Melbourne, Australia – Drawing, Recent Work By Richard McLean focusses on drawings created for the exhibitions ‘Back to Basics’, (2011) and ‘Return from Pessimism’, (2012), Richard McLean takes us on a precursor of his journey into A/R/Tography to study a Masters in Education at Victoria University, Melbourne.
This collection of 60 or so images along with a personal narrative and conceptual animations, gives an insight into where Richard has come from as an artist to his envisioned multimedia installation entitled ‘The Universal Embrace’. Here is an excerpt from Richard McLean’s artist statement from most recent exhibition ‘Because I like to draw, Return from Pessimism.’, Melbourne, Australia, 2012.
‘Why draw? Because I like to.
Throughout my life, through it’s peaks and troughs, I have always created images.
In the past, some imagery has been born kicking and screaming from my soul.
Recently however, I am feeling joy, getting chuffed about observing and creating, expressing not purging as such, and feel quite exultant and excited in the process.
I’m recently not creating images out of necessity like the time of what seems long ago. I just sit en plein air, or in my studio, quiet and unbothered, and they meditatively flow out from my hand, not noticing my cigarette extinguishing itself.
I have always respected the process of mark making, with simple mediums, what it means, and the people who do it.
I like how base it is, how some sort of intuitive narrative is born from some sort of cosmic ballet on a sheet of paper, just from an inkwell and a brush. New creation -and new life.
My art has seen many forms thus far, but now it seems like it’s a new, still existential and subjective, yet personal visual epoch that is brimming and exciting to execute.
I live in Footscray. Some people refer to it as Footscary, or Footscrazy. But I love watching the people, the diversity, and the oasis that I’m grateful to have as our garden for now, and a space to create and collate.
The freight trains rumble past here in the west of Melbourne, and rattle the windows, and our lounge is so close to the busy street it looks as though every type of person is in our front garden.
Sometimes a drawing is inspired and created in a time synonymous with hitting a sweet spot on a cricket bat. They are in increasing frequency, happy to say. The world and the moment and the spirit and the brush combine, and I feel as a human, I’m doing what I supposed to be doing, and I’m thankful and grateful.
In this work lies the acceptance of beauty, and in observing it, there is a difference between ‘looking’ and ‘seeing’. A paradigm change of mindset means I have to let more compassion into my eyes, mind and heart, and then crystalised onto paper.
In the affirming words of the Dalai Lama, ‘Compassion is something really worthwhile. It is not just a religious or spiritual subject, not a matter of ideology. It is not a luxury, it is a necessity.’ It re-affirms something I’ve always had despite some past work, and is more obvious here.
In another quote from His Holiness, if we apply an art context to it: In the face of all the challenges we face today, is my optimism about the future of humanity idealistic? Perhaps it is. Is it unrealistic? Certainly not. To remain indifferent to the challenges we face is indefensible. If the goal is noble, whether or not it is realized within our lifetime is largely irrelevant. What we must do therefore is to strive and persevere and never give up.’
An affirmation of nobility and beauty, endlessly striving, and finally, a return from possibly necessary pessimism. I’d like to think this recent body of work sings visually to the viewer, in a way that in the work you can feel that they didn’t struggle to be set free, in fact, joyously yearned to be born. Richard McLean. January, 2012.
Located in Melbourne, Australia, Richard McLean, schizophrenia survivor and currently a Masters Research fellow at Victoria University, Melbourne, expresses his work through the website. Copyright (C) 2012 Richard McLean. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.