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Milton born Toowoomba based artist Tarn McLean has recently completed a PhD exploring the expansion of Modernist painting as conceptual departure points towards outcomes that incorporate the design of space and architecture. The two dimensional working space of the picture frame is valued as an integral working space from which other modes of painting develop towards processes of space design, wall painting, social practice, textile design and various installation strategies.


Within this, the canvas support is utilised as a screen that provides a window for viewing the possibilities of visual experience; colour is reduced and layered as a way to internalise/externalise time, space and place.  Time allows for an aesthetic experience of interpersonal contemplation and perspectival reflection. This is addressed through attention to materiality where mark making is revealed through the application and layering of pigment. Space (inside the picture plane) is organised through a system of layering colour and form and how this can be transferred to architectural and everyday space (beyond the canvas field). Finally, place is reflected through geographical (the Australian landscape), historical (Modernist painting) and cultural considerations (social space).


McLean describes her work to be ‘concerned with the private, ontological act of making and the value of collaboration and spontaneity, which offer a breathing space for painting to develop into expanded sites for reflective and unedited experiences.’ This description offers a small insight in to her methodology and undying enthusiasm for her work which is continually unfolding.