Rachel Maclean was born in Edinburgh and received her BA (Hons) from Edinburgh College of Art in 2009. As a multimedia artist, her work is often set in the digital realm, in the form of print and film. She produced her first architectural installation for Jupiter Artland 2021.
Using colourful makeup and extravagant self-designed costumes, Maclean plays almost all the characters in her films herself. Her work combines a variety of references to popular culture, and of genres such as children’s television programmes, horror movies, British comedy, video games, reality TV and YouTube videos. Maclean’s work is translated by a constant fluctuation between the seductive and the unsettling, revealing the much darker reality behind her candy-coloured, fantastical fictions.
Maclean’s work A Whole New World, received Glasgow Film Festival’s Margaret Tait Award in 2013. She has received significant acclaim, with major solo shows at Tate Britain, National Gallery London, Kunsthalle zu Kiel Germany, Arsenal Contemporary New York, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Talbot Rice Gallery Edinburgh, The Hugh Lane Gallery Dublin, National Gallery of Australia Canberra, Artpace San Antonio Texas and HOME Manchester.
Maclean represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale in 2017 with her film Spite Your Face. Her feature-length film Make Me Up premiered at BFI London Film Festival 2018 and went on to screen in numerous festivals including Rotterdam and The Flying Broom International Women’s Film Festival in Turkey, where it won the film critics award. Screenings of her films have also been shown at the Athens and Luxembourg Film Festivals in 2016 and at Impakt Festival, Utrecht, The Netherlands in 2014.