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Father-daughter duo team up for new painting exhibition

Published on

Cathy Dobson 

Ian McLean, local high school teacher and painter, says he did his best not to be “too teachy” with his only daughter as she grew up.

“But we made sure the art materials were around for her to use,” he said.

Ian McLean

When Paula began drawing horses as a little girl and showed an early love for art, McLean and his wife were understandably pleased. Paula’s mom, Pam Seaton-McLean, is an English teacher and musician.

Interestingly, both parents wound up teaching their daughter when she was a Grade 12 student at Northern Collegiate. Ian taught her art and Pam taught her writers’ craft.

“Pretty much every family trip, we would visit art galleries and talk about art,” Ian says. “I think through osmosis and growing up in a household surrounded by art, Paula became a painter too.

“It’s neat to see her take the torch.”

Ian McLean is an established artist who has shown his work across Canada and has had significant commercial success.

Paula McLean is a 23-year-old student completing a Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Waterloo. She has already been part of several shows in Montreal, Toronto and southwestern Ontario.

The Gallery in the Grove is providing an opportunity this winter for father and daughter to collaborate for the first time. The show is called, The Same Things at the Same Time, a name drawn from the lyrics of Radiohead’s Harrowdown Hill.

“We are big fans of Radiohead,” said Ian. “We went to see them this past summer in Detroit.”

The McLeans’ paintings seem similar but with important differences.

“I feel like I’m heavily influenced by his work,” said Paula.  “I have always been surrounded by his mid-

Paula McLean

century, modern architectural work.

“But there are differences. I have a fascination with ancient Roman and Greek architecture, as well as the more simplified nature of more modern structure.”

“Our show’s name acknowledges the fact we come from the same place,” said Ian. “But we’re going in different directions.”

They will each have 20 pieces filling the gallery’s two rooms above the Bright’s Grove library.

Paula is bringing works she completed over the past two years, products of both her undergraduate time at Concordia in Montreal and the Masters program.

Just as an architect will make a small model of a building, Paula has begun making paper models of shapes and basing her paintings on them.

“It gives my work more depth and makes it more lifelike and physical,” she said.

Her father tends to paint large canvases and will bring a number of 6-foot by 5-foot pieces to the show.

“Architecture is a large part of my work and I allow colour and design to take over,” said Ian.  “It’s playful in general with colour and brushwork.”

None of the work in the show has been exhibited locally before and there will be some brand new pieces.

Father and daughter will be at the opening from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Jan. 20.


WHAT: The Same Things at the Same Time. Paintings by Ian McLean and Paula McLean

WHERE: Gallery in the Grove, 2618 Hamilton Rd.

WHEN:  Jan. 20 – March 2.

The Arts Journal welcomes ideas that reflect Sarnia’s thriving cultural community. Send yours to [email protected].




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