In Alasdair Wallace's world, nothing is quite as it seems. Perspective is slightly askew, landscape an organised guddle of trees and high-rise flats. Football pitches appear as Subbuteo-like creations, fresh from a 1970s childhood. A figure stands alone, torso enveloped by a box-like structure; business-like trouser legs and shoes on show; a white van drives off with a mini-mountain of tyres exposed as cargo. Or a flat screen TV sits in one side of a marble-like backdrop with a tangle of cutlery on the other side – like a campfire. There are motifs which pop up all over the Wallace shop; office chairs, telephones, drum kits, high flats, trees, horses, skew-wife buildings which seem oddly familiar…

"Is this you basically emptying your brain onto canvas or paper, Alasdair?" I ask as we stand together in his studio in Glasgow's east end, surrounded by his distinctive off-kilter signature paintings and prints. "Well…" Wallace replies. "Yes. And no. There is a constant editing process going on... giving work what I call poise. Things self-generate when the paint goes to work. Things form out of nothing. I paint first and then think later."

Some of the work crammed into Wallace's studio may be heading to the Glasgow Print Studio a few days later where a major solo exhibition of his work is due to open this Thursday night. Some might stay, he tells me. Even though it has been included in the catalogue produced to accompany the exhibition. It's Friday afternoon and he says he'll be working on and changing some of the work over the weekend before it's picked up on Monday morning. Suddenly, the exhibition's title, Oscillate, Vacillate, Orbit & Revolve, makes perfect sense.

We stand together in front of Ping Pong The Moon, the biggest painting Wallace has ever made, he tells me. If ever there was a signature "dish" it's this one. A blood red sky with patches of blue-ish smoke and a large pink ping pong ball moon dominate a cityscape which is at once familiar while at the same time being disconcertingly out-of-synch. It could be Glasgow, with an M8/M74 tangle of roads running through it; landmarks such as the Mitchell Library's distinctive dome cutting into the sky and high-rise buildings pushing up like trees in among trunks and branches. In the foreground floats one of the aforementioned Subbuteo-like football skew-whiff pitches. Or is it a ping-pong table? Table tennis bats sit at either end of this"pitch" with its mismatched furniture legs. A "little tree" air freshener dangles from one corner, a counterpoint to the bare lightbulb dangling beside the moon above. In the centre of the painting, a tornado of household items and high-rise flats erupts into organised chaos, stopping just short of the sideline of the pitch. The last object is a caravan. There is so much to look at, my mind is boggling. But at the same time, it's oddly soothing. I find myself wishing I could live with this painting; savouring it every day and seeing something new which might help me solve the ever-perplexing puzzle that is life itself.

This exhibition of new paintings and prints by Wallace represents his first major solo show in Glasgow in over twenty years. In recent years, he has worked in both painting and printmaking, and in his newer work, there are many points at which the two disciplines overlap, diverge and inform. The influence of his recent experiments in printmaking has led to him employing a more systematic approach to painting alongside his more usual instinctive and reactive style.

Wallace, who attended the Glasgow School of Art in the early 1990s, grew up in Drumchapel, on the western outskirts of Glasgow. Famously described by one-time resident Billy Connolly, as "a desert wae windaes", this city hinterland has been a huge influence on him. His attitude to landscape remains coloured by childhood explorations of what seemed like a wilderness. Below the Glasgow Airport flight path, Wallace and his friends would skip school and follow the nearby burn upstream. Amid the odd burnt-out car and shopping trolley, they encountered ideal worlds for childish imaginations to inhabit. An Arcadia in microcosm, if you like.

The graphic quality of print has provoked a new exploration for Wallace of text combined with his distinctive imagery. Disembodied words float in etched landscapes while paintings are shot through with textual conundrums. The ambiguity and absurdity of the text is amplified in his "Analoguer" photo-etchings, recently created at Glasgow Print Studio. Combining digital and hand-to-surface drawing, the subject matter is typical Wallace. An old radiogram style set with a wire coat-hanger for an aerial. Random words float in the buttons. Some made up, some more familiar. The etchings, he says, have become seedbeds for new paintings. There is a clear synergy going on between the paintings and the prints.

