Artist's statement

After completing my postgraduate Art History degree at the University of St Andrews I have been working full-time as an artist. As both my parents — Alan Macdonald and Carolynda Macdonald — are professional painters, I have been taught to paint from an early age. However, it wasn’t until after university that I started to paint full-time in my parents’ studio space in Carnoustie. Their extensive experience has been passed down to me through a traditional studio education since I started working as their assistant in 2010. I continued my artistic training in tandem with my academic work at the University of St Andrews and I have now exhibited in the UK, USA and Australia.

My artistic practice fuses my formal art historical education and the traditional mode of oil painting in order to reframe Renaissance and Baroque painting in the twenty-first century. Through juxtaposition and adjustment of scale I intend to alter the perception of works by canonical artistic figures — such as Diego Velazquez or Luca Giordano. These painted figures are removed from their original context and placed into the palm of a hand, at the top of a cloud or submerged in inky black water. It is through this change that I intend to charge these historical works with alternate meanings which have a contemporary relevance.

My largest art historical work centred on the walking art of Hamish Fulton, whom I interviewed during the writing process of my postgraduate thesis. In addition to walking art, I have written extensively on documentary photography, land art, non-Western modern art, and portrait miniatures. It is with this contemporary focussed art historical background that I approach the work of the Old Masters in my own painting: probing my own practice continuously and questioning its relationship with society in the twenty-first century.

2024House of Macdonald, Kilmorack Gallery, Beauly
2023Heaven & Earth, Solo Show, Heriot Gallery, Edinburgh
2023Art of Antiquity, Haven Gallery, Long Island, New York
2023Duality, Haven Gallery, Long Island, New York
2022Winter Show, Heriot Gallery, Edinburgh
2022Symbiosis, Beinart Gallery, Melbourne
2022Transfigurations, Solo Show, Heriot Gallery, Edinburgh
2022Festival Show, Heriot Gallery, Edinburgh
2022Transfigurations, Solo Show, Heriot Gallery, Edinburgh
2021Context Art Miami, Quantum Contemporary Art, Miami
2021Boutique Christmas Show: Quantum Contemporary Art, London
2021Christmas Show: Heriot Gallery, Edinburgh
2021Affordable Art Fair New York: Quantum Contemporary Art, New York City
2021Figurative Show: Heriot Gallery, Edinburgh
2021At Home in The Compton Gallery: Quantum Contemporary Art, The Cotswolds
2021Battersea Affordable Art Fair: Quantum Contemporary Art, London
2021Summer Show at West Horsely Place: Quantum Contemporary Art, Surrey
2021Champagne Show: Quantum Contemporary Art, London, London
2020ING Discerning Eye Exhibition, London
2020Boutique Christmas Show: Quantum Contemporary Art, London
1996Born in London, United Kingdom
2010-2014Studio Assistant for Alan and Carolynda Macdonald
2014-19Part-time Oil Painting tuition at Black Betty Studios Ltd.
2018MA Hons. Art History, University of St Andrews
2019MLitt Art History, University of St Andrews
2019-2020Full-time Oil Painting tuition at Black Betty Studios Ltd.
2019-presentWorking full-time as a Fine Artist
Academic work


  • Deconstructing the Diminutive: An Examination of the Function and Significance of Intimate Portrait Miniatures in Eighteenth-Century England.
  • Documenting the Demonic: An Assessment of the Four Sonderkommando Photographs and their Framing of Auschwitz
  • Deconstructing Modernism: Rethinking the Art Historical Approach to Transnational Modern Artists from Beyond the West, with the Gutai Group as a Case Study.


  • Walking for the Wild: An Ecocritical Assessment of Hamish Fulton's Walking Art in the Cairngorms.
  • Walking through the Index: An Examination of Role of Text in Hamish Fulton's Walking Art.
  • Sculpting Nigerian Identity: An Examination of Representation of Clothing Within State-Commissioned Sculpture in Lagos and an Assessment of its Role in Building a Nigerian National Identity.
© 2020 Rory Macdonald