Bruce McLean is one of the major figures of contemporary British Art. Born in 1944 he studied at Glasgow School of Art and at St. Martin's in London, where he was taught by Sir Anthony Caro. He found the attitude there ponderous: "Twelve adult men with pipes would walk for hours around sculpture and mumble." In reaction he turned to making sculpture out of rubbish, to performance art and to producing photographic works in which he often posed. All his work brilliantly sent up the pompousness of the art world and mocked established art forms.
He was given an exhibition at Tate Gallery at the age of 27. From the late 1970s McLean has made paintings and prints in which humour remains central. After St. Martin's McLean went on to teach at The Slade School of Fine Art. His early reputation arose from his activities as a sculptor involved in performance art. He has obtained international recognition for his paintings and prints, work with film theatre and books.
Bruce's bold and confident approach to print making proved influential to his contemporaries and also to a generation of younger artists. His work is in private and public collections world-wide and he has had numerous one man shows in both Europe and North America. These include The Tate Gallery, the Modern Art Gallery in Vienna and The Museum of Modern Art Oxford.
Bruce McLean was awarded the John Moores prize for painting in 1985, and is the Head of Graduate Painting at the Slade. He lives and works in London. His work is in private and public collections world-wide including the Tate Gallery, Arts Council of Great Britain, Victoria & Albert Museum, the National Museum of Modern Art, Edinburgh and the British Council. He has had numerous one man shows in Europe, North America, and Japan.
Now approaching his seventh decade McLean’s energy, vision and work ethic remain undimmed. 2014 saw two major exhibitions exploring his work: ‘Bruce McLean: Another Condition of Sculpture’ at Leeds Art Gallery, and ‘Bruce McLean: Sculpture, Painting, Photography, Film’ at Firstsite in Colchester, both shows included works spanning five decades. McLean’s work featured in the Royal Scottish Academy’s annual exhibition in 2016 and can currently be seen in Tate’s ‘Conceptual Art in Britain 1964-1979’ exhibition. He lives and works in West London.