Born in Dumfries in 1975, Alison embarked after school on a one-year foundation course at the Cumbria
College of Art and Design in Carlisle. She then continued her training as a painter at the prestigious Bath Spa Academy (formerly the Bath Academy of Art) from which she graduated with a BA with honours in Fine Art.
Remaining in Bath to continue her studies, Alison was awarded a MFA in Visual Culture by Bath Spa University in 2000.
Alison has since consolidated her position as arguably the most gifted artist among the younger generation of New Scottish Colourists, producing works of irresistible allure. Enjoying significant and well-deserved renown at home and abroad for her highly original still life paintings; her range of diverse landscape motifs; her bold, compelling abstracts and most recently, her ground-breaking series of reclining nudes.
Alison’s paintings are underpinned by her unquestionable sincerity and characterised by such freshness and enthusiasm that they appear to have been painted spontaneously. In fact, although there are occasional acts of last-minute spontaneity, they are fundamentally the product of long periods of reflection and introspection.
Alison is remarkable for her willingness to acknowledge the struggles entailed in making a painting - in her own words “to embrace the mysterious nature of the creative process”.
Her style continues to evolve as a result of her constant, restless, unquenchable urge for experimentation, and an inexorable quest for ever greater abstraction. To this end, she has recently resorted increasingly to the use of her own fingers and the palette knife, wielded at times with breath-taking bravura.
The dominant colours are often transferred directly from the tube to the canvas, then smeared or swirled at will across the surface, culminating in a sensuous, thick, buttery impasto.
Over the years, Alison has attracted a large and devoted following of private collectors and gained the respect and admiration of fellow artists and art critics alike.
Alison has exhibited to wide acclaim nationally and internationally. Her works were included between 2013 and 2017 in the annual shows of the Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts; and has exhibited in New York, Hong Kong and Singapore. Her 2021 painting ‘Pink Nude’ was chosen to be shown at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. She had her first solo exhibition ‘True Colours’ in 2016 in London and her Solo Show at the Annan Gallery ‘Meditations on Colour’ will be her only Solo Exhibition of 2021
“I wish to give special thanks to Scott and Susan at The Annan Gallery for the opportunity of me having this Solo Exhibition. The last 18 months have been so challenging for us all and at no other time have I been reminded so clearly what a great gift and a force creativity is in my life.
I hope everyone enjoys this exhibition as much as I loved making these paintings.
‘There is much beauty here, because everywhere there is much beauty’ Rainer Maria Rilke”
Alison McWhirter, August 2021