The National Gallery of Jamaica Blog recently featured late artist Sidney McLaren (1895-1979):
The Intuitive painter (and occasional sculptor) Sidney McLaren lived and worked in St Thomas but is best known for his fanciful depictions of life and physical environment in Jamaica’s bustling capital city, Kingston. Frequently using postcards as a visual source, his intricate city-scapes were made by a painter who only saw the best, as it was put in a 1974 Gleaner article on his work. The unknown author of that article further wrote:
“McLaren often distorts the perspective if he feels it improves the overall design and he may even shift a building or a church-steeple to left or right to achieve a kind of poetic geometry in his compositions. His pedestrians and motorists are always nicely dressed, looking most prosperous. They seldom seem to be in a hurry to get anywhere and so their gait is appropriately measured and dignified as they progress along spotless and shining pavements” and “A somewhat unusual picture by him is in the National Collection in that it depicts racing at Caymanas Park.here, unexpectedly, McLaren shows himself quite skillful in recording almost violent movement of the horses and riders and the tense atmosphere of the grand-stand packed with spectators.”
Sidney McLaren was one of the key artists featured in the NGJ’s seminal Intuitive Eye exhibition in 1979, the year of his death, and was awarded the Order of Distinction, one of Jamaica’s national honours, in that same year. His work is well represented in the NGJ collection and several private collections.
Image above: Sidney McLaren – Racing at Caymanas Park (1971)