This time last year, as relief from the winter gloom, we went down to Margate to see an exhibition of paintings by Patrick Heron. This year there’s no need to travel quite so far; the Art Space Gallery in Islington is full of winter sunshine until the end of January. I don’t know why I’ve never been before. It’s an intimate series of rooms and alcoves and niches, presently framing some wonderfully joyful bursts of colour by John McLean. It’s a memorial exhibition for a sharp, bright and generous spirit. Continue reading “Being John McLean”
For John McLean, 1939-2019.
Sadly I’m not allowed to post this video on our blog, but please watch it here.
John McLean is a Scottish abstract painter with work in some of the world’s great public art collections. In 2013 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. This feature-length documentary charts McLean’s struggle to carry on working as the disease takes hold. He proves to be an engaging, humorous and always fascinating companion as he allows us access to the most private of spaces; the artist’s studio. Parkinson’s gradually locks him into disability but he heroically and resolutely refuses to give up on his paintings.
“If you walk down the street with him he’ll notice some small architectural detail really high up quite obscure, and a little detail on a chocolate biscuit, the concaveness of the centre of it, which seems quite minor at the time, but it just shows this exploration into things visual and shapes, it’s all comical quite often and witty but then also deeply like kind of comes from being intrigued by life.”
Jack Fawdrey, studio assistant