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Macalpine’s work is a realisation of her sensations of landscape. Her aims are to do with Fine Art: her interests lie in formality and ambiguity, in light and atmosphere, all of which are Fine Art concerns. She regards herself as an artist who happens to use the photographic medium, but were she to consider that the image might be better served by another medium in the future she would not hesitate to use it, be it painting, printmaking or mixed media. For her the camera is simply a tool towards the finished work which is so finely tuned that one is aware primarily of the image and only secondly of the medium. In this regard she stands alone in her field.

Mary Rose Beaumont (Excerpt from “Intervals in Light” by Mary Rose Beaumont)

Photography has never greatly interested me. For a long time I believed that there was no room for the artist to manoeuvre; the choices were too limited and basically I still think this is true of most photography.

Over the years, however, I have gradually observed the work of Jean Macalpine and my view has changed. She does interfere with the image observed, I don’t know by what means, but her pictures are archetypically constructed with dreamlike colour and are metaphysically haunting and strange. How does she do it? She also continues to develop, and her scope seems unlimited. Jean Macalpine’s work has some parallels with the paintings of her partner Kenneth Draper and their dialogue continues to produce amazing works.

John Hoyland (Introduction to “Intervals in Light” by Mary Rose Beaumont)

Operating in that strange hinterland between the natural (the given subject) and the contrived (its interpretation through applied colour), Macalpine strays into the realm of formal beauty. But it is a beauty which encompasses the disquieting. Where once her images were apparently serene, understated and accessible, they are now edgy and even discomforting, pushing far beyond the traditional notions of expressive scenic photography. This is not romantic or sentimental stuff; it is a version of landscape photography which breaks new ground intellectually and emotionally.

Andrew Lambirth (Contemporary Art Vol.3 No.1)


Galleries who deal in prints from Jean Macalpine

1 UK