John McLean: Flare
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Part of Edinburgh Art Festival 2022, The Fine Art Society presents Flare, an exhibition of paintings by abstract artist John McLean (1939-2019). Colour, form, and space are the core elements of John's work. From the formal precision of his early work, to the free-flowing painterly expression he later developed, luminosity and rhythm run throughout. In 1981 he made his first visit as a guest artist to the Emma Lake workshop in Saskatchewan, Canada. Critics and artists there had an impact on John’s work, as did the landscape of the North American prairies. Throughout the 1980s John made regular visits to North America, sometimes spending whole summers in the city of Saskatoon to capture the light.
The son of artist Talbert McLean, John was raised in Arbroath and moved to London to study at the Courtauld Institute, spending the 1960s and 1970s at the Stockwell Depot of artists. His first solo exhibition was in 1975 at Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, and he has since had more than forty solo exhibitions worldwide. John’s painting has often been described as lyrical, but these are playful too. Bold strokes of colour are suspended, as if agitating independently. He was once described as "an explorative perfectionist" by Tim Hilton. Nothing in these works is accidental, but such is the apparent freedom with which they have been executed we are lulled into a sense of unconfined possibility.