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Maclean, Art, signs

In a solo exhibition of recent sculptures, paintings and assemblages at Galerie Roger Bellemare in Montreal (2015), Maclean navigated public space, outer space, and mortality. Included in the show were the articulated barricades (Passages), alongside small-scale paintings. With a neo-geo flair, the paintings are bio-morphic multi-coloured compositions. There is a poetic intimiste sensibility to the aesthetic… The visual language of road signs gave way to astronomical charts and the geometry of constellations. Bright, textural matrices or grids of colour are geo-design paintings that evoke a sense of the immensity of space, of how art can animate emotions through colour and texture, pure and simple. Maclean’s art represents his ongoing meditation on our relationship to modernity, the land and modern industrial civilization. “How do we perceive as beings in the time we live in?” Maclean wonders.

The vernacular of Maclean’s  Passages – the articulated sculptural barriers – as with the STOP signs, is to encourage people to think beyond any public idiom that encourages fear, orthodoxy, and conformity. The moving barricades are gestural, and yet contain the language of control, but altered beautifully. Typically, they suggest enclosure, blockage, an endpoint, but here they offer a chance for change, for entering a more imaginative and creative realm.


Rounding out the show, in a separate room, Maclean presented the triptych On 100 Years On (2014). The piece is a kind of collaboration and a reflection on an early painting by Picasso from the Cubist period in the MOMA Collection… This painting is interpreted three times over: copied by Maclean, copied by an unknown artist in China, and still another….

Why the process? On 100 Years On describes the great comparative distances between cultures. We feel the intensity of production in the 21st century, and sense that our awareness of Picasso’s art may not be firsthand but through reproduction. All this adds to, changes, plays with, and processes the process by which we perceive and appreciate art in our times.


Maclean, Art, Painting, MoMA, Picasso, China
On One Hundred Years On
(Triptych), 2014

Oil on canvas

each 23 ½” x 31 ¼”

“Stop-Art” and Signs of the Times p.4

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