Made in his studio in London, the collection of earthenware comprise of fifty pieces, from 14cm to 80cm tall, all vessel or jug forms, some with the patterns applied by scratching the surface of the glaze before firing. Here, McLean works in the inverse of his former show, which employed black paint strokes on white, in rather more wonky shapes, made in his Menorcan garden studio. The latest more structured forms seemingly referencing the more urban environment, and move away from his signature wobble to a more stable form.
As a material, I like the immediacy of clay, and that it has a memory. I can paint with slip on the wet clay with an ease and fluidity that I don’t find on canvas. Emily had also promised me a good time in Stoke-on-Trent with real technical and professional support..I didn’t say no. “ Bruce McLean.
McLean is very instinctual, composing art works when the moment seizes him, then he avidly works, which is highly energised yet quite different to the all-nighters he used to do. Greatly drawn to light and shadow, McLean found himself engaged to ‘Garden Ware’ in very different ways in each studio; in Menorca the pieces were composed from within the abundant garden, created by his wife Rosy over the last thirty years, and in London, a different intimacy and beauty manifests.
Following his subversive and humorous nature, McLean believes that a good ceramic plate has to pass the tangerine test – one that was rigorously applied the original ‘Garden Ware’ platters with accents of colour.
For the ‘Garden Ware II’ collection, Bruce McLean questioned ‘Have these ceramics passed the potatoes against a black background test?’
For fifth generation Emily Johnson and co-founder of 1882 Ltd., Bruce McLean was a dream partnership. Having recently attended the exhibition ‘Prints I wish I had published’ at the Bernard Jacobson Gallery, she wholeheartedly agreed with the quote from Bernard Jacobson that “Bruce is an extremely witty man and also a highly intelligent one too. He also happens to be exceptionally kind, loving and generous of spirit.” She couldn’t express her feelings more eloquently.
‘Bruce is an artist and we are potters. The common language is the material and the joy is the personalities of the people involved. Bruce’s work resonates with so many as his genius and idiosyncracy that is so immediately apparent.” Emily Johnson, co-founder 1882 Ltd.
Paul Smith is delighted to host Bruce McLean + 1882 Ltd. to exhibit at Paul Smith No.9 Albemarle Street from 28th June - 25th July 2019.