Diane Maclean: Lines of Light

1 May 2022 – 31 Oct 2022

Regular hours

10:30 – 17:00
10:30 – 17:00
10:30 – 16:30
10:30 – 17:00
10:30 – 17:00
10:30 – 17:00

Save Event: Diane Maclean: Lines of Light

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Diane Maclean presents a metallic journey in LINES OF LIGHT.


Light defines Diane Maclean’s sculpture. It is both its subject and means. As the title of her exhibition Lines of Light suggests, her luminous articulation is invariably a linear affair. Maclean often uses linear stainless steel components that have been mechanically burnished to what is described in industry, as ‘brushed’. These surfaces are not mirror polished, instead they capture softer, more blurred reflections. This makes them highly responsive to ambient light because their surfaces are not dominated by perfect reflections of the sculpture’s surroundings. Instead, they subtly capture the nuances and changes in tone and intensity of sunlight.

Thresholds is a good example of this linearity, with its three giant portals creating an array of frames that trisect a circle. It therefore presents a variety of planar surfaces to the sun’s movement, which in turn produces bursts of light on its surfaces in different places at different times of the day.  As well as being weather responsive, Thresholds is both frame and portal. In looking through, there is allusion to what is beyond, whereas whilst framing, it focuses the mind on the sculpture’s more immediate surroundings.

In Sky Circles, the lines of form have been metaphorically rolled into circles. In contrast to Thresholds, their greater number and divergently sloping orientations means the sculpture is even quicker to change in response to the sun’s position. This sculpture is very much a visual barometer of the weather, and in particular the sky, which Maclean sought to draw down to earth through its creation. Whilst some of her sculptures adeptly respond to weather, Rainfall is more interpretative. It is also site-specific to the architectural features of the gardens at Burghley. Leaping over the wall into a burst of arching rods, each tipped with small discs of polished steel, this sculpture unites two distinct sides to the garden.

As well as the linear, there is a second component in Maclean’s vocabulary that exploits light. This concerns her use of stainless steel sheet that has been treated with an oxide, which means that when the viewing angle changes, so too does its colouration. This change can be precipitated by the movement of the viewer or, in the case of kinetic work, by the sculpture itself. At Burghley there are two of these sculptures on display. The first of these, Leaves of Light, hangs from a large tree, allowing the leaves to twist in the wind. From any viewing perspective, this changes both the surface profile and colour of the elemental leaves.

Another sculpture also incites viewers to move around its components. The 4 elongated pyramids of Equivalents are arranged in an arc that bisects the elliptical amphitheatre. As viewers move on the upper slopes of this garden feature, individual planes of a single pyramid will often shine with reflected light. Then, as that viewer moves, other planes will glean, with the crisp edges of the geometric forms illuminated by a linear flare. This final offering by Maclean concludes the work in the show and unites many of her sculptural concerns: responsiveness to sunlight, the interaction of line and plane, viewer movement, and inference of things ‘beyond’.


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