Melville Mclean Northeast by Southwest

Melville McLean Northeast by Southwest

The exhibition features Melville McLean’s (Newburgh, ME) 40 x 50 inch photographs which focus on landscape images from Maine and northeastern Canada and will include, for the first time, images from the desert southwest. Mr. McLean states: “My work is intuitively inspired. I select a view because of my physical reaction to the environment, what I think Cézanne meant by his “petite sensation”. Then, I compose a landscape photograph to make a work of art based on that response.

In my work, the landscape composition and the photography meet in the viewfinder. In a 4 x 5 view camera this is a 4 x 5 inch piece of glass (the same size as the film), etched with a grid, called the ground glass. On the ground glass, I can see the landscape composition as the unity of two kinds of space. There is the imaginary space of four-dimensional forms in their objective physical relationships: the space of gravity and passing time; and there is the geometric frame space, which organizes the imaginary space into a two-dimensional whole-part relationship of shapes in patterns, proportions and symmetry.

These spaces are combined in the familiar landscape composition developed in Western European painting between 1600 and 1900. In that tradition, I compose deep imaginary spaces that could be walked or flown through or over or into; middle spaces that can be seen into but that could not be entered physically; and shallow spaces that create continuous overall fields of similar forms, more to be looked over than into. I want the composition to appear as an aesthetically complete and internally coherent presentation of the nature it represents, while implying the larger environment, which is its next scale of context.”

Maine Portfolio, a recently published portfolio of five prints, will also be exhibited along side the large works. A fully illustrated catalog from his recent exhibition at the Alexandre Gallery will be available.