Artist Statement

Ian Phillips McLaren is a British artist; his practice combines contemporary and 19th century photographic techniques, painting, audio and sculpture. Process is key to understanding both his work and the transformation that it has undergone. “The distance between professional photographer and artist was not a space that I expected to traverse. Yet here I am”.

His body of work examines dementia as a state of being, memory, personal identity and the construction of self in our visual culture, portraiture and self-representation. Additionally, his work reflects on the humbling realisation of the vastness and greatness of the natural world, highlighting a deep awareness of our awe-inspiring landscape.

Ian’s current work, The ‘Self’ & The ‘Other’ is an exploration of the ‘self’ through ancient Roman portraiture – The ‘Other’ refers to the ways in which identities are formed.

By combining traditional 5″x4″ analogue paper negatives of my self with hybrid digital negatives of ancient Roman portraits and fragments, I’m re-imagining the historical self-portrait, in a similar vein to how the Romans re-imagined (Hellenistic) Greek art for their own purposes.

“I take inspiration from Edward Steichen for transforming photography into an art form. I admire contemporary photographers Sally Mann and The Starn Twins for their embracing of happy accidents in the making and Samuel Beckett for his linguistic experimentation and Alan Bennett for his talking heads“.