Abigail McLellan (1969-2009) is kwn for her pared-down images that were set against richly-worked backgrounds of saturated colour. This book, the first mograph on the artist, charts the career of a painter of indomitable spirit (she battled multiple sclerosis for the last ten years of her life) and unbounding creative energy. Born in Middlesbrough, McLellan's family moved to Scotland when she was thirteen and her education was concluded at the Glasgow School of Art. McLellan's vision, for all its individuality, drew strongly upon the traditions of Scottish - and, particularly, Glaswegian - art. Her striking simplifications of form and her bold sense of design owed much to Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his circle. More contemporary influences included Joan Eardley and Craigie Aitchison. Yet McLellan's vision was very much her own and in her quest to create a comparable intensity of colour she evolved a highly personal technique, building up layer upon layer of translucent, quick-drying acrylic paint in short, stippled strokes. Colourful still-lifes were complemented by her assured portraits - from 1995 she exhibited regularly at the National Portrait Gallery in the annual BP Portrait Awards and her 1997 submission to the Royal Scottish Academy's Morrison Portrait Award was highly commended. Her varied oeuvre also included screen prints and bronze cast 'sea-fans'. The depth of her rich body of work is borne out through the beautiful illustrations featured here. Throughout, Matthew Sturgis' sensitive, insightful text complements the imagery to create a definitive account of the life and work of an important British artist.
Matthew Sturgis is a writer and critic. He has written acclaimed biographies of Walter Sickert (2005) and Aubrey Beardsley (1998) as well as Passionate Attitudes - the English Decadence of the 1890s (1995, re-issued 2011). His most recent books are a monograph on the British op-artist David Whitaker (2011) and When in Rome - 2000 years of Roman sightseeing (2011).