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Mhairi McPhail

Mhairi  McPhail
  • Work
  • Biography
My work is primarily concerned with creating a tension between the drab, ornamental and stereotypically feminine to explore the underlying fears, conflicts and anxieties that occur in domestic spaces.

I use drawing, painting, collage and printmaking processes to construct my images, also expanding my practice into three-dimensional planes using MDF, wallpaper, carpet, chains and soap. More recently I have been experimenting with ceramics and am keen to continue learning the craft and integrating it into my work.

Domestic spaces can be spaces for; comfort, family, and safety, or conflict. Visually I have explored this conception by staging installations as “domestic battlegrounds”. The floral motifs and domestic materials are gentle and innocuous but upon closer inspection, the imagery of armoury and targets reveals a tension.

As well as themes of gender roles and power relationships in the home, my work explores the surreal nature of domestic spaces; materialism, self-containment, anthropomorphism and kitsch. The crossover between art and design and the distinction between functionality and decoration are key focuses in my research.

When examining fencing and boundary lines I adapted the protective fleur de lis symbol, found on railing tips, casting them into soap; a protective material against viruses. The act of the soap passing through the boundary line into the home is a significant realisation of performance and participation with the work, facilitated by Embassy Gallery in their Postal Exhibition ‘In Touch’ (December 2021).
- University of Edinburgh Painting BA (Hons) 2017-2021 First Class
- Wheel Throwing Ceramics Level 3, 2022
- Ceramics Course Level 1 & 2, Edinburgh Design School 2021
- 2 day Laser cutting printmaking course, DCA, Dundee. 2019
- Portobello Highschool 2011-2017

-Groupshow at Whitespace 5th-9th September 2022
-Alt-D 'Tenderfoot' 22nd-30th April 2022
- December Issue of 'In Touch' a postal exhibition with Embassy Gallery 2021
- This & That group show at Blunt Knife CO 1st-8th December 2021
- Edinburgh College of Art Graduate Showcase June 2021
- Hospitalfield House Micro-residency, Arbroath March 2020

Dog-Toothed Cat
  • Mhairi McPhail
  • Dog-Toothed Cat
  • Drawing
Domestic Battlefront Installation Detail
  • Mhairi McPhail
  • Domestic Battlefront Installation Detail
  • Mixed Media
Domestic Battlefront Installation View
  • Mhairi McPhail
  • Domestic Battlefront Installation View
  • Installation
Yonel's Place
  • Mhairi McPhail
  • Yonel's Place
  • Acrylic
  • Mhairi McPhail
  • Untitled
  • Relief Print
Lego Flowers
  • Mhairi McPhail
  • Lego Flowers
  • Acrylic
Hostess Soaps
  • Mhairi McPhail
  • Hostess Soaps
  • Assemblage
Hostess Soap Crucifix
  • Mhairi McPhail
  • Hostess Soap Crucifix
  • Mixed Media