Collection

Free-range
John McLean

1983

John McLean
b.
1944
Title:
Free-range
Production date:
1983
Accession No:
84/11
Measurements:
1430 x 1680mm
Media:
Oil on canvas

Collection Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth. Purchased from Monica Brewster Bequest with funds from the WG Fussell Bequest in 1984.

'Free range' is one of a series of relatively large paintings in which John McLean pictures hens and roosters. He is known also for his landscapes and for works with a strongly environmental theme.

The super-realist style of painting which McLean uses and the convincing poses and relationship between these birds might persuade us that the image simply shows us a 'slice of life', taken from his own rural environment. However, there is great artfulness in the way in which McLean has arranged the various elements of his work. He emphasises the decorative qualities of of the dry hydrangea heads, hummocks of grass and feathers, and uses them to develop a series of patterns and rhythms throughout the image. Colour creates another series of rhythms, in the green of the hydrangea leaves interspersed with the brown flower heads, the white daisies in the grass, and the red of the birds' combs and wattles.