Margaret McLellan

CHRISTOPHER SMITH Grapevine Gallery, Unthank Road, Norwich


Grapevine Gallery, Unthank Road, Norwich

Suggesting that stepping back a few spaces is a way to make looking at Margaret McLellan's pictures a more rewarding experience might seem a bit of a backhanded compliment.

But doing so pays rewards.

Take Obelisk, for example. From a distance, the structure stands out stark without any clutter against the sky and the half-crescent of the horizon. The details of the acrylic texture resolve into the form. Five white shapes, no doubt flowers, are here for visual effect, not botanical accuracy, helping spatial patterns to emerge.

Whether in the elegantly spare still lifes or the freer landscapes the same technique is used, varying the perspective, by placing more shapes to make deeper space.

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Inclining towards restrained melancholy, in treatment as well as subject, McLellan generally opts for muted shades. Red is very rare, and bright blue is reserved for special effects, such as sea scenes. More often the backgrounds are a light grey. Objects near at hand are darker, sometimes tawny brown, not in solid masses of colour but with varied surfaces.

This exhibition of a personal vision runs throughout June.

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