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. She is a professional member of Visual Arts Scotland.
Working from life, memory, imagination, drawings and photographs her paintings are rooted in diverse landscapes and are concerned with probing the visual and conceptual relationships which emerge in the juxtaposition of opposing pictorial tropes and methods of paint application. Drawing references from 19th century romanticism and early 20th century Fauvism she brings together the dream like and the everyday and 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 an in-depth exploration of place. In these new paintings spontaneous and abstract elements arise from an improvisational use of materials, 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 both near her home, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, and further afield. https://www.instagram.com/valmcleanart/