Jason McLean: As Seen On TV

Installation view of Jason McLean: As Seen On TV.

Jason McLean: As Seen On TV

Van Der Plas Gallery

November 5 through 28, 2021

By ANNA PRUETT, November 2021 

Over the course of the pandemic, many people found themselves turning inward. They reexamined the spaces they occupied, visions and anxieties regarding their futures, and the social interactions or relationships that shaped their identities. Canadian born artist Jason McLean is fascinated by capturing the complexities and subjectivity surrounding our human experiences, while imaginatively expressing his own.  

Standing before one of McLean’s highly detailed works on paper, which was featured at his latest solo exhibition “As Seen On TV”, is analogous to reading through the confessional pages of someone’s journal. Some of these paintings act as an unfiltered streams of consciousness. Intimate maps of physical places are reimagined and fleeting thoughts are chaotically organized in the artist’s dream-like diagrams.

Jason McLean, Bubble-Aid, 39 x 31 in., acrylic on paper, 2021.

McLean’s unconventional pronouncement of ideas has naturally resulted in experimenting with a variety of media, from painted ceramics and found items to participating in ongoing audio-visual projects. Among the happened-upon objects presented are three unhinged doors, where the piece Wasted Time & Effort, created in collaboration with fellow gallery artist Al Diaz, behaves as the centerpiece. 

A painted baseball, one of McLean’s favorite motifs, functions as the door knob. The trademark lettering of Diaz casually plays across the surface. The mixture of illustrations and interweaving of words on the colorful panels calls attention to each artists’ developed and vibrant visual vocabulary. 

Perhaps it’s Jason McLean’s genuine talent for narration that allows him to successfully engage in collaborative projects and delight in sharing the stories of others. Venturing to the downstairs of the gallery, the group exhibition “Northern Souls” is on display. The selection of artworks was curated by Jason McLean, spotlighting fellow Canadian artists, many of whom he has collaborated with in the past. In the showing space, there is also a listening station where visitors can hear audio recordings from the Cough Park Hotline, another one of McLean’s artistic joint efforts with John Culhane aka “Glass Capsule,” for which he and artist Henry McLean design the disc packaging. Though the hotline is not inseparable from the solo exhibition, the incorporation of Cough Park into the viewing experience underscores many of the key themes present in McLean’s work. Throughout the pandemic, people phoned in to voice everything from feelings of loneliness to humorous anecdotes about their day. The messages fluctuate between being extremely personal, abstract, and sometimes absurd, much like the various subjects existing in McLean’s work. 

For Jason McLean, life and art are inseparable. “As Seen on TV” pays homage to this truth. McLean shines a light on the struggles and joys of the artistic process and provides an in depth look into the inner workings of his mind.   

Jason Mclean, “As Seen on TV” is on view at Van Der Plas Gallery,  156 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002,  from November 5 - November 28, 2021. Fiona Smyth, Susan Day, Tomas Del Baso, and Devon Marinac “Northern Souls” is on view from November 5- November 28, 2021.  

You can call Cough Park Hotline and share your stories  at (347) 601-4266. WM


Anna Pruett

Anna Pruett graduated with degrees in Art History and Communications from The College of Charleston in 2019. She now lives in New York City, where she continues to work and write on Contemporary Art.


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