Alasdair Wallace & Abigail MacLellan
2002 saw a joint residency for Alasdair Wallace, and Abigail MacLellan. Alasdair Wallace trained at the Glasgow School of Art from 1987 to 1991 and lives and works in Glasgow. He exhibits regularly in London and has won numerous awards including the prestigious Noble Grossart Painting Prize in 2001. Alasdair Wallace is a rare painter for our age. He is a brilliant technician. His works are sophisticated in terms of both their accessibility to the spectator, and the complexity of thought which lies behind them. In a style that is characterised by a very tight and carefully orchestrated formal composition combined with an unusual density and richness of colour, Wallace creates what he calls "landscape inventions". These are drawn from the worlds of his artistic predecessors - Bosch, Giorgione and Breughel are among those whom he cites as influences - as well as first hand study of early renaissance and mediaeval art, which he admires for its sense of the absurd and fascination with the unusual.
"Alasdair Wallace presents us with an alternative world which is wry, gentle, austere, perplexing, a genuine enchantment, and above all, beautiful. I am astonished to be both beguiled and convinced. I cannot get my full of looking." Sister Wendy Beckett, 2003.
Abigail studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1987 to 1991. She has since won numerous awards, including the prestigious Morrison Scottish Portrait Award. She continues to live and work in Glasgow and exhibits regularly in London and Edinburgh.
Her travels both in the U.K and abroad have been influential in the development of her work - particularly trips to New York and Japan. Over the years she has developed her method of painting in acrylics involving a build up of many layers of carefully selected colour with varying degrees of transparency. The resulting depth of colour, often fused with intricate patterns achieves a rich and tonally sumptuous composition. Her technique is successfully employed in her landscape and portrait work as well as in her better known paintings of flowers.
"McLellan's plants offer the essence of their organic character in a distinctive visual shorthand. It is as if they have been made according to the simplest of analytical descriptions. The result is a series of brilliant, celebratory images of seductive beauty. While these can certainly be seen as part of an essentially Scottish tradition of painting, betraying the source of the artist's training, they also speak of a universal language, which cuts across obvious divides of geographical and art-historical convention. These are instantly engaging images, which persuade the viewer temporarily to abandon reality and enter a world of possibly unconsidered beauty." Iain Gale, Art Critic for Scotland on Sunday, November 1996
Abigail continues to develop and refine her work, extending her repertoire and exploring the possibilities of abstraction. She has also produced designs for rugs and embroidery and is enthusiastic about extending her talents wherever a creative opportunity arises.
Both Wallace and MacLellan were enthralled by the richness of landscape and wildlife around Cromarty and produced paintings of simplicity and beauty reflecting their time here.