Diane McLean studied at Rhodes University and graduated with BFA (distinction in painting) in 1984, followed by MFA in 1988. Since 1984 she has had one solo exhibition at the SA Association of Arts in Klerksdorp, several two-person and three-person shows, and has been represented on many group shows and art fairs around the country. Most recently she took part in two invited group shows on the Stellenbosch Woordfees, “Bosch in Africa”, and “Potblou Blou Pot”. Amongst other publications McLean’s work has featured in Fair Lady, Femina, Sarie, Rooi Rose, House and Leisure, Garden and Home and SOUTH magazines. Her work is in private collections in South Africa and abroad, as well as public collections such as William Humphreys Art Gallery, the War Museum in Bloemfontein, Rand Merchant Bank and Wooltru. She has been commissioned by, amongst others, the Luthuli Museum, the Womens’ Development Bank and several South African universities, to paint official portraits. Her entry to the Sanlam Portrait Competition was recently selected in the top 100.
The primary motivation in her work is the exploration of light. It could be light from the side describing the forms and textures of a still life; diffused light from a skylight caressing the flesh of a figure or animal in a studio; or a landscape illuminated by the light unique to her part of the world. She is inspired by the particular way that light gives form to our surroundings.
The primary motivation in my work is the exploration of light. It could be light from the side describing the forms and textures of a still life; diffused light from a skylight caressing the flesh of a figure in a studio; or a landscape illuminated by the light unique to our part of the world. After all, it is with light that our surroundings become visible and are given form.
1984: BFA, Rhodes University (Distinction in Painting)
1987: MFA, Rhodes
1988 – 1999 Lectured in Painting and History of Art at the University of the North West, Mahikeng.
1981 – present: Participated in approximately 150 group exhibitions, including:
1985 Rolfes “Impressions 85” National Student Art Competition (Merit award).
Represented by: Prince Albert Gallery
Carol Lee Fine Art
Knysna Fine Art
Rhodes University, Grahamstown.
University of Port Elizabeth: portrait commission.
North West University, Mafikeng & Potchefstroom; 11 commissioned portraits.
1820 Foundation, Grahamstown: portrait commission.
Mangosutho Technikon, Durban: nine portrait commissions.
Bop Broadcasting Corporation: portrait commission.
Mafikeng City Council: commissioned series of 25 thematic works for the
new municipal building.
Rand Merchant Bank: 2 works.
Portuguese Marine Academy, Lisbon.
Sonnenberg, Hoffman and Galombik legal firm in Cape Town: 4 portrait
Luthuli Museum: portrait commission of Chief Albert Luthuli.
ABSA Bank – 20 works.
William Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley: nine works.
War Museum, Bloemfontein.
University of Johannesburg: portrait commission: Ms Wendy Luhabe, 2013
Casa Labia: Commissioned portrait of Count Luccio Labia, 2016
Women’s Development Bank: 4 portrait commissions: Mrs Zanele Mbeki, Mrs Sally Motlana, Mrs Gertrude Shope and Mrs Ellen Kuzwayo, 2015/16
Work in private collections:
In South Africa, France, Austria, Sweden, Holland, Germany, Portugal, Greece, Spain, UK, Australia, Venezuela, Hong Kong, Canada and USA.
Work reproduced in periodical publications:
“Gasworks”: Fair Lady, 28 May 1986.
“Portrait of Gerard Sekoto”: Insig, June 1993.
“Augrabies Falls”: Femina, March 2005
“Augrabies Falls”: Garden and Home, March 2005
Sarie, February 2006
Sarie Leefstyl, March 2006
Sarie, September 2006
Sarie Woon, Somer 2009
The SA Art Times, June 2010
WINE, July 2010
House & Leisure, July 2010
Garden and Home, September 2011
Rooi Rose, September 2011
Vrouekeur, 6 January 2012
Vrouekeur, 20 April 2012
SOUTH Magazine, Autumn 2012
SOUTH Magazine, Autumn 2016
VISI magazine (cover), Winter 2019
Works reproduced in books:
“Non-White Beach”: Huntley, M, Art in Outline 1. Oxford University
“Non-White Beach”: Huntley, M, Kuns in Profiel 1. Oxford University
Spent several months at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris, in 1987, 1993, and 1998.
2000 – 2001 Lived in Hong Kong for 18 months.
Currently living in De Rust in the Klein Karoo and painting full time.