Description

Norma Jean MacLean creates fictional realities that are directly shaped by her personal observations. Her interest lies in painting’s capacity to transport the viewer into a parallel world, and this conditions her approach to the landscape. Coleman refers to a rural community on Prince Edward Island and revisits a site associated with the artist’s childhood: the asphalt plant where her father worked during summer months. Because it operated seasonally, the plant often had an abandoned look, which MacLean captures in the deserted, almost mysterious parking lot. Paring down the composition to a few visual elements (lines and planes) and with a limited palette of cold tones, she creates an impression of isolation. The minimal means used to render the subject underscore the power of painting to evoke an actual place. J. B.

Historical Vignette