Bruce McLean

2 Rock and Shoreskapes, Largiebeg


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Bruce McLean born 1944
2 photographs, black and white, on paper and typewritten caption on card
Unconfirmed: 505 × 787 mm
Purchased 1973

Display caption

These photographs record McLean's attempt to make paintings in which the landscape itself would take an active, creative role. In Seaskape he laid a 150-foot roll of sensitised paper on the shore, intending to 'let the sea make [a] mark, a perfect pure mark, over which I had little control'. However, the paper floated out to sea. For the Rock and Shoreskapes, he placed a 33-foot long sheet of white paper on the rocky shore and applied watercolour paint. Exposed to the elements, the paint ran, and the paper acquired numerous tears and stains.

Gallery label, August 2004

Does this text contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? We would like to hear from you.

Catalogue entry

Bruce McLean b.1944

T01739 2 Rock and Shoreskapes, Largiebeg 1969

Not inscribed.
Two black and white photographs and typewritten caption, laid on white card, 19¿ x 31 (50.5 x 79).
Purchased from the artist through the Situation Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1973.
Exh: As for T01738.

The caption, located as in T01738, reads‘2 Rock & Shoreskapes, Largiebeg. August 1969 (paper & water based paint) Isle of arran.’ The left photograph, which includes the artist, measures 11½ x 8¾ in.; the right photograph, which shows Holy Island in the distance, measures 11½ x 8¾ in. Both photographs were taken by Dirk Buwalda.

Both photographs record the execution of a single painting by McLean which was exhibited in When Attitudes Become Form, I.C.A., September–October 1969, with four or five other paintings of the same kind by McLean, and which he still possesses. The artist told the compiler (May 1974) that he laid a 33 foot long sheet of white paper on the rocky seashore, and then applied watercolour paints to it in an attempt to match the colours of the surfaces the paper covered, including the flowers growing there. As with the use of sensitised paper in T01738, his aim was a landscape painting. The colours ran, in configurations not controlled by the artist, as a result of the paper’s being disposed at irregular angles over the rocks. They were further affected by the rain that fell on them during the execution of the work, and the paper was torn in places by the rocks. The marks made in this work were thus determined by the landscape conditions in which it was made. The painting and the others of the same type were exhibited at the I.C.A. laid on the floor.

The catalogue of the exhibition When Attitudes Become Form reproduces several photographs of a painting related to those shown in both T01738 and T01739, though executed in England, in the previous month.

Published in The Tate Gallery Report 1972–1974, London 1975.

You might like

In the shop