A Scottish artist whose films create a "nightmarish, candy-coloured world" is to represent Scotland at the world's biggest visual arts festival.

Rachel Maclean, based in Glasgow, is to be the artist featured in the Scottish show at the 57th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale next year.

Maclean creates art films which mix themes of surrealism, fantasy, social and personal identity, with special effects, sometimes highly coloured day-glo worlds, elaborate sets, high art and popular culture.

One of her recent films, Feed Me, was purchased for the National Gallery of Scotland and the galleries described the "nightmarish, candy-coloured" world she created as "elaborate, beautifully realised...and extraordinary".

Ms Maclean, who was born in Edinburgh and graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2009 will present a "major new film commission" a venue yet to be confirmed.

She said she is already inspired by the historic connection between the city and masks, and in particular those worn by plague doctors.

The artist said: "I've already been thinking about the plague masks, and the plague victims, and setting the film partly in a contemporary setting and partly in the 17th century - continuing the theme of my work being neither in one place or the other."

The Biennale is considered one of the world's top showcases for contemporary art.

More than 33,000 people visited the Scottish show, by Graham Fagen, at the 56th international art exhibition in Venice in 2015.

The Biennale itself drew more than 500,000 visitors to the famous canal city, as well as the world's media: more than 8000 journalists.

Ms Maclean's show in Venice will be curated by Alchemy Film and Arts of Hawick, in partnership with the Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, and the University of Edinburgh.

Pat Fisher, principal curator of the Talbot Rice Gallery said that the potential for her show in Venice is "vast".

"It is a place of decadence and Carnival, of mythical history and masquerade balls. We eagerly anticipate how she will respond to it,” she said.

Maclean's films have an array of characters, costumes and settings - she often plays many of the parts herself, utilising costume, make up, props, costume and other effects.

For example in The Lion and the Unicorn she dressed in an elaborate costume featuring the Union Jack whilst miming to a speech by the Queen.

Born in 1987, she was was educated at Edinburgh College of Art where she completed her BA in Drawing and Painting in 2009.

Maclean was nominated for the Film London Jarman Award in 2013 and won Glasgow Film Festivals Margaret Tait Award in 2013.

This will be the 8th presentation for the Scotland + Venice body, which has organised a separate Scottish show at the festival since 2003.

Talbot Rice Gallery will host Rachel Maclean’s work from the Venice Biennale in early 2018.

Ms Maclean added: "It is hugely exciting to be representing Scotland at the Venice Biennale. I am honoured to be participating in such a significant international event and can't wait to get started on the new commission."HeraldScotland: Rachel Maclean’s film Feed Me (2015) has been bought by the National Galleries of Scotland. Photo: Neil Hanna

Amanda Catto, chair of the Scotland + Venice Partnership, said: "Rachel’s work is remarkable and has the power to captivate and enthral. The Biennale is a significant international platform that will bring Rachel’s work to new audiences, especially the large number of international visitors that come to Venice.

"Our partnership with Alchemy Film and Arts and Talbot Rice Gallery/ University of Edinburgh is extremely valuable, providing exciting new possibilities to strengthen the impact of the project in Scotland, to produce an outstanding exhibition and to ensure our visitors are given the very warmest of welcomes.”

Richard Ashrowan, creative director at Alchemy Film & Arts said: "Rachel Maclean is a powerfully original artist filmmaker, and we look forward to working with her on a striking new film and exhibition presentation at Venice.

"Rachel’s new film commission will create a significant legacy as part of a national and international touring programme, working with a range of partners across Scotland and beyond."

Previous Scotland + Venice presentations have included the show in 2015, by Graham Fagen, curated by Hospitalfield Arts.

Scotland + Venice is a collaboration between Creative Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland and the British Council in Scotland.

The Arts Council Collection has announced that Maclean’s work is among more than 40 works from 23 artists it has bought in the last year.

It has purchased a copy of Feed Me, and said in a statement: “a parable of the pleasures and perils of indulgence, with swipes at the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood and a growing infantilisation in adult behaviour. As we continue to feed the monster of contemporary consumerist desire, Maclean’s film is an indelible reminder of all the little monsters that are born in its wake.”

The Arts Council Collection, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2016, is one of the largest national collections of modern and contemporary British Art.