Mary Maclean, Infinite Space, Uncertain (Blackboard #3)

John Kinross Scholar in 1985


How did the experience affect you as an individual?
Mary had a very strong enthusiasm to learn and speak Italian.
Mary researched the culture, architecture and food while in Florence.


What was the impact on your practice?
Mary’s approach to drawing was very much from observation and in situ. Her methodology continued to be informed and re-enforced by The Glasgow School of Art teaching.
Mary made drawings and paintings on location within the Florence environs working from/looking at The Boboli Gardens, Piazzas, Statues, Fountains and Architecture.
Mary’s approach was to respond and give an essence of place and context of place in the work.


What would you say the long term impact has been on yourself and you work?
Mary returned to Italy many times to research the history and culture. Mary was awarded a British School in Rome, Abby Award in 2000. Mary’s contemporary work continued to respond to architectural space. Making work from architectural space which made reference to memory/use/event … a palimpsest of possible/probable function.

Here are 2 quotations from a written reflection by Mary on making work –

Considering If… Then… Else by Mary Maclean

‘Within the unpeopled architectural space that I photograph, the nature of the space is highlighted, encouraging a focus on the qualities adhering to its structure. The chosen spaces are anonymous, off to the side, unremarkable. But they act as powerful witnesses to a mode of existence and carry the traces of that existence.’

‘A complex relation to the functions of time seems possible within the individual photograph. Instead of a succession of filmed fractions of a second as experienced in film, the photograph makes only an abrupt, single insertion into the world yet succeeds in filling that insertion with a mass of unstated relations to time. The single frame seems to imply events prior to and succeeding the moment of the image, working uncannily on an inconclusiveness that we might experience in the perception of time’

Considering If… Then… Else…

Mary Maclean

Published: Stephen Lawrence Gallery, Greenwich University, 2019

First published: This written reflection by Mary Maclean formed part of the exhibition Inspiration to Order, University Gallery, California State University, Stanislaus, 2006