Bruce Mclean is a Scottish sculptor, performance artist, filmaker and painter. He studied at the Glasgow School of Art from 1961 to 1963, and from 1963 to 1966 at St.Martin’s School of Art, London, where he and others rebelled against what appeared to be the formalist academicism of his teachers, including Anthony Caro and Philip King. In 1969 Bruce McLean publicly declared to ‘give up art’ and established Nice Style: The Worlds First Pose Band, an experimental performance group including Garry Chitty, Robin Fletcher and Paul Richards. Nice Style’s first public showing was at Croydon Art School on a bill with Ian Dury’s Kilburn and the High Roads. They would later support the Kinks at Maidstone College of Art and existed for a while outside of the gallery space as a performance art pastiche of the rock bands from the time, making deliberate connections between art and popular culture.
As a fore figure of Conceptual Art in Britain in the late 60’s early 70’s, questioning the very nature of art became fundamental to McLean’s practice. He denied himself the visceral pleasure of painting and drawing in this period, mediums that he would later use as modes of expressive artistic production. Mel Gooding wrote: “During that period he worked with impermanent structures and received materials, used photography as a medium in itself or as a means to document transient works, made performances, collaborated on texts, tapes, uncommercial films and videos, and maintained his commitment to teaching.” McLean’s commitment to teaching saw him become a lecturer at the Slade School of Art from 1985 where he would later become Head of Graduate Painting.
Bruce McLean won the John Moore’s Painting Prize in 1985 and has exhibited internationally throughout his working life, including: Process Perspective at Chelsea Space, London (2008); New Spirit in Painting at The Royal Academy, London (1981); Zeitgeist at the Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin (1982); King for a Day at the Tate Gallery, London (1972) and New Work at Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London (2009). He is represented by Bernard Jacobson Gallery.