Alison Watt (B. 1965, Scotland) graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1988. While still a student, she won the John Player Portrait Award and as a result was commissioned to paint a portrait of the Queen Mother. An exhibition of her work entitled Fold in 1997 at Edinburgh's Fruitmarket Gallery was the first introducing fabric alongside her models.
In 2000 she became the youngest artist to be offered a solo exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art with an exhibition called Shift, with 12 huge paintings featuring fabric alone. These edged ever more towards the abstract yet had a strange, sensual quality suggestive of a human presence [or absence]. From January 2006 to February 2008, Watt served as the seventh artist in residence at the National Gallery, London culminating in a special exhibition, Phantom, in the Sunley Room, running from March to June 2008. She was awarded an OBE in the 2008 New Years Honours.