Will Maclean's new exhibition is titled Atlantic Messengers - a reference to the message-in-a-bottle postal service which once tied the tiny and remote - and now deserted - island of St Kilda to the wider world. It's a familiar starting point for Maclean - the death of a once proud community - a theme which is tinged with sadness and an understated threat of tragedy, and it has given rise to his best batch of work for several years.
There's much in this exhibition that will be familiar to those that know his work. They are mostly box-framed constructions capturing, or so it seems, the evidence of history - a history which is deeply associated with Scotland and with the sea; with a world of sextants and ancient charts and the simultaneous lure and threat of uncharted waters.
Maclean has always appeared to be an artist of rare integrity, capable of marrying intellect, emotion and craftsmanship in a most subtle and stimulating way. I've always admired his work, though in recent years he has sometimes had a tendency to over-decorate. In these new works, almost all the colour has gone in favour of tones of white and putty and occasionally of dark-stained woods. This fine show marks a return to his best form.
Art First, 9 Cork Street, London W1 (0171-734 0386) 3-26 NovReuse content