Bruce McLean: Sculptures of Jugs and Paintings of Sculptures of Jugs

Bruce McLean,Bernard Jacobson Gallery

Bernard Jacobson Gallery presents an exhibition of recent works in acrylic, oil and ceramic by Scottish artist Bruce McLean (b. 1944).

The exhibition comprises ceramic sculptures of jugs and paintings of these same sculptures, all produced between 2022 and 2023.

Bruce McLean, born in 1944 in Glasgow, set out to challenge and reshape the boundaries of sculpture. Beginning his studies at the Glasgow School of Art in 1961, McLean took an impulsive morning train to London in the spring of 1963 on the advice of a fellow undergraduate: “If he wants to be a sculptor, then the only place to be is Saint Martin’s School of Art, and he should go there as soon as possible.” At Saint Martin’s, McLean’s output under tutors Anthony Caro and Phillip King bore the influence of conceptualism and minimalism. Yet, his interest was piqued by the dynamism and humour with which the American Pop Artists operated.

Sculpture “Pose Work for Plinths” (1971) and self-styled retrospective “King for a Day” (Tate Gallery, 1972) forged McLean’s position at the forefront of contemporary art in Britain: an incisive wit, sceptical of circumscribed categories and unconcerned with the expectations of artistic institutions. McLean’s conviction that “I am a sculptor” above all else, his ambitions to “develop modern sculpture through all different sorts of mediums” and “do what I want to do the way I want to do it”, define his sculptural output to this day.

The exhibition’s title is characteristically straight-talking, as McLean makes plain that we shall encounter the same subject matter in paint and in sculpture (indeed, in painted sculptures). The artist’s ceramics are presented adjacent to, and in alternation with, their respective paintings, which are presented not as separate series but rather as a family of works. McLean’s jugs can be gazed at against bold, sharp backgrounds and perambulated around upon their plinths. Central to the exhibition is McLean’s ceramic sculptures: jugs that vary from the functional to the whimsical, each piece a study in form, whether squat, spikily pointed or wonkily towering. These ceramics serve as both subject and object, inviting viewers into a dialogue that bridges art and its everyday subjects. The jugs, stripped to their essential shapes, become symbols on their own and within the paintings.

Duration 30 November 2023 - 29 February 2024
Times Monday - Friday: 10am - 6pm Saturday: 11am - 4pm
Cost Free
Venue Bernard Jacobson Gallery
Address 8 Golden Square, London, W1F 9HY
Contact 4402077343431 / /