Bruce McLean is one of the major figures of contemporary British Art. Born in 1944 he studied at Glasgow school of art and from 1963-1966, at St. Martin's School of Art in London, where he was taught by Anthony Caro. He found the attitude there ponderous: "Twelve adult men with pipes would walk for hours around sculpture and mumble." In reaction, McLean experimented with making formalist, floor-based sculpture in materials such as steel and fibreglass. However, by 1967 he was beginning to satirize such work, placing bits of junk in tasteful compositions on the pavement or in his sitting room. These works led to others, in which mud and ice were arranged to form abstract sculpture. These now survive only in photographs - as, indeed, they were meant to.
He was given an exhibition at the Tate Gallery at the age of 27. From the late 1970s he has made paintings and prints in which humour remains central.
After St. Martin's McLean went on to teach at The Slade School of Fine Art. His early reputation arose from his activities as a sculptor involved in performance art. He has obtained international recognition for his paintings and prints, work with film theatre and books. Bruce's bold and confident approach to print making proved influential to his contemporaries and also to a generation of younger artists. Bruce's work is in private and public collections world-wide and he has had numerous one man shows in both Europe and North America. These include The Tate Gallery, the Modern Art Gallery in Vienna and The Museum of Modern Art Oxford.
Bruce McLean was awarded the John Moores prize for painting in 1985, and is the Head of Graduate Painting at the Slade. He lives and works in London