About Moira Maclean

Moira Maclean is a visual artist from Lewis, and an MFA graduate from Grays School of Art, Aberdeen.

Born and bred, living and working on Lewis, Moira's work has gained a dedicated following both on and off island. She has made a practice of ‘raiding’ the abandoned croft houses of the Islands,she call's herself 'A Wallpaper Pirate'. She documents these interiors or "time capsules" then collects the old wallpaper "silent witness" which she uses in both her paintings and in her installation pieces to different ends. 

The paintings explore childhood and transient perspectives; "I want to paint the memory of the most perfect day or night" 

"The paintings are the result of deep mining memory, trying to recapture the feeling of walking through a snowy village in my childhood or looking out over glittering sand and sea to outlying Islands, birds, flowers, picnic flasks and paraphenalia, tents and  glinting caravans. Shelter, whether croft houses or exotic palaces, caravans or bell tents, is integral to my paintings. Signs of life and lifestyle, paint and vintage wallpaper, tangible evidence of real lives and generations rescued from abandoned houses, are reborn, represented. A new life is made from forgotten remnants- a glimmer of light and life through a window, a flicker, a memory"

Where there is light there is also darkness.

My installation pieces explore issues of my cultural history, transience,dereliction and diaspora. Also personal history and  motherhood as seen from a female, domestic perspective.  

The Outer Hebrides are saturated in tradition, custom and folklore, drawing on Irish (Gaelic) culture, Scandinavian (Viking) influence and all parts between. Some practices have disappeared, some have endured. Some faintly echo or dimly reflect the past. Some resonate. An island, a village, a house, a person can be a crucible for beliefs and practices, where culture grows as on a Petri dish. Her 2011 exhibition at An Lanntair Buisneachd, (Gaelic for witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment), focused on these ideas: about the home, the hearth, the earth and the ether. Domestic detritus, mirrors, bibles, accretions of wallpaper and images of abandoned spaces, insinuate unseen forces and unsettling, sometimes malign, influences. 



Morven Gallery

Barvas, Isle of Lewis



An Lanntair

Stornoway, Isle of Lewis



Rendezvous Gallery

Aberdeen, Scotland


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