennale, the Royal Academy of Arts and Tokyo’s Laforet Museum. He now largely works from his home studio in Barnes, west London.
For Arts Sake director Brian Davis said: “We are hugely honoured to have held and exhibited McLean’s prints for a great many years and are thrilled to host this latest survey of his most recent works.”
We are also pleased to announce an exclusive ‘Meet the Artist’ event on Saturday 9 March. Join us from 1-5pm for the chance to meet an icon of the contemporary art world and enjoy an exclusive viewing of his vibrant and stunning new exhibition.
Bruce McLean, ‘Gardenworks’, For Arts Sake, February 28 – March 17, 45 Bond Street, Ealing, W5 5AS, Mon-Fri, 10am-5.30pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12-5pm; ‘Meet the Artist’, Saturday 9 March, 1-5pm
Words: Alexa Baracaia