Introducing our new Year-Long Course Tutors

Wednesday,28 October 2020 in  School News, Spotlight, Staff


We're delighted to welcome three new members of staff to our Year-Long Course programme. Andrew MacKenzie who teaches on our Painting Course alongside Catharine Davison, Val McLean is our new Course Leader for our One Day Painting Course and Matthew Wilson is our new Printmaking Course Leader.


Check out their staff spotlights below!

Andrew MacKenzie

Andrew is a painter, graduating with an MFA from Edinburgh College of Art in 1993. His work mines a territory between abstraction and representation; responding to relationships between landscape and the built environment, focusing often on rivers, reservoirs, tree forms, the edges of fields, car parks, architecture and roads, combined with diagrammatic suggestions of manmade structures or open frameworks. These structures are sometimes invented but more often take their starting point from observed buildings or other objects encountered on walks around his home in the Scottish Borders.

‘All my work starts with an experience of a place encountered, often during a walk or a field trip to a specific place. Walking is a key part of generating ideas, and I will explore and record through notes, small drawings and photography. I often get interested in a place because it resonates with something I’ve seen in art history or film, or it causes me to make associations with something I’m reading or thinking about already – an exchange happens.

From these initial responses I develop the work in the studio, leading to an open-ended process of adding and removing paint or charcoal, working over repeatedly with patterns of lines, dots and dashes. Through this layering of surface, detailed subject matter and mark making, I try to create a sense of looking back and forward in time, in the same moment. I present human and non-human as entangled, overlapping, inextricably linked. I’m not presenting an opposition, but rather a personal vision of a sympathetic and sensitive relationship, a symbiotic co-existence, expressed through a formal tension between surface, line and colour.

I often use objects, structures and places to act as signifiers. Vertical lines punctuating the painted surface may be derived from snow poles, streetlights, the edge of a barn or tree planting tubes. Snow poles, for example, exist to mark the road but are usually seen in the absence of snow - I find the receding coloured verticals against the moorland to be evocative, especially at dusk. They are a human response to extreme weather, markers.  I appropriate them from the moor and ‘plant’ them inside woodland, where their function is transformed, playing against the motion of the evening trees.’

His work has been included in international group exhibitions, and he has shown widely in the UK and abroad. His next solo exhibition is with Sarah Myerscough Gallery, London in 2021 and will be showing again with The & Gallery in 2022.

He has received several research and development awards, and has works in many collections, including The Fleming Collection, Marchmont House and The University of Edinburgh. He has extensive experience in arts education and lecturing, with many schools and institutions, including the National Galleries of Scotland.

He has recently built a new studio at his home in the Scottish Borders.

Opposite Shore (loch) (2000x1175)

'Verge Revisited'


Val McLean

Val graduated from History of Fine Art and English Language & Literature at Glasgow University before going on to complete a postgraduate qualification in Systems Analysis and Design. After an extensive career teaching computing as a Lecturer and Curriculum Leader at FE level she returned to her first love of art and undertook the Foundation Course at Leith School of Art before studying at Edinburgh College of Art. Here, she received numerous awards for her work including several travel scholarships, the Andrew Grant Bequest Award for painting and The Katherine Michaelson Prize for writing.

Val has exhibited her paintings widely and recently has had work selected for the 132nd Annual Online Paisley Art Institute exhibition and is currently showing work as part of a new Virtual Art Fair Initiative.

Working from her garden studio Val has been very prolific during lockdown, and beyond. During this time, she has been working on an intimate series of small paintings which capture the changing seasons in the woods and scrubland next to her home. Alongside a fascination with nature’s abundant complexity of form she is particularly interested in exploring in paint the subtle interplay of light, colour and shade found across different weather patterns, days, and times of the year.

As an artist educator Val is passionate about teaching and has taught across all levels from beginners drawing and painting to advanced studio art practice and theory at Edinburgh College of Art. In her new role as Course Leader for the One Day Painting course Val welcomes the opportunity to draw on her extensive experience of teaching to support and enable students to think critically about painting in both historical and contemporary contexts. Across the year students will be encouraged to develop their own artistic voice and to reach their full creative potential through an in depth understanding of the methods and processes of painting, culminating in the creation of a significant body of independently researched work.

'Variable Floor 1.1', Oak floorboards, screenprint on card, lasercut plywood, chalk minerals, 206 risographs, 2020



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