Kim McLean

The work is constructed in a 3d software environment, Form Z, and I tend to think of it as existing somewhere between drawing and sculpture. It is both handmade and machine made.

Compositions evolve as fabricated/drawn objects are placed in 3-dimensional space and lit with an array of virtual lamps and are in effect, staged sculptural sets. Spy House is drawn mostly with light (and darkness, of course). The sets can be broad landscapes or interiors and within this broad arena, anything can happen. References reach across the architecture we might know; Zvi Hecker's housing complex outside Jerusalem, Calatrava's Campo Volantin footbridge in Bilbao, Nick Goldsmith's Rosa Parks bus terminal in Detroit, the Rip Van Winkle bridge in Catskill.

The ME 109 occurs. Sculpture-like structures in the interiors are designed as personal icons; a cut-away rocket or a lead sculpture of Ahab. The spaces are contained and the container, a cardboard box or frame, is the content. Still, we've seen something like it before, been there. There's a sliding differential between mystery and fact as spaces unexpectedly open, close and turn in on themselves.

A reoccurring theme in some of the works is excerptions form the Greene County, NY, telephone book. The use of such a local material, the endless list of names and addresses, fuses the micro of the rural population and the macro of the universal content of the work. The phone book is rapidly becoming a historical artifact. The fun is noting how its replacements occur in many forms as inventions we're all familiar with evolve.

Essay on McLean's work by Claire Lambe

Essay decribing McLean's artistic process



2011 to 2012

2010 and Earlier


Kim McLean’s images capture virtual worlds in which monuments redolent of hardship and triumph mingle with artifacts and sculptures of artists past. In one work a battleship is placed amidst a tempestuous sea of illegibly tiny text; in another the Russian Constructivist Palace of Labor inhabits an environment made up of intricate lattices and Ferris wheels. Employing an architectural software program, McLean designs these figures such that they can be turned in space as solid objects. In a process McLean terms “mapping,” the artist covers these icons of culture and history with surfaces that provide a stark contrast to the forms beneath—for instance, pages from a Greene County phone book shroud McLean’s models of a USN battleship and a looming Louise Bourgeois sculpture . This visual richness through layering mirrors a conceptual superimposition: in these works, the banality of the small-town phone book page is set against—and in conjunction with—paragons of grandeur. Furthermore, as the flat page wraps around sculptural form, surface and depth are cast in tension, lending these virtual worlds the appearance of a physical reality. Sometimes, the text of the page is obscured through scale and depth, and the meaning the words hold is elided by the authority of form—both its sheer physicality and its conceptual potency. Depth is confusing; the nature of these virtual spaces—the spatial relationships between objects—is in places indiscernible. The effect of this spatial ambiguity is a lack of resolution: the physical reality of these constructions never fully materializes. Rather, McLean suspends these forms in virtuality, sustaining their power to confuse and evoke.