Art Nomad
Art Nomad
Brighton, Victoria 3186 Australia
Ph: 0407 501 808
ABN: 66 086 690 771
Send us an E-mail

Click an Image below to Enlarge

McLean EDWARDS (B.1972)

Since 1921 Australian artists have fiercely competed for the Archibald Prize. Its allure draws the full gamete of practice – landscape artists, abstractionists even sculptors try their hand at painting personalities in an attempt to win Australia’s most prestigious art award. Many of these artists come undone in their attempts. Consequently, it has become a considerable accolade to even be selected to have a submission hanged in the annual show.

McLean Edwards was an Archibald Prize finalist in 2010 (Tim Storrier), 2007 (Martin Browne), 2006 (Cate Blanchett and Her Family) and 2004 (Martin Browne, Art Dealer). It’s fitting that his work feature prominently in the prize’s history given the bulk of his practice is dedicated to the figure and portraiture. It would, however, be remiss to pigeon hole the artist as a portraitist or figuritist.  To do so, would risk categorizing the artist as traditionalist.

Edwards is a great painter. There are influences of artists that excelled in capturing the human form with a moody, interpretive palate before him. While he cites modern Australian artist such as William Dobell, Russell Drysdale and Donald Friend as influences, his refined, individualised style ensures we are looking at something very different and contemporary.

Herein lies Edwards appeal. Lyrical and playful subjects are subversively entwined with dark tones and thin impasto. His paintings could almost belong in yesteryear, but playful references to a pink bi-plane, semi-superhero or disproportionately figured fellow, as demonstrated in the work “Head # 2, 2003”, brings it back to now.

This painting featured prominently in Edwards’ 2003 solo exhibition: Down and Dirty For The Lord.  The Sydney Morning Herald gave the exhibition a half page spread and it received glowing reviews from respected critic Henry Mullholland on ABC radio. The exhibition featured 20 odd works that featuring bizarre, netherworld characters, from a perturbed Tintin to belligerent Animal Farm-style pig, and occasionally even Edwards himself.

While sometimes his paintings feel oddly unresolved, it is very clear that this is the artist’s intention, and not a mistaken accident. The collecting public get it which explains Edwards’ commercial success on both the primary and secondary art markets. Importantly, the artist also enjoys critical recognition with his works widely held in public institutions including the University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane; Artbank; Orange Regional Art Gallery, Orange and the Australian War Memorial Museum, Canberra.


< Back to Artists


NOTICE: The browser you are using is not capable of rendering this website correctly. Click here for more information.