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Diary of a Cold Spell

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Silvana McLean

Silvana McLean passed away on the
7th of May, 2018.

Artist's Statement

I specialised in Drawing and painting at Glasgow School of Art, but the subsequent discovery of etching opened a new world which has deeply influenced my work since then. The development process involves distilling impressions, history and memory especially concerning the remoter islands of Scotland and Ireland, their stark beauty and the effect of these margins on the lives of the people who live there.

Research for a Public Art project ‘Voices’ which touched on geological and glacial activity led my attention north to Iceland offering a unique opportunity to study geological and environmental information in a contemporary visual way. The land itself, continually scored by melting water from the ice caps, embodies the etching process, its vast landscapes are reflected in the scale of some of the paintings.

Having now returned to Scottish shores both physically and metaphorically, I have revisited my interest in the sea maintaining a northerly focus as a connecting factor. This is currently shown in works combining print with more 3D applications from artists books to constructions in box frames using text and poetry as part of the work. The idea of messages in bottles and the mesmeric words of the Shipping Forecast have also been an influence on recent work.

I exhibit throughout the UK and regularly at Royal Glasgow Institute, The Society of Scottish Artists, Visual Arts Scotland and have been a participant in Spring Fling Open Studios since it’s beginning.

Work is held in Gracefield Permanent Collection, Shetland Museum, The Scottish Poetry Library, The National Library of Scotland and many private collections

Selected Exhibitions, Prizes and Awards

Mar 2016 - Selected for Artists residency in Siglufjordur, Iceland in Mar 2016.

Feb. 2016 - Whitehouse Gallery Kirkcudbright. Three person Printmaking exhibition with Kate Downie, Silvana McLean and Cat Outram.

July 2015 - Actinic, Alternative Photography Festival at Edinburgh Printmakers Studio and invited speaker.

April 2015 - Kulturschopfer, Green Hill Gallery Berlin, with Spring Fling.

July 2014 - 20-20. Bonhoga Gallery 20th Birthday Exhibition. One of 20 artists commissioned to make an artwork related to its former use as a mill.

June 2014 - Northlandings – Bonhoga Gallery, Shetland. Solo exhibition of Etchings, Sea boxes and Artist’s Books.

Mar. 2013 - Sea Book and North Book purchased by the National Library of Scotland for their Contemporary Scottish Collection.

Feb 2013 - Image chosen for cover of Poet Jean Atkin’s new collection of work ’Not Lost Since The Last Time’.

Dec. 2012 - Timelines- Ten group exhibition Gracefield, Dumfries.

Aug. 2012 - Solo exhibition, Northlandings. Catstrand, New Galloway.

Jun. 2012 - Spring Fling Open Studios.

Jun. 2012 - Timelines- TEN group exhibition at Kelly Gallery, Glasgow.

Feb. 2012 - Visual Artists Award for Bookmaking Master Classes.

Nov 2011 - Two etchings selected for exhibition in Poland at Wroclaw Academy of Fine Art. Part of an exchange programme organised by SSA and Duncan of Jordanstone art college in Dundee.

Sept. 2011 - SSA Professional Members Exhibition at Glasgow Arts Club

July 2011 - Selected for Magic, Power Presence, Artist Book collection (IRIS)

Feb 2011 - Ripple Effect – group exhibition of Monoprints. Scottish Arts Club, Edinburgh and April onwards at Mussel Inn Gallery Glasgow

2004-2010 - Part-time lecturer in Mixed media and Printmaking at Dumfries and Galloway College

Aug 2010 - Northlandings - solo exhibition at The Meffan Gallery

Aug 2010 - Sea Spirit. Group exhibition Gracefield Dumfries

May 2009 - Place, Identity and Memory Artist Book Exhibition (IRIS)

2008 - Visual Artists Award for research trip to Iceland to create new body of work for solo exhibition in 2010.

2007 - Glentrool and Merrick Public art commission commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage and project managed by DGAA. This project was commissioned to reconnect people to the landscape and took the form of a portfolio of etchings based on stories and memories from Glentrool and Merrick area. This was in collaboration with writer and poet, Mary Smith. Project launched in Summer 2008.

2006 - British Mini-print Exhibition ( Scottish Prizewinner)

2005 - Visual Artists Award enabling research trip to North Uist to create prints for two-person exhibition at Gracefield Arts Centre in Nov 2006.

2003 - Elected Professional Member of Society of Scottish Artists.

2002 and 2003 - Scottish Arts Council Professional Development Funding, the latter being to attend an Environmental Arts course in North Uist.

2002 - Painting commissioned for Shetland Museum.

2001 - Three month Residency in Shetland Oct-Dec.

2001 - Shetland Arts Trust Grant for exhibition ‘Watermarks’

2001 - Residency in Donegal to create page for Great Book of Gaelic. My interest in printmaking lead to involvement with The Great Book of Gaelic Project, a collaboration of 50 Irish and 50 Scottish artists, poets and calligraphers creating a large contemporary book. At the moment it is touring internationally.

1999 - Monumental Miniatures for The Millenium. Commissioned by Scottish Touring Exhibitions Consortium.

1998 and1994 - JFM Purchase Prize Society of Scottish Artists.

Articles (reproduced in full)

DGB Life Magazine (issue 3)