Alison Watt was born in Greenock in 1965 and studied at Glasgow School of Art. Her work first came to public attention in 1987 when she won the National Portrait Gallery’s coveted annual award, and in the late 1980s and early 90s she became known for her paintings of figures, often female nudes. In the late 1990s her focus shifted away from the figure and she began to explore the possibility of painting drapery as a surrogate for the human body.
Watt’s residency as Associate Artist at The National Gallery culminated in the landmark solo exhibition Phantom in 2008, and she was awarded an OBE in the same year. Watt’s work has been widely exhibited and is held in many prestigious collections including the National Galleries of Scotland, the National Portrait Gallery and the Uffizi in Florence.
The exhibition at Abbot Hall will include new work representing a significant new development in Watt's practice, alongside a selection of key earlier pieces. Watt's extraordinary paintings take the viewer to the edge of abstraction yet still suggest a powerful human presence or absence.