Barbara McLean, Peer Gallery
Barbara McLean holds a BFA from NSCAD University and a certificate of graphic design from Sheridan College.
Solo Exhibitions in 2012
May 13 - June 10: Markers and Tracings: ARTsPLACE, Annapolis Royal, NS
September 1 – 30: Abstract Landscapes: Harvest Gallery, Wolfville, NS
Solo Exhibitions in 2011
May 7 – 19: Old Ground/New Ground: Peer Gallery, Lunenburg, NS.
Solo Exhibitions in 2010
March 19 - May 21: Chance and Circumstance: (Abstract Paintings), Atlantic School of Theology, Halifax
April 1 - April 30: Barbara McLean: Abstract Landscapes, Art Sales and Rental Gallery, Halifax
Bold brush strokes and powerful compositions characterize Barbara McLean’s canvases no matter what the subject matter. As a painter she is well known for her landscapes. However, recently Barbara has exhibited large, totally abstract works charged with colour and energy. The ebb and flow of compositional elements, along with subtle shifts of tone, remain strong references to the organic roots of these paintings. She says: “Even my abstracts have natural underpinnings. It may be the colours of dawn on the lake near my home, the sweeping lines of a snow drift or the shadows of a spruce bough on the ground that motivate my initial mark making, but my natural environment is almost always the source of my paintings.” (Barbara's Gallery).
Barbara has long been recognized for her strong semi-abstract landscapes and is continuing to create new paintings in this vein. However of late, abstraction in and of itself has become particularly compelling for her. Dissolving Time, Secrets Within Secrets, and Centering are elegant examples of this engagement.
About her abstract work Barbara says:
For me, painting abstractly is totally absorbing. The outside world disappears, leaving me to search for something that is beyond the concrete and beyond words, but at the same time, something that is very important to me and that I can communicate only through drawing and painting.
My current body of work entitled Markers and Tracings, is founded on the human need to be noted and the incentive to leave a personal mark. Marks can vary from the intrusive scrawl on the wall of a public washroom to the awe-inspiring drawings in the caves at Lascaux and Chauvet. They are a call to some anonymous and hoped-for Other to bear witness to the cry—“I am here, in this place, at this time”.
The paintings that have evolved during my investigation of this theme function both as a response to the marks of others and at the same time as my personal statement within the theme itself. I know that I will continue to develop work of this kind well beyond its beginning in the exhibition, Markers and Tracings, ARTsPLACE. An exciting prospect!
As engrossing as Barbara finds abstraction, she has not abandoned landscape painting. This year, one of her landscapes, Poplars by the Road, was used prominently on the set of the Stephen King thriller, A Bag of Bones with Pierce Broznan. The same piece featured as the backdrop of an recent episode of the comedy production, Picnic Face. Barbara’s landscapes can be seen in the book Land and Sea, Landscape Painters of Nova Scotia (Nimbus Press) On the other hand, one of her abstracts, Passages 8, was selected for the 2010 issue of the Queen’s University visual arts magazine, Lighthouse Wire, and another, Horizon Lost, was bought by the Nova Scotia Art Bank.
“It is fun to be able to work both objectively and non objective.” she says. “I cannot foresee entirely leaving either way of working.”