In Memoriam: John McLean at Tate Britain

June 20, 2019

John McLean, ‘Opening’ (1987), acrylic on canvas, 75 x 228.5cm

Instantloveland was greatly saddened to learn of the death of painter John McLean on 12th June.

Fittingly, Tate Britain have chosen to commemorate him with a simple plaque and a single canvas, ‘Opening’ of 1987. It’s surely one of the masterpieces of British abstraction: few painters anywhere could get near McLean for directness of attack, sureness of touch, and freshness of colour, all deployed with deceptive simplicity; and ‘Opening’ demonstrates that beyond any doubt, its brown, black, and radiant primary hues jostling and shifting inside its crazy-paving structure. The painting serves to remind us what we’ve lost with his passing.

John McLean, 12th January 1939- 12th June 2019.