John McLaughlin - Paintings and Prints

15 August - 31 October 1999

Inverleith House exhibited work by John McLaughlin (1898-1976) for the first time in Scotland, focusing upon a group of prints made at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles in 1963. McLaughlin's art is set firmly in the tradition of American abstraction, but it also reveals the principle influence of Japanese culture, in particular that of the 15th century artist/gardener Sesshu, who painted ‘marvellous voids' within panoramic scenes of nature (McLaughlin travelled to Japan in the 1930s and worked as a translator and dealer in Japanese antiquities). The critic Clement Greenberg said of McLaughlin's work that ‘there is something oddly Oriental at work here'. Traces of Malevich and Mondrian are also visible in McLaughlin's style, which came to be known as ‘hard-edge' abstraction.

There have only been a few showings of McLaughlin's work in Britain, from group shows at the ICA (1959) and the Hayward Gallery (1971), to a posthumous solo show at Annely Juda in 1992. The influence of McLaughlin is recognisable in the work of Alan Johnston, who previously exhibited at Inverleith House.

We wish to thank Ameringer/Howard, New York, for their generous assistance with this exhibition.

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