Donna McLean is one of those rare artists whose work directly explores this polarity. Her work inhabits a haunting, contradictory terrain: she is a driven perfectionist in pursuit of a dream world whose justification necessarily lies beyond her reach; her studio is strewn with finely-honed attempts to capture what she believes to be the ‘correct’ quality of near darkness; even as she pursues it, she will only know it when she sees it. When they appear in her landscapes, her figures – solitary rather than lonely – seem to have fantasized their surroundings as much as they have been formed by them. In recent years these environments have included the stark architecture of library, stairwell, underground station, cityscape. Like thoughts, like life itself, these figures grow out darkness, and into darkness they return.