Ian McLean

Ian McLean

Sarnia, ON, Canada

About Ian McLean

I paint with oil. It is a medium with an enormous history but I like to coax and cajole and use it to render images that are at once irreverent and laden with subtext. I like moments in painted surfaces that can be alluring, impulsive, seductive, and irrational. I want the viscosity of the medium to reveal passages of control and chaos all the while evoking a sense of beauty and ambiguity in a sea of paint.

My recent work explores relationships between social and natural worlds. The environments are sometimes familiar but are usually imagined places. At all times, these images suggest efforts to contain, control, manipulate, or avoid circumstances of nature as evidenced in highly groomed and domesticated environments. The implied narratives usually reflect a deep-seated desire for comfort or beauty or distraction.

Based in Ontario, Canada, I have exhibited widely at several public and commercial galleries. I am a recipient of Ontario Arts Council Mid-Career Visual Artist Grants and my work is found in collections across Canada and internationally. I work as an art instructor.


University of Guelph, Canada
Western University, London


2021: juror, Prisma Art Prize, Rome
2020: contestant, "Landscape Artist of the Year Canada", CBC TV
2020: juror, Prisma Art Prize, Rome
2016: semi-finalist, Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series
2016: first prize, Glenhyrst Biennial, Glenhyrst Art Gallery
2015: Ontario Arts Council Mid Career Grant
2014: Contemporary Canadian Art Auction, Waddington's, Toronto
2014: Love Art Fair, Toronto
2014: artist talk, Judith & Norman Alix Gallery, Sarnia
2012: artist talk, Glenhyrst Art Gallery, Brantford
2012: Ontario Arts Council Mid Career Grant


Selected Exhibitions:
2021: "VAM43", Visual Arts Mississauga
2020: "Presently", Art Gallery of Peterborough
2019: "The Same Things At The Same Time", Gallery in the Grove
2017: "Elusive Utopia", Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery, Sarnia, Ontario
2016: Sopa Fine Art, Kelowna, BC
CFA Gallery, Toronto
2015: CFA Gallery, Toronto
Gallery 1313, Toronto
2014: CFA Gallery, Toronto
2014: Handworks Gallery, Saint John, New Brunswick
2013: "Weird", Harbourfront Centre, Toronto
2013:"Conditions", Loop Gallery, Toronto
2013:"Easily Distracted", St.Thomas Elgin Art Centre
2013: Judith & Norman Alix Gallery, Sarnia
2012: Glenhyrst Art Gallery, Brantford
2012: Forest City Gallery, London
2012:Gallery Moos, Toronto
2011: Loop Gallery, Toronto