Art: Private View: Abigail McLellan Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London W1

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The Independent Culture
Abigail McLellan is a young Scottish artist who has made something of a name for herself as a painter of still lifes and simple, hard-edged portraits. I'm not totally convinced by the portraits, although I like the way she balances colour and makes strong, artificial horizons - and a recent double portrait of her dealer, Rebecca Hossack, with writer husband Mathew Sturgis suggests she's getting better.

On the evidence of Traceries, a new exhibition at Hossack's gallery, the still lifes are also getting more interesting. The subject is still plants and flowers, but the treatment is less conventional, more peculiarly her own.

Her repertoire still includes some fairly standard arrangements such as flowers in jugs and plant pots on table tops, but alongside these are a number of less orthodox compositions with a shifting sense of scale. It's as if McLellan's view of the world goes in and out from under the microscope, as curtains of phlomis stems appear almost pressed up against the picture plane, or a little pine tree hovers in the distance encircled by rings of tiny lines. These in turn could be detailed view of the tree's trunk, the rings that mark its age, or simply just a series of patterns. It makes for an unusual and engaging group of pictures.

Rebecca Hossack Gallery, 35 Windmill Street, London W1 (0171-436 4899) to 24 Dec

Richard Ingleby

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