Life in Colour: Bruce McLean

As part of our upcoming Life in Colour exhibition this spring we look into the lives of the artists at the heart of the show. Starting with Bruce McLean...

Bruce McLean

 Cobweb of a Potato

Cobweb of a Potato

Bruce McLean was born in Glasgow and studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1961 to 1963, and at Saint Martin’s School of Art, London, from 1963 to 1966.

At Saint Martin’s, McLean studied with Anthony Caro and Phillip King. In reaction to what he regarded as the academicism of his teachers he began making sculpture from rubbish. 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, 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.

 Shades of Grey - Light Blue

Shades of Grey - Light Blue

He was given an exhibition at the Tate Gallery at the age of 27. Since then, McLean has gained international recognition for his paintings, ceramics, prints, work with film, theatre and books. His work is in a permanent state of movement and invention and seeks to challenge the concept of ‘art’ by creating work that questions establishment thinking, materials and methods of display.

 Room of a mean Martini

Room of a mean Martini

Bruce’s bold and confident approach to print making has proved influential to his contemporaries and also to a generation of younger artists.

Bruce’s 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. He 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.

Life in Colour featuring limited edition prints by Bruce McLean will be on show from 12th May 2018

Emma Birts