Bruce McLean



Not on display

Bruce McLean born 1944
Monotype on paper
Image: 806 × 1175 mm
Purchased 1985

Catalogue entry

Bruce McLean born 1944

P77123 Untitled 1985

Monotype 806 x 1175 (31 3/4 x 46 1/4) on Vélin d'Arches paper, same size; printed by Alan Cox at Sky Editions and published by Bernard Jacobson Gallery
Inscribed ‘Bruce McLean 1985' b.r.; printer's stamp b.r.
Purchased from Bernard Jacobson Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1985

P77123 is a monotype which was made by drawing with paint and inks on to a perspex surface and printing the surface on a lithographic press. It is the twenty-first monotype in a series of twenty-five that were executed, very swiftly, for the artist's exhibition at Bernard Jacobson Gallery in 1985. The series continued to grow after the exhibition when McLean returned to Sky Editions to make further monotypes.

In making monotypes the artist was able to work with great speed and spontaneity. The composition of P77123 incorporates familiar and frequently used images from McLean's repertoire of forms. Like many of McLean's compositions there is in P77123 no strict demarcation between foreground and background. This is particularly apparent in the two most schematic images, the wedge-shaped face (see entry on P77055) and the horizontal female torso which exist as incised images on their own self contained backgrounds. A similar structural ambiguity is projected by the two ‘dancing' female nudes whose body contours are partly delineated by incised lines and partly by the more crudely shaped edges of the flat, black silhouettes that they make.

The overall background of the image is blue and the four motifs are set out on black. The central area is a red rectangle the bottom half of which has been overlaid in gold paint. The colours have been allowed to drop vertically and flow together along the bottom of the sheet. To the left of centre a torrent of powdery grey spills down, as if it were pouring from the jug-like female torso. This ambivalence or duality between jug and female is seen in several paintings by McLean, most notably ‘O.T.' 1985 (repr. Bruce McLean: Simple Manners or Physical Violence, exh. cat., Galerie Gmyrek, Düsseldorf 1985, [p.20]).

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.411-12


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