Exhibition - Margaret McLellan
Grapevine Gallery, Unthank Road, Norwich
> Grapevine Gallery, Unthank Road, Norwich
Much of the work in this solo exhibition has been inspired by Margaret McLellan's travels to Ireland and India; that said, you will find no instantly recognisable edifices nor mimetic landscapes here.
Instead the pieces are a very personal response in which the indomitable, timeless rhythms of place are acknowledged and reflected in a sensitive and compelling manner.
Haystack 1 is an example of McLellan's ability to distil an abundance of textural description into a beautifully simple composition by virtue of thoughtful layering and considered paring away of colours.
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I was particularly drawn to Passage East 1, which further exemplifies McLellan's skill for using colour and line to divide the canvas with dramatic effect. Evoking exotic spices in the richly modulated red, ochre and umber, she also cross-references the powerful architectural shape of an inverted stupa.
Similarly, distilling forms from an old farmhouse in Irish Memory, McLellan formats her composition to focus on a well-grained beam and crudely thatched roof, rendering them with abstract simplicity to great effect.
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Of the St Mullan's Holy Well series, no2 was the most alluring. It features a discernible cylindrical shape that plummets into inky-dark depths an allusion to a shaft of light, illuminating mottled greens on the water surface.
McLellan cleverly holds all this painterly detail in balance by using the device of a prominently flat grey ground.
The inclusion of architectural components is not failsafe, and I felt that the naïvely schematic, precariously leaning structures in Pillars of Strength 1 seemed unsophisticatedly stilted, completely thwarting all proportion in the piece.
There is an irrefutably strong stylistic similarity to all the work that is instantly gratifying on one level, but the true impact of these compelling compositions would undoubtedly increase over time.
t Continues until June 23.