Ian McLean

Ian McLean lectures in art history at the University of Western Australia


31 Jan 2024
Ethics and aesthetics: D Harding, Luciano Benetton and Terra Incognita: inclusiveness is a good way

Because their guiding principles aligned, D Harding was a natural fit as the candidate for curating an exhibition of Australian Aboriginal art from the Luciano Benetton and Imago Mundi Collection. Referring to their Bidjara philosophy, D wrote in their proposal: ‘We don’t exclude anyone; we allow people to exclude themselves.’ They met at the confluence of a similar ethos and aesthetics that underpins D’s art practice and Benetton’s projects, including his well-known fashion house United Colors of Benetton.

Art / Write / Read
13 Apr 2018
Into the Transpocene: The future of Indigenous art

Black is the New White is Nakkiah Lui’s romantic comedy commissioned by the Sydney Theatre Company for the May/June 2017 season. It milks laughs from a stereotypical narrative of a privileged young black woman bringing her inappropriate boyfriend home to meet her parents. The twist—although not much of one these days—is that the boyfriend is white. Black is the New White is also the name of the 2007 autobiography by African American comic genius Paul Mooney. We can reach further back to the early 1990s: to Gordon Bennett’s sweet watercolours of black angels and his more ghoulish messenger between worlds, the large scarified Altered Body Print (Shadow Figure Howling at the Moon) (1994) with its mashed binaries and grotesque white/black, male/female, human/animal totemic‑like monster. Before Bennett there was Tracey Moffatt’s sweet black angel Jimmy Little on the royal telephone to heaven, an ironic serenade to her grim horror film, Night Cries (1989), which unsettled normative understandings of black/white relations with chilling effect.

Indigenous_Trans Cultural
Trevor Nickolls: Other side Art
This is the first time that noted historian and writer on Aboriginal art Ian McLean has written a substantial interpretive artcile on the work of Trevor Nickolls. Nickolls began working in the 70s and is still painting his own particular brand of cross-cultural art.
Indigenous: Beauty & Terror
Balgo Art: New Directions

James Cowan, Craftsman House,
Sydney, 1999; 143 pages, 52 colour

Art & Enterprise
An analysis of Aboriginal conceptions of time and its similarity to the ideas of modern physics, science fiction, and those of artists such as Monet, Cézanne, Picasso, Breton, Klein and Richter, and philosophers such as Nietzsche, Heidegger, Benjamin, Deleuze and Derrida. They too have sought to feel and know spacetime in the pressing and intimate way that Aborigines do.
saltwaterfreshwater Curator: Thelma John Central TAFE Gallery, Perth 10 - 28 April 2007
The South Issue: New Horizons
The Necessity of (Un)Australian Art History for the New World
McLean examines the current state of art in Australia as both a positive force and one essentially unAustralian. As he states There may be plenty of interesting artists from Australia but few aspire to make Australian art. McLean looks at the work of artists Tracey Moffatt, Gordon Bennett, John Citizen, Henri Matisse, John Peter Russell, Tony Nathan and John Mawurndjul in an attempt to address some of the issues surrounding the case for unAustralian art.
Art History: Go Figure
Brian Blanchflower From the Generative Eye: Paintings 1990-2001
John Curtin Gallery Curtin University of Technology, Perth 5 April - 26 May 2002
Art & Enterprise
Gordon Bennett's Art: The Aura of Origin
With a directness and clarity born from genuine insight, Gordon Bennetts art gives form to the structure of an invisible repetitive history haunting the psyches of non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians alike. This text gives rise to Bennett's fierce artistic practice - including an examination of the works Outsider, Am I scared? and the Notes to Basquiat and Home Decor series. These works are looked at to reveal his recent concerns with the mechanisms of doubling, moving beyond the fatal powers of representation and indeed beyond a primary concern with Australian heritage to take on the world.
Best Practice: Export Quality
For Nothing
The Bank, Midland, WA 26 November - 14 January 2005
Handmade: The New Labour
Promised Land: Nien Schwarz
Perth International Arts Festival 2001 event The Church Gallery, Claremont
Art and Childhood
The Poetics of Agoraphobia
Polish/Australian artist Gosia Wlodarczak draws obsessively, as a means of engaging with a biological cognitive bedrock. By drawing out the duration of her being she avoids the burden of memories and hope. This, she thinks, will lighten the weight of ideology that oppresses her with its exaggerated claims of authenticity...Ideology is already manifest in her sence of self, freedom and individual consciousness. It is even there in the languages she lives between; in her name, in her history, a graduate of the Poznan Academy of Fine Arts in Poland, now living in inner-city Perth.
Currents I
The Real Thing: Recent Art of Derek Kreckler
The twenty-first century, it seems, will not be the age of manifestos. Like advertising campaigns and the design of cars and other consumer items, contemporary art has started to look the same....there is no agenda, no politics, no historical claims. As McLean states, for Derek Kreckler, the point of being an artist today is not how well you resist this condition, but how well you can bend it to your own ends. Krecklers work is here positioned in a postminimalist rather than a postmodernist framework.
Adelaide and Beyond
Kuninjku Modernism
Kuninjku Modernism pays respect to the wellspring of the Indigenous art movement and the many artists of Western Arnhem Land, furthermore exploring the several countries or nations of this large civic nation.
Subject/ Object
Exhibition review Subject/Object Arthouse Tasmania October 1991
Art, Architecture & the Environment
What's Worth Showing? - Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery
Exhibition review What's worth Showing? Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery Launceston Tasmania
Sydney: The Big Shift
Crossovers - Site Works and Symposium
Exhibition review Crossovers: Site works and symposium Tasmanian School of Art and various locations, Launceston, Tasmania 26 September - 2 October 1994
Art & Death: Facing Mortality
Building with Bits
The Futures Technology Centre Elizabeth College, cnr of Warwick & Murray Sts, Hobart Design team: Paul Ian (architect), Ian Friend (artist), Sarah Lindsay (artist), Kevin Todd (artist).
The Face
Striking a Chord: David Keeling's Postcolonial Tasmania
The measure of an artist's public success is the extent to which his or her art matters to a particular community. David Keeling aims to present a critical discourse that participates in existing social and political debates. His turning point was not completing his post-graduate degree, not moving to the big smoke or winning a grant or prize, or having a sell-out exhibition but a revelation.
The Future of Art
Country Arts SA Cementa Unley Museum NAVA