Will Maclean is Britain’s leading box construction artist and is a master of assemblage. He exploits metamorphosis to create new realities and his deliberate imprecision touches us imaginatively by its alusiveness. Maclean’s work reflects the central concerns that have shaped modern art and given it its moral validity.
Best known for his works that refer to the mythologies and lives of individuals and cultures who live and work by the sea, Maclean’s interest is both specific and universal. Profound themes relating to journeys of every kind, involving exploration commemoration,navigation and migration, focus on man facing the unknown. While he has regularly drawn from his own experiences and knowledge of Scotland, in particular the Highlands, he has also embraced encounters and histories that originate further afield, from Ancient Greece to North America.
In this enthralling body of work for Driftworks, Maclean explores new technologies and materials. Winner of the Creative Scotland award in 2000, he set about working in new media, including bronze and digital animation. ’Cod Requiem’ is a key note in the exbibition, comprising an atmospheric cod soundtrack and defunct Newfoundland cod-jiggers, or lures which are animated in a twelve minute projection. They evoke the thrill of navigation and discovery through a surreal juxtapolition of scientific technology and ethnographic material.
The sculptures and box constructions reveal his life-long fascination with museums and their devices of display and classification. His on-going series ‘Objects of Unknown Use’ conveys the playful, witty approach that underlies much of Maclean’s work. Kim Ness, Director of the McMaster Museum of Art (Hamilton, Ontario), hosted Maclean’s U.S. touring show Cardinal Points in 1999, has grasped the significance of this in her catalogue essay for Driftworks: "An exceptional and deceptive artifice is paralleled in Will Maclean’s art with a sophistication of conception and execution. " The objects are exquisitely made and are imbued with the power and poetry of his principal subjects.
His rare but highly acclaimed exhibitions win him standing ovations from critics, curators and collectors
Driftworks is Maclean’s title for a major body of ongoing work for three major exhibitions, starting at Dundee Contemporary Arts in November 2001. For its London presentation, "Driftworks"coincides with the republication of Duncan Macmillan’s updated book THE ART OF WILL MACLEAN: Symbols of Survival. (£20.00). The third exhibition will take place at Art First New York in November 2003.
The Driftworks catalogue (£10.00) is also be available.
Lures and Leisters
mixed media construction
60 x 45 x 5 cm