Saturday, 13 February 2010

Artist Profile: Rachel Maclean


Rachel Maclean

Permanent working location:
Glasgow, Scotland

Working practice:
My work slips inside and outside of history and into imagined futures, presenting a hyper-glowing, artificially saturated surface that is both nauseatingly positive and cheerfully grotesque. In recent videos such as ‘Tae Think Again’ (2008) I create synthetic spaces in which Mary Queen of Scots dines with the ‘it’ girls of Sex and the City, ‘Neds’ dance around a sausage Stonehenge and a ghoulish Susan Boyle plays the blow-up guitar. My videos present a low-tech aesthetic inspired by The Edinburgh Bargain Store, Youtube, Hieronymus Bosch and High Renaissance painting, spliced together using MTV style green-screen and channel changing cuts.

My practice is mixed-media, involving painting, sculpture, installation, performance and video. I only use my own body as a platform for constructing alternative personas that can then be cloned, mutated, objectified, worshiped and murdered at will.

Inspired by the Britney Spears head shaving, I am interested in the moment at which unified, constructed identity throws it’s self up and tips into it’s opposite. The instant of self-consumption, when the signature white smile of the teen pop sensation begins to hungrily gnaw at it’s own image.

Mill24 Exhibition:

It’s curved yellow body reclines on supermarket shelves and in household fruit bowls with a gesture of cheap availability. However, unpeel it’s familiar clothing and it reveals a repressed character. Existing at the intersection of banality and fantasy, the banana signifies a hunger for something beyond disenchanted civility, exposing a lust for the exotic, the ‘Other’, the ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’, promising perpetual feasting and erotic fulfilment. However we slip up on it’s skin and burst out laughing. It’s fantasy becomes mockery, a dancing monkey, a comic disappointment, unfamiliar with the polite world and representative of a dangerously under evolved, primitive existence, ungoverned by the regulations of the civilised world.

I propose to create a body of work that responds to the complex identity of the banana. Creating an alternate reality, part fantasy, part commercial playground, which looks at the function of laughter, erotic freedom and taboo, as well as Western relationships to ‘Otherness’ and the patronising implications of the exotic. I intend to make an otherworldly space, a nature documentary come cabinet of curiosity, part slapstick, part Busby Berkely ‘Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat’. A hilariously nauseating carnival of banana based product placement, which at once seduces the consuming eye and insights oversaturated repulsion.

Mill24 exhibition Date:

Saturday 24th April 2010

Curriculem Vitae:

February 2010, Residency and exhibition at the Market Gallery, Glasgow

April 2010, RSA New Contemporaries, The Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh

April 2010, Dialogues 2010, Collaboration with Karen Lyons, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop project, Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh

May 2010, They Had Four Years, Generator Projects, Dundee

Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Cornerhouse, Manchester/ A Foundation, London

2009 ‘Principal Inhabitants of the Moon’, Collaboration with Simon Gowing for Place Project, New Work Scotland, The Collective Gallery, Edinburgh

2010, Listing in the Catlin Guide, United Kingdom

(i-iii) stills from "Tae Think Again" (2008, Digital Video)
(iv) "Sausage and Egg" (2009, Mixed Media, life size)
(v) "Castle" (2009, Mixed Media, 12 ft wide by 10ft high by 15ft deep, interior showing projection of "Tae Think Again")