Will Maclean

New Work
12 October - 11 November 2004



Poets and writers are drawn to the metaphorical art of Will Maclean - with good reason. His box constructions are indeed a 'world in a box', reaching out over centuries, tracking the great historic and more recent endeavours of men who choose to explore the oceans of the world.

The epic scale of their adventures, their life-defying encounters with the elements, the discovery of new lands, the navigation of sea passages through daunting polar environments; be they expedition leaders, whalers, fishermen, naval officers or emigrants, all this is the subject matter of Will Maclean's work.

Yet his art is reductive, honed, elegant and profound, like the poetry that it evokes. This is his world - the mythologies of those who live and work by the sea are central to his own ancestry and to the culture of the Hebrides in particular.

In the new work he combines the subjective world of family history with the motifs of surrealism in a display of visual thinking that is compelling. At times he creates memorials for those who never had them, but in a lighter mood, he also explores the inventions of the logbook. His data for this exhibition includes the history of 'the museum' itself, alongside the histories of navigators and explorers.

With wit and formal ingenuity he deconstructs and reconstructs found objects, infusing works such as The Navigator's Museum - Stone Log, Bone Sextant, and Log Boards with a particular time-based element.

Will Maclean is Research Professor at Dundee University. A major work has been acquired for the new Scottish Parliament building and commissioned sculptures and collaborative works can be seen in Skye, Lewis, and elsewhere in Scotland. He is represented in museum collections in the UK and in the USA.