Valerie McLean is an Artist, Educator, Mentor and Art Writer. She teaches Studio Practice and Visual Culture at Edinburgh College of Art and is Course Leader for a yearlong Painting Course at Leith School of Art.
Working from life, memory, imagination, drawings and photographs her paintings draw references from the natural world and are concerned with probing the visual and conceptual relationships which emerge in the juxtaposition of opposing pictorial tropes and methods of paint application. She focuses specifically on how the materials of paint and visual imagery can create worlds where opposing elements, such as order and chaos, abstraction and figuration, dwell together. She often builds up an image from a number of separate panels and thinks of these works as self-portraits where she is able to explore different aspects of herself and her engagement with materials.
Her most recent paintings are rooted in natural landscapes. In these new paintings spontaneous and abstract elements arise from an improvisational use of material, colour, mark, and shape alongside more considered and ‘realistically’ rendered forms. She is interested in allowing the work to take its own course, welcoming the unforeseen and unpredictable, while drawing on the felt and observed experiences of spending significant periods of time walking and exploring the natural landscape near her home on the outskirts of Edinburgh https://www.instagram.com/valmcleanart/