North Sea Archives
19 April - 7 May 2005
ART FIRST at DKFA Projects
Suite 816, 526 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001
Tel 001 212 255 3094
Tuesday - Saturday 11am to 6pm
An illustrated catalogue with an introduction by Jessica Dubow accompanies the exhibition.
Poets and writers are drawn to the metaphorical art of Will Maclean with good reason. His box constructions are a 'world in a box'; reductive, honed, ship-shape and profound, reaching out over centuries to track the great historical and also the more recent endeavours of men who choose to explore the world's oceans.
The mythologies of those who live and work by the sea have always been central to Maclean's art and to his own ancestry. The epic scale of the adventures, the discovery of new lands, the navigation of sea passages through daunting polar environments, or the passage across an ocean to settle in a new country, all belong to men and women of granite determination with vision, skill, and courage. Moving from the known to the unknown, be they expedition leaders, whalers, fisherman, naval officers or emigrants, the narratives of their journeys are transferred in Maclean's art as 'histories neither submerged nor frozen still but which exist in a condition of contemporary haunting: of past and present, of retrospection, return and renewal'. (Jessica Dubow, catalogue essay, North Sea Archives.)
In the new work Maclean combines the subjective world of family history with the motifs of surrealism in a display of visual thinking that is compelling. His data includes the history of the 'museum' itself. With wit and formal ingenuity he deconstructs and reconstructs found objects, infusing works such as The Navigator's Museum Stone Log, and Tide Meter with a particular time based element. Whale bone and instrument become what Dubow calls 'a metaphysics of the sea, pressed up close against its most pragmatic management'.
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 including The British Museum, The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and in the USA, including the Yale Centre for British Art, the State Museum of North Dakota and McMaster University Ontario, Canada. He has been recorded for The British Library and Tate sound archive.