The Virtual Sunroom: Body + Self by Alice MacLean

About The Sunroom 

The Sunroom, located on the 5th Floor of Halifax Central Library, showcases rotating art exhibits that highlight emerging and professional local artists. This space invites everyone from our community to experience Halifax’s diverse expressions of imagination, knowledge, and creativity. 

The Sunroom is made possible by the generosity of Margot and Layne Spafford.

While our Library locations are closed, we invite you to explore local art through The Virtual Sunroom.

Body + Self 

Previously scheduled to appear in The Sunroom from March 5 to April 23, 2020, Body + Self is a series of self-reflection by artist Alice MacLean. 

"In this series exploring self-reflection using portraiture and the psychological properties of colour, my paintings provide a framework for understanding emotion" says artist, Alice MacLean. "Exploring emotional states and uncertainty, the visual representation of the self provides the sense of the internal physiological condition and sensation of the body. This work is part of an ongoing investigation which aims to elaborate on a model of emotion in self-portraiture and figurative art, and explores how emotional content is generated by internal and external experiences. Overall, the artwork displayed here provides a unified view of self-related processing relevant to emotional awareness."

On Thursday, March 5, Alice was joined by family, friends and community members for the opening reception of Body + Self in The Sunroom. 

About the artist

Alice MacLean, studied visual art at NSCAD University. She has participated in the Visual Arts Nova Scotia (VANS) Mentorship Program (2015/16), and has attended residencies and Exhibition opportunities in Scotland (2014/15), as well as various locations in Ontario including Toronto Island (2016), Prince Edward County (2017) and Pelee Island (2018). Since returning to Halifax Alice has participated in ‘Ground Rules’ (2019), a group residency with sixteen Nova Scotia-based artists, which will culminate in a travelling exhibition from Cape Breton to Halifax this spring. Alice has been teaching watercolour painting in elementary schools through the VANS PAINTS program, and has been teaching a new class through NSCAD Extended Studies on the topic of large-scale watercolour. 

"I use a variety of materials, some of which are pictured here [below]. I tend to work on a small scale (around 4 x 6 inches) before I develop larger works. The figure in solitude on the page has been a theme in my work for a couple of years. Sometimes I use images I take of other people, of myself, or found images as a starting point, and then I remove the environment and focus on the gesture and the form of the human body. I like the simplicity of the negative space and focusing on a form which contains nebulous fluid sections of colour meeting colour, highlighting the material itself."

"These works are a kind of conversation I have with myself, about bringing awareness of the body to the present, to connect with emotion and deeply felt and lived experiences. The body contains so much information and times of stress and joy are all expressed through it. I have pursued the series I generally refer to as ‘Impermanence’ for some time. It has given me a creative way to consider reconnecting with the body, with a sense of being and whatever comes up with that idea. There’s a lot of self-reflection involved."

 Connect with Alice MacLean

To view more of Alice's work and to connect, visit, opens a new window