Chapter One: Fallacies of Hope

Paul McLean

May 24 – June 30

Opening Reception: Friday, May 24, 6-9PM

SLAG Contemporary Gallery is pleased to present “DIM TIM,” an exhibition of paintings by Brooklyn-based artist Paul McLean. “DIM TIM” will be on view for Bushwick Open Studios Tour 2013, Friday, May 31st, Saturday, June 1st and Sunday, June 2nd. SLAG and the exhibiting artist will host additional events and programming in conjunction with the “DIM TIM” exhibit (TBA).

Bushwick-based artist Paul McLean first etched his signature Cyclops figure in 1984 into the wet black ink on a silkscreen support board. The Cyclops peered quizzically from the picture plane at the viewer, standing at attention by a Revolutionary War era bulwark, holding a musket with bayonet attached, a massive spiral spinning overhead. McLean recalls the episode as critical turning point for him as an artist, the moment he commenced to call himself a “4D artist,” long before 4D achieved the aesthetic currency it enjoys today.

Dim Tim, who has often shown his weird face in McLean’s painting series and digital work, in the SLAG Contemporary exhibit bearing his name and subtitled “Fallacies of Hope,” assumes the starring role in the narrative arc. Comic historical cinema is an influence here, and Dim Tim manifests as multiplicity personified, echoing Peter Sellers and Jonathon Winters at their hilarious and fungible finest, or as a man of his times, Zeitgeist embodied (on film), like Woody Allen in Zelig, Sellers in Being There, or Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump. Dim Tim shines as Freud, as Napoleon, as a Yankee titan. The role of Dim Tim, though, is not reducible to dress-up play. He is not just a stylized figuration, a cut-out. He more than just a combination of Baldachuk’s Napoleon at Borodino, scanning the carnage of Borodino in the epic War and Peace, and David’s Napoleon, heroically perched on his white steed. Dim Tim pushes though bathos and the suspension of time. He in some measure curates his own representation with the self-consciousness of a veteran stage performer: for instance, he mugs for the viewer; apparently relishes close-ups and candid turns; and flexes in his poses. He strays into the sphere of sacred clown. He penetrates the moment as an assessor, albeit one installed in place, static, but containing the potential of being animated. These types of self-reflective or model moves imply his awareness of his own subjectivity as focal image. He seems comfortably prepared for a snapshot, or the still, and simultaneously captured, as a combination of form solid in time and yet movable, of time’s action. In short, he is at ease with the Gaze, and even may be up for a mimetic confrontation with it (and the artist or viewer), but he rarely satisfied with enslavement to it. In some paintings, Dim Tim is menacing, threatening, his animus not directed at some Other within the painted universe he inhabits, but at Us, the Gazers! – Milo Santini


Paul McLean is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (1986, BA English, concentration in Fine Art), holds Masters Degrees in Fine Arts (2007, MFA Digital Media) and Arts and Cultural Management (2009, MAACM) from Claremont Graduate University, and is currently pursuing a doctoral course at The European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland in Media Philosophy. Over the past thirty years he has produced solo and collective art exhibits in the United States and abroad for galleries, museums, foundations, educational institutions and alternative art spaces. He works in both analog and virtual media. His interests include dimensional phenomena, complex communications systems, production topologies and architecture, integrated military, economic and social matrices and iterative representation. McLean has written extensively on these subjects, publishing his texts through periodicals like Brooklyn Rail and, since 1999, the Art for Humans network of online channels. He maintains public archives of his moving and still images on the web.

Slag Contemporary specializes in contemporary art and is operated by owner and director Irina Protopopescu.

Slag Contemporary is located at 56 Bogart Street, Ground Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11237

Hours: Thursday through Sunday, 1pm to 6 pm, by appointment Monday through Wednesday

For press inquiries and reproductions contact Irina Protopopescu, 917 977 1848.

For general inquiries, contact the gallery at 212 967 9818.