image: part 1 of a diptych. It incorporates a greater part of the overall painting's glowing red background with the central area of splashed layers of colour, predominantly dark blues, appearing over the lower right portion of the canvas. The prow of the battleship and one barrel of its guns are visible upper right. The guns aim towards the left of the painting where two thick black streaks appear against the red background.
Part one of a diptych. unframed canvas 2130 x 1670 mm
'Broadside' is the explosive meeting point between media images of the Falklands campaign and Bruce McLean's deep
concerns about new directions in European painting during the 1980s. Painted in 1985, the painting makes reference to the way in which events in the South Atlantic during the 1982 Falklands war appeared in the media. In particular the style of the painting echoes the dramatic, much-reproduced photograph of HMS Antelope exploding. The prominence of the warship makes reference to the uncompromising jingoism in media coverage of the sailing of the British Task Force.
The term 'broadside', while part of the vocabulary of naval encounters, also has a wider critical meaning and here McLean is making an attack in what he saw as a cultural war. The reinvigoration of painting as a viable art medium during the early eighties launched a strong force of new German and Italian painters who dominated the art market. McLean himself was prompted by the change of attitudes to take up painting again in 1981. His salvo is directed at the art world hyperbole which accompanied the resurgence of European painting.