Donna Mclean

Atomic (2021)


Donna Mclean is interested in polarity and paradox: light / dark, beauty / unease, seduction / aversion. She avoids being decorative or easy on the eye by choosing unsettling imagery and imbuing it with an aesthetic that simultaneously comforts and disturbs. For Atomic, Mclean watched hours of archive film. She felt uneasy about getting aesthetic pleasure from so much horror. It became a dual symbol of humankind’s endless capacity to inflict destruction and suffering on each other, and its ability to create something truly astonishing. There is no denying the power and force of the atom bomb. In the artwork, the atomic bomb is reduced to gem-like miniatures small enough to fit into a pocket. The paintings are reflective of the age in which we live, where there is so much war and destruction.