Born 1969. Died 2009
Abigail McLellan was born in Middlesbrough in 1969 and moved to Dumfries in south west Scotland in 1982. She studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1987-1991 and made the city her home until her death in 2009. Although she studied painting at GSA her student and early work embraced a wide range of media and influences. Following her graduation she began to hone down her practice and concentrate on painting. The tension between the abstract design of the two dimensional picture plane along with more naturalistic representation became central to her approach. She developed a series of deceptively simple images of sparse flowers set in rich colour fields also successfully adapting this approach to portraiture.
In 1996 she began showing with the Rebecca Hossack Gallery in London. In subsequent exhibitions there she developed the combination of spare imagery with rich colour and produced a series of ‘sea fan’ paintings, first exhibited in 1998. In 1999 Mclellan experienced the first symptoms of what would be diagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis. Meanwhile the refinement of her approach to painting had moved much of work her towards near abstraction. The simplification of form apparent in her later works was to a degree necessitated by her physical decline as her condition worsened. Despite these difficulties she continued to work with the help of assistants.