Wendy Mclean

Wendy Mclean specialises in small, quiet paintings. With these paintings she explores how they inhabit a space. The work focuses on the ideas of how intertwining work are articulated differently. She focuses on many paintings at the same time which centers around her daily practice. Shes doesn’t feel pressurised in this space but settled in her surroundings that prompt an exploration of the particular architectural forms in her setting e.g glass in a window, a railing etc.  Her work often explores the tensions of a passage of writing or words. Repetition of her small paintings allows her to slow down and, at once, speed up making. She feels that it is important not to accept the first version  of a piece of work and to exhaust each motif thoroughly.

In terms of process, Mclean often makes an ode to one of her previous works, but not intentionally. She finds that it takes at least 10 minutes to become relaxed enough to actually produce work. She must overtake the thinking in the process of making and live with things for a while. She stated that it takes 10-20 times to get to know something.

She talked about a set of work that tried to give permission and allow for contradictions. A painting could look like one thing and in its next evolution, inhabit what it seems to go against in its initial phase. Mclean also tests paintings against the memory of object – drawing its focus and holding its attention.

Beyond the hand holding this book that I’m reading, I see another hand lying idle and slightly out of focus – my extra hand.”

This is a quote By Lydia Davis that was especially influential for the artist and I enjoy how Davis draws attention to the previously unnoticed, similarly to Mclean’s tender and understated paintings

When starting and finishing a painting, Mclean recognises her habits and strives to break them. The thin cotton casts a shadow of the frame that confirms that the canvas doesn’t want heavy treatment. The wooden panels have very little grain and highlights the subtlety of not only her work, but her materials as well. Additionally, small works are also completed on paper, creating a small, archival library of paintings. These are not subservient to her weightier objects nor is their scale limited by size.

Mclean is also interested in storytelling. One narrative she recounted was of a mother fascinated  by an event out of her window. There is a significance in the barrier that the window provides, whilst being completely transparent.

 McLean_FINAL

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