The Fine Art Society: John McLean’s The Boston Pictures 1982

The spacious arrangement, architectural convenience, ideal setting, and organization make The Fine Art Society one of the most renowned spaces for engaging and talented artists’ presentation not only in Edinburgh, but perhaps in the UK as well. The Boston Pictures display was made possible when a teaching position led John McLean to the United States’ historic city of Boston (which in its refined appeal and concentrated cultural scene can certainly be foundational for comparison parallels with our own Edinburgh). The artist spent his spare time wrapped in artistic expression, the fruits of which were apparently destined to exist separated from their creator until last summer.

McLean’s work is striking in its effortless flow and acquisition of light, contributing to a towering and vibrant energetic field. The vehement expression of light and suspended longing in the confident high-light strokes are apparent indicators of the complexity of the artist’s style. McLean’s figurative expression predisposes the viewer to search for the enigmatic meaning of the emotion or subject the pieces are representational of. His smooth color combinations, as well as the layered quality of the work, evidently speaks of intimate psychological mapped portraits (or possibly self-portraits), or perhaps an uncontained expression, provoked by the insistent beauty of the surrounding world, its key existence drenched in light and color.

One piece which I personally find utterly powerful is the acrylic painting “Shawmut”. The floating color strokes seem to levitate against the atmospheric background. This use of emotionally charged instances, which seem so momentary that they can be swept away at any moment, is reminiscent of certain aspects of Kandinsky’s later pieces. There exists a slight, yet enjoyable cryptic quality to McLean’s pieces, which can relate to a sense of existential eternal wisdom as the backdrop for a raw, profoundly saturated abandon in the present instance.

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