Diane Maclean is a sculptor and environmental artist of Scottish descent, whose work has been exhibited widely in the UK and abroad. She has participated in sculpture symposiums in other countries and co-organised a project bringing artists from Nordic and Baltic countries to Scotland.
Much of her work has resulted from collaborations with scientists working in the field of climate change and mineralogy, and recent solo exhibitions at the Natural History Museum, London and the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Ontario, Canada, evolved from working with scientists. In Maclean’s work, the emerging form, that takes shape through small drawings and maquettes, becomes an equivalent for something in the real world – sometimes a protest at loss or waste of precious resources. Maclean sees the materials themselves as an important element in the work, trying “to bring their qualities into view in sculptures and installations that reflect light, are suspended, have moving parts, colour, sometimes sound, and are therefore not static and unchanging.” Often, the demands of the outdoor environment upon her sculpture - requirements for stability, durability and resistance to weather – have “stimulated invention” in Maclean’s work. Many of her sculptures and installations, for example, are light- or wind- reactive.
Open Book was inspired by a unique manuscript: the original bibliography of all the known texts in the Gaelic language, meticulously recorded and annotated by the Rev Donald Maclean, and the only volume remaining in the family from his collection. The embossing on the book’s spine – Leabhar Fosgailte – means ‘open book’ in Gaelic. “The book resonates with me,” says Maclean. “It has inspired other works in the past and now a stainless steel book connecting scholarship with the landscape.” The work reacts with light, with the angle of entry of daylight into an oxide layer on the surface of the sculpture causing colour change across the polished material, which also reflects surrounding scenery.
Photo of Diane Maclean: Henryk Hetflaisz