Meadow in a Downpour, by John McClenaghen
Meadow in a Downpour, by John McClenaghen

Life in landscape at the White Fox Gallery

Situated in the heart of the historic Border town, Coldstream, the White Fox Gallery occupies the airy and spacious ground floor of a Georgian townhouse.

For eight years, painter Virginie Renard and photographer Stephen Whitehorne have showcased contemporary work by emerging and established artists from the Borders, Northumberland and beyond.

Their next group exhibition, This Summer 2021 (running until September 18) will present work by regular exhibitors alongside a collection of rural Stirlingshire landscapes by new featured artist, John McClenaghen.

Born in Falkirk in 1964, McClenaghen initially studied Fine Art at the Glasgow School of Art (1983-87) alongside the likes of Alison Watt OBE FRSE RSA and Simon Laurie RSW RGI.

McClenaghen’s work can be found in private collections the world over. Yet it was only recently that he substantially reduced his teaching commitment after twenty years as Fine Art Programme Leader at Glyndŵr University, in order to focus on painting.

Being the grandson of a ploughman (and nephew to a shepherd and grieve) meant frequent visits from Falkirk to this very different world. And thus an attraction to rural Stirlingshire has been with the painter since childhood.

This collection of intimate landscapes is particularly significant because it took shape during the last few weeks and days of his mother (Maisie’s) life. As he listened to her childhood memories of growing up on the farm, they mingled with his own. The result was a visual celebration of their rural heritage, nature’s abundance and the cycle of life.

The paintings in this collection were largely executed outdoors, close to where his mother’s farm once was. By taking the time to directly absorb what is in front of and around him, he not only captures the energy and dynamism of the living landscape, but also his inherited and half-remembered memories of a world now gone.

Meadow in a Downpour, by John McClenaghen

To see the breathtaking vitality of McClenaghen’s work is to be reminded of Joan Eardley’s late output. For both artists, painting is a way of keeping pace with nature, spatially, temporally and emotionally.

To use McClenaghen’s own words: ‘Through the rhythm of work I am trying to move from the representation of something seen to the reconstruction of something felt.’

This Summer 2021 will feature a variety of genres and styles of art alongside the work of John McClenaghen.

To find out more, visit the White Fox Gallery.