Jason McLean was born in 1971. He graduated from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver BC in 1997.
“When I was a kid I would hang out at my Aunt Jean’s place, she was a very eccentric woman and me and my brother would go to hang out there. She would always bake for us and one day I said ‘Aunt Jean you have really amazing buns’, not understanding what it really meant…It has always stuck with me and I put it in a work some years back…It’s a good way of remembering her.”
McLean works on almost anything he can lay his hands on paper, toys, photographs, bottles, flippers, boxing gloves all get the same treatment, undergoes a transformation and become something more. Old family photographs get’s defaced and transformed at the same time. A sense of egality permeates the work evident in Mclean’s drawings on top of other people’s artwork. There is also a very strong sense that McLean wishes someone to do the same to his work at some stage – giving the lost, forgotten and discarded items of our everyday lives a new lease of life. After all this is a way awakening memories and honouring those or that which has left us. Just like Aunt Jean comes back through being revoked by words and in drawings.
Ultimately Mclean almost overwhelms us with its richness of imagery and text. There is a very immediate need on the viewer’s part to try making sense of the whole. However, this complete overview is never fully allowed and instead we are lead down paths determined by the unspoken interconnectivity between the individual parts and texts of the work.
The result is a rich and opaque language that is very much its own and functioning on its own terms. There is a very non hierachical sense to all the different parts and they all seemed connected and allows for a perfect rhizomatic reading of the work. Like a living map of memories and experiences.
In a sense it seems McLean has produced his very own language, one which twists and turns, makes inside puns and jokes, fluctuates between the concise and the fluid. It opens up onto itself, new connections and avenues and beckons us to make connections between its plethora of elements. Open and yet inaccessible at the same time.