Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

Elaine Woo MacGregor Showcases dramatic figures paintings at Los Angeles Art Show | Artmag

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Elaine Woo MacGregorGraduated with honors from the Glasgow School of Art 2003. Since then she has exhibited at home and away – Edinburgh, Art Miami, Expo Chicago Art Fair, the British Art Fair, at the Saatchi Gallery, Platform 2023, London Art Fair – as well as being critically recognised through numerous awards. Woo MacGregor specialises in meticulously-researched, figurative studies, often in a dreamlike setting using mark-making and imagery to create atmospheric scenes; although these narrative ‘portraits’ are often fictitious, elements are based on real people and places. It’s most exciting to visit her light, bright studio to observe neatly arranged, colour co-ordinated tubes of paints, sketch pad, paintings and a diverse library covering art history, design and illustration from French Impressionism to Chinese costumes and classic stories. 

Elaine Woo MacGregor in her studio at WASPS, Patriothall. Photo Alix McIntosh

This creative space is where the artistic process takes place: ‘My paintings represent a cultural fusion between east and west, from my perspective as an artist raised by traditional Chinese parents who were the first generation of their families to immigrate to the U.K. during the late 1970s. Their experiences of British-governed Hong Kong, formative years in Communist rural China and life in modern Britain has shaped their views of the world’.Elaine Woo MacGregor

In turn, her Scottish heritage and national identity will have shaped both her experiences as a cross-cultural artist and as a child in Scotland. Her solo show was presented at WASPS Patriothall in Edinburgh last year. Maman et Muses Through intimate portraits, she showed her role of a mother. In Self PortraitYou can also find out more about the following: Maman, Black Sands(see above) She appears lost in private reflection, perhaps reflecting on memories or time passing. 

‘Self Portrait’, acrylic on canvas

Elaine is a visual storyteller who takes inspiration from art, popular culture, and literature such as the novel The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón: Barcelona, 1945: a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday, no longer remembering his mother, who died when he was just four. His father takes Daniel to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books in a library where his literary adventure unfolds through this bewitching Gothic love story.

Zafón’s female characters are enigmatic, full of power and mystery. Beatrice, a spoiled girl whose wealthy dad has already arranged for her marriage to Pablo when she meets Daniel, is a pampered young woman whose wealthy parents have already arranged for her marriage. This painting depicts a thin, sun-kissed girl on a sandy shore as if she were looking through a camera lens to take a picture against a swirling aqua-azure wave. 

‘Beatrice Sempere swimming at La Barcelonata beach’, acrylic on canvas board

Beatrice SempereThis is a poetic, perceptive portrait that has been translated from the page to the canvas. The sea shimmers with colourful, calligraphic strokes in a semi-abstract, luminous style. My work is dominated by the solitary figure, which explores themes of identity and love, as well as themes of transience and redemption. I paint stories and memories of people based on my personal experiences and others found in books, films and photography.’  Elaine Woo MacGregor

Peggy Guggenheim (1860-1979) was an American heiress and wealthy heiress. She was the daughter of Benjamin Guggenheim. Benjamin Guggenheim tragically died in the Titanic disaster of 1912. She became an influential art collector, bohemian, socialite – always a glamorous, fashionable lady. In this photograph by May Ray (1925), she’s wearing an ornate gold evening dress by Paul Poiret and a headdress by Vera Stravinsky.

Peggy Guggenheim. Photo Man Ray

At the outbreak of the second world war, she offered assistance to artists – the German surrealist artist Max Ernst was imprisoned in France and in 1941 Peggy funded his journey to travel with her to New York. Elaine has crafted a romantic, ethereal portrait to convey Guggenheim’s vivacious energy as her green and blue-tinted gown billows out behind, like a silk parachute. Her shoes are taking dainty, sprightly steps. en pointeShe appears to be dancing across a tropical forest, with a letter addressed to Max in her hand.The painting was selected for the LA CitiBank Curation 2024.

‘Peggy Guggenheim with a letter to Max Ernst’, acrylic on panel framed in black walnut tray frame

This dress was taken from a Spanish fashion book after studying vintage photos of Peggy. haute coutureThe earrings were based on the ones that she wore frequently. In her memoirs, she compared Ernst, who she loved and married in 1941, to a beautiful marble sculpture. ‘He had white hair and big blue eyes and a handsome beak-like nose resembling a bird’s. He was exquisitely made.’ – from ‘Confessions of an Art Addict’

Max Ernst Peggy Guggenheim.Photo Helen Highly

In the late 40s, she returned to Europe after living in New York, to build her beloved house on the Grand Canal in Venice. This home features one the world’s best collections of modern art.

Elaine Woo MacGregor will be represented by Cynthia Corbett Gallery at the LA Art Show (stand no. 710), ‘The Most Comprehensive International Contemporary Art Show in America’. Los Angeles is a destination for art of the highest quality. The LA Art Show continues to lead the way with innovative programming that includes painting, sculpture, artworks on paper, installations, photography, video, and design. 2024’s Show will welcome 120 galleries from 23 countries, and is set to generate $30 million in sales of 20,000 works of art, and will host 70,000 visitors. This is an amazing opportunity for this young contemporary artist to show her work at such a prestigious event.

Los Angeles Art Show

Another of Elaine’s recent art themes has paid homage to 19th20th The century French artists set along the Côte d’Azur – Dora Maar, Marthe and Pierre Bonnard – for paintings imbued with intense colour, light and space. With a passion to source artistic ideas through fiction, fashion and film – the golden age of Hollywood – Elaine has been researching the life of the elegant actress Audrey Hepburn. This is the theme for an exhibition in London this summer – Revisiting Scottish Painting from The Glasgow School, Elaine Woo MacGregor & Alastair Gordon.

2024 is certainly starting on a most successful high note for Elaine – she has recently been named the inaugural winner of the first RSA Blackadder Houston Mid-Career Travel Award. She is making final plans for an invaluable research trip to Hong Kong and Shanghai to explore places from her childhood, reconnecting with her Chinese heritage to bring a stronger personal narrative to her new work: ‘It means the absolute world to me to be acknowledged for my hardwork and dedication. This motivates to reach my goals. I look forward to embarking on my adventure to China with my sketchbooks and camera.’ – Elaine Woo MacGregor

This feature was kindly provided by Vivien Dvlin.

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