Nancy McLean creates “an image of an imaginary world” in her richly hued oil paintings, but that world is the result of a combination of details and influences from many cultures. Having studied art history at McMaster University and art at Mohawk College in Ontario, McLean became fascinated by the differences between Western art and Chinese painting. That interest led her to study, and eventually teach, Chinese brush painting. Her travels to Korea and Japan exposed her to the ways in which simple contour lines on buildings can generate a sense of movement and rhythm, and that technique can be seen in her work.
In her paintings, the subtle use of line adds depth and texture, as well as giving each image a rhythm and energy that is enhanced by her strong eye for color. While the work of European artists has also influenced McLean, it is her connection with iconic Canadian symbols that adds a unique note. In both still lifes and landscapes, she captures the beauty of the Canadian environment while incorporating it into a world of fantasy and childlike wonder. But beneath that seeming naivety lies what the artist calls “a deeper meaning,” a hint of a shadow world that gives her art an engaging, yet complex, dimension. McLean’s new painting, called Mars, appears three dimensional when viewed with 3D glasses.