The exhibition's title, Oscillate, Vacillate, Orbit & Revolve, is one Wallace has wanted to use for a while, he tells me. "That’s the way I work. Sometimes I think I have two or three ideas and just keep doing them. I had ideas when I was younger and didn’t know what to do with them. Sometimes, ideas have to grow likes Baroque fungus on your brain.

"There are some paintings I started a while ago and only now have come back to. There's a painting called Crazy House in the show, which I began around 1997. It is based on a building in the Trongate in Glasgow. It hung around in the studio waiting to realign with the work of 2019! But at the same time, it was overtaken by paintings in the same vein, depicting odd buildings that attract me, with unusual angles and tricky-to-relate to perspectives.

"The words of the show's title and words like Perturbation have astronomical connotations but also reflect how I work; oscillating uncertainties, with ideas in slow orbit that eventually come round into view again … sometimes years or decades later."

In playing with perspective, Wallace is carrying on a line of enquiry which started out in art history terms before the Renaissance, when Italian masters such as Giotto and Duccio began to bring depth and the illusion of space and depth into their work.

"I love early Renaissance work more than the work which came later," says Wallace. "In these flat picture plane paintings, it's more about the subject matter than what is being depicted."

In Wallace's worlds, orbits collide and ideas swirl around the imagery creating a sense of time and place that is crystal clear. Albeit one wrapped up in a Dada-esque Baroque fungus-like embrace.

Alasdair Wallace: OSCILLATE, VACILLATE, ORBIT & REVOLVE, Glasgow Print Studio, 103, Glasgow, G1 5HD, 0141 552 0704, June 7 – July 28. Open Tue – Sat, 10am–5.30pm, Sun, 12pm-5pm. Free

Critic's Choice

It’s degree show season… and all around Scotand’s art schools, from Elgin to Galashiels, the fruits of several years’ labours by art students are going on display. The Glasgow School of Art’s School (GSA) of Fine Art is currently showcasing work by 135 students in a new home, the old Stow College in Garnethill – on display over five floors in the refurbished Stow Building until 6pm tomorrow night.

The headline news is that painting is back with a vengeance at GSA. After several years of playing, “spot the painter”, this year, it is a case of “oh, look, another painter!”

Many of them working on a big scale. Degree Show surfing is an inexact science so with apologies to the painters who I missed but artists who caught my eye included; Lynsey Mackenzie who has kept things simple with three big paintings illustrating confidence and freedom in her use of paint and colour; Sean Ellcombe whose giant swirling canvases had a seventies/mural feel; Kirsten Shanks whose tangle of cherubs in muted tones were creepily memorable and Pimpawan Wangamonmit – again working on a big scale with bold colourful paintings and a “mediation shrine” tied up with the transition of her native Thai culture.

Samantha Dick’s installation and performance, The Doll’s House, is Insta-smart but with an attention to detail which reveals a perfectionist’s eye on the bigger picture.

The Glasgow School of Art School of Fine Art Degree Show 2019, Stow Building, Shamrock Street, G4 9JZ, Until tomorrow (Jun 9), 10am-6pm

The Glasgow School of Art School of Fine Art Degree Show 2019, Stow Building, Shamrock Street, G4 9JZ, Until tomorrow (Jun 9), 10am-6pm

Don't Miss

The fifth annual Look Again Festival roared into the Granite City yesterday and will be making its presence felt in Aberdeen for the next eight days. Featuring new works by leading and emerging artists, designers, photographers, architects and writers, highlights include; artist John Walter with a new commission responding to Marischal Quad, designer Morag Myerscough's reanimating Aberdeen’s historic Mercat Cross and Aberdeen based writer Shane Strachan's new spoken-word film and exhibition inspired by the life and work of the Fraserburgh-born fashion designer Bill Gibb.

Look Again Festival, locations across Aberdeen city centre Until June 16