John McClenaghen



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Toward the Listening Hill, Acrylic and Mixed Media on paper, 76x60cm

Spring Tide, Beachgrass Medium: Acrylic on Canvas 60x60 cm

The House with the Red Door, Acrylic on canvas 40x40cm

Between Showers, Acrylic on Canvas, 95x95 cm

Winter in Pendle (the Gloomy Day) Acrylic on canvas 40x40cm

Autumn on the Forth, Acrylic on canvas 40x34cm


My work explores the phenomena of time and change within the landscape. I am interested in painting’s ability to relate experience by drawing parallels between the action of weather upon the land and the action of colour and mark upon the "canvas". The main focus of my practice is in painting and drawing, although this is greatly informed by collage, print and assemblage, something that began when I was a student at the Glasgow School of Art. My interest in landscape has no doubt been informed by the generations of Scottish farmers that I am descended from on my mother’s side. I make work throughout the UK but I am continually drawn back to Yorkshire, my native Scotland and North Wales.

I tend to return to the same places again and again as I try to establish a relationship with the space through drawing and painting it over time. Ideas often begin with me sitting in a field working directly from nature. Back in the studio I make spontaneous gestural works in colour on paper trying to make sense of what I was experiencing on site. This stage is about working through marks, a process of recollection through making, trying to think in materials. A whole range of media often come into play as I attempt to reconstruct the experience of space and place through colour and mark. The traces of layers of decisions in the drawn and painted surface recall changes I see in the landscape itself, the reconfiguration of field structures, their shapes, colours and textures reflecting their changing physical form and those we perceive through the actions of weather.

Through the rhythm of work I am trying to move from the representation of something seen to the reconstruction of something felt.


John McClenaghen studied at the Glasgow School of Art, the University of Huddersfield, University of Liverpool and the University of Chester. He is a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at the School of Creative Arts, Glyndŵr University. Exhibitions include: Facing North, Storey Institute Gallery Lancaster, Distance 2 Sofia, Academia Gallery, National Academy of Art, Sofia (with Alec Shepley), Y Lle Celf, Visual Arts Exhibition of the National Eisteddfod of Wales, and in 2017/18 Fully Awake, Blip,Blip,Blip, Leeds, Tatham Modern, Maidenbridge Arts Centre, Rowan Gallery, Helensburgh Winter Exhibition and Defying Sameness, the Velvet Easel Gallery, Edinburgh.

He also writes about art practice with book chapters recently published by Q-Art and Black Dog, London. He has presented papers on painting at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester in 2015 and to the National Association for Fine Art Education in 2016 and 2018.