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by Lynn Biederstadt


he sunlit studio of Jill McLean’s North Side Chicago home is clearly a painter’s space. Floors are covered to protect against splatter and tools lay at the ready, still warm from the artist’s hand. A dazzlingly colorful energy leaps from the canvases that line the white walls. The contrast between the work’s bright, busy optimism and the tools’ suspended motion is intriguing – and as captivating as flypaper. Jill’s studio is an honest reflection of the artist herself, of a positivism that radiates out in all directions. From the artist’s deceptively youthful presence, an old soul speaks, committed and intense, articulate and poised. She turns down the lush movie soundtrack that provides a background for her thoughts, and settles onto the improbably white studio couch. “Music is always there,” she says. “I always have tunes around me when I work, little gems of energy.” Energy is clearly central to Jill’s work. In her work, in her personality, emotional energy is omnipresent and inescapable. I remark on this and she is not surprised; this is something she’s spent much time considering. “The raw state of life is emotion. Emotions have movement. And color is their voice,” she says. “That’s what people respond to first, an energy that’s fresh in the color. It may not be instantly apparent to people why they’re feeling what they feel, but they do feel it.”



Your work seems so open, so accessible when someone first looks at it. Yes, accessible, hopeful, and positive. It’s all right there. Then the more time you spend looking at the work, the more possibilities you see beyond the transparency. Colors work as emotions do. You can’t always separate one from another: the high, low, light, and dark; the blend and interaction and overlap and complexity. Color crosses boundaries and erases them. The effect isn’t calm. It isn’t peaceful. But it’s full of joy. To quote Carroll Dunham, “An interesting painting never really settles down in your mind.” How should a viewer look at the

For more information, visit jillmclean.com

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ÉCLAT INTERNATIONAL - Feb/Mar 2016 Issue  

The Broad Museum in Los Angeles Art Basel Miami Beach Sailing in the Caribbean

ÉCLAT INTERNATIONAL - Feb/Mar 2016 Issue  

The Broad Museum in Los Angeles Art Basel Miami Beach Sailing in the Caribbean

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