A solo exhibition by award-winning artist Diane Maclean FRSS opens today at the Cathedral.
Beyond, which is curated by the Cathedral’s Visual Arts Adviser Jacquiline Creswell, comprises of eight large-scale pieces in stainless steel or feather-light aluminium sited in the Cathedral space and on the lawns outside.
Diane likes to place her work in open spaces, using reflective surfaces of stainless steel and colour created by natural light, to transform industrial materials into something altogether subtler and more other worldly. Working on a large scale, the materials she uses require fabrication that employs engineering techniques, which makes her work so distinctive. Each piece invites the visitor to explore the space in which it stands or above which it is suspended, and each changes perspective or colour depending on the angle it is viewed from. In some cases, the visitor can interact with the work, entering a ‘sanctuary’ or walking through ‘doorways’ to explore what lies beyond.
Speaking about her work, the artist Diane Maclean said: “I see the materials themselves as an important element in my work. They dictate, in a way, how the work turns out. I try to bring their best qualities into view, in sculptures and installations that reflect light, are suspended, have moving parts and colour, and are therefore not static and unchanging. The science of the material also interests me - how a clear oxide layer on the polished surface of stainless steel produces colour that changes according to the angle of entry of light hitting it.”
Diane also enjoys the juxtaposition of the modern materials she uses with ancient backdrops or natural landscapes. The work provides vistas, perspectives and movement that direct you to a point beyond.
Jacquiline Creswell, curator and Salisbury Cathedral Visual Arts Adviser said: “Her sculptures are a response to a place, a theme or an idea. Working on a scale commensurate with the setting, she combines reflective surfaces and open structures to create strong visual connections to the context of the surroundings. The exhibition allows us to consider the purpose of a place like Salisbury Cathedral as a space to reflect and discuss the possibilities of what we might find when we cross over a threshold. The work extends a truly divine invitation to feel and sense much more than our everyday experience.”
Canon Robert Titley, Canon Treasurer and Chairman of Salisbury Cathedral’s Arts Advisory Committee said: “Bringing work like Diane’s to the Cathedral provides us with an adjunct to worship. Another way of expressing some of the things we understand as believers but find hard to express in words, and a way of sharing our values. The Resting Wing for example, evokes the Psalm 91: He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. By using the work to supplement our words and reflections we can extend our understanding and responses to God.”
Diane Maclean studied modern languages at University College London before embarking on her artistic career. She started out as a fine artist, painting portraits, and it was only in her forties that she changed course and went to Hertfordshire College of Art & Design, University of Hertfordshire, to study Sculpture. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Sculptors, a Professional Member of the Society of Scottish Artists, a Member of the Court of the University of Hertfordshire, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the University of Hertfordshire and is a Member of Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop.
The exhibition, Beyond, runs until Monday 30 September 2019.