My work explores the intersection and tension of the contemporary and ancient. It captures, in wood, the moment of the object’s destruction and contains both the contradictory concepts of art and its implied significance with the imperatives of time and a cultural ethos of disposability.
I chisel wood by hand, without the use of power tools, drawing inspiration from my urban environment. My sculptures have a quality of craftsmanship rooted in history, yet are compellingly modern and mysterious in form.
By carving a sculpture of a contemporary artifact by hand, I capture a historical moment – even if it is in present time. It is the juxtaposition of these contradictions – the moment treated as permanent and the contemporary created through an ancient medium – that I challenge people’s assumptions about the meaning of objects and how that meaning varies in different settings and time periods.
In my most recent work, I ask the viewer to reconsider not only how an object changes in scale, but also how an object changes in weight, both physically and visually. Most of my works have been solid objects, but now they explore the negative shape of objects, while experimenting with the massing of that void through countless elements.
There is an underlying quality to my work that is based in obsession. In my last series, the obsessiveness of gluing thousands of pieces of wood together was confounded by basing an entire series on one single form of a single crushed object, over and over and over.
“Through conceptual and physical investigation and repetition, MacLean challenges us to understand how issues of material, scale and color affect visual meaning.”
“His conceit of rendering a malleable, crushed object in a material that can’t be crushed, not only questions materiality…but introduces the trope of an object found on the sidewalk being elevated into refined sculpture infused with care, meaning and beauty.”
– Brian Considine, Senior Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture, J. Paul Getty Museum