REVIEW PENCIL DRAWINGS ALAN REID: BOUDOIR CONCRETE Mary Mary, Glasgow, until Sun 9 Oct ●●●●●
Looking for all the world like propaganda posters for Nazi leisure organisation Kraft durch Freude, Alan Reid’s representational drawings of lissome young bodies appear to promote healthy living and sexless appeal.
Lithe bodies are interrupted by quirky cubist elements: arcs of colour dissect one piece, and in another, a collection of flutes covers the pubic area. There is a strange interplay between the concrete and the boudoir: between the soft lines and pastel shades of the drawings, and garish colours and angles of the geometric forms. Two genres are at war here as modernism imposes its boot print on romanticism, and art clashes with design. In some pieces the juxtaposition is jarring.
A subtle humour is also at play and manages to hold a
dramatic tension between innocence and an unidentifiable shadow. Evoking the lost innocence of cigarette card girls and gilded youth, winsome bodies are drawn with a faux naïveté that hints at an underlying joke, the punch line of which disappears over the horizon as we approach it. Reid is an American artist, a Texan based in New York,
and this is his first European solo show. The work is well executed, with a delicate aesthetic balance that yearns to fulfil its promise. A number of redesigned Ulmer Hocker pine and rattan caning stools scattered around the space invite us to move closer and to sit down so that we can observe intimately. Within all of this there is something inexplicable – perhaps a sense of foreignness – that evokes a modern-day awe of the exotic, of a language of art that is slightly unfamiliar and unattainable. This distance is alienating and the viewer is left wondering whether this really is more than the sum of its parts. (Talitha Kotzé)
N O S N B O R N E H P E T S
K R A L C H T U R
REVIEW INSTALLATION/DRAWINGS GARY ROUGH Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow, until Fri 7 Oct ●●●●●
REVIEW TEXTILES/PAINTING NICK SARGENT: A SCOTTISH LAND Schop, Edinburgh, until Fri 7 Oct ●●●●● REVIEW FILM GRAHAM FAGEN: MISSING Tramway, Glasgow, until Sun 2 Oct ●●●●●
Gary Rough’s Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc... is a meshing of two conceptual ideas, the ongoing collection of 1,984 copies of George Orwell’s classic, 1984, and the attempted skewing of repetitive, hand-drawn patterns. All the works were made during a month-long residency within the gallery while it was closed for the summer.
In the main space, raised bookshelves, made from reclaimed timber, look down on the viewer, suggestively out of reach. The shelves contain only a few copies, not quite 1000 yet, though supposedly he has collected ‘several hundred’ at this time. His collection is quietly driven by the plot device from Orwell’s novel: ‘The Book’ falling into the protagonist’s hands.
Next door to this minimal display is a group of medium-sized blue biro pen drawings with wall paintings above, each referencing a harlequin pattern or warped chessboard. The concept behind each piece is the ‘psychological resistance’ that comes from trying to purposefully force mistakes while drawing the pattern. It leaves no lasting impression and, sadly, looks like a collection of high school still lifes of towels close-up. (Alistair Quietsch)
With A Scottish Land, one-time set and costume designer and Edinburgh resident Nick Sargent returns to Oliver Chapman Architects in-house gallery space for the first time since their inaugural exhibition. Inspired by a photograph of a generic Scottish lake view (uncovered in an Edinburgh bookshop) and a similarly themed, faded watercolour (found in a Devon charity shop) this exhibition treads the line between craft and fine art, as well as the one between memory and memorial. In the principal room, huge, embossed, quilt-style canvas ‘Scottish Landscape’ dominates. With its mossy greens and dirty river blues this is muscular embroidery – there’s heather and needles and damage done here. Moving round ‘View’ takes a Venn diagram to perspective, ‘Folly’ places 2001’s monolith in the Highland landscape and ‘Foxing’ is all dusk and mystery. In the adjoining room ‘Chapel’ and ‘Coast’ sees Sargent use the iris wipe and cunning to concentrate the mind, while ‘Highland’ attempts to conjoin the woven canvas with something monumental and sweeping. Sargent’s bold creations celebrate his one-time homeland with charm and perhaps a little fantasy. (Paul Dale)
Graham Fagen’s moving video diptych explores the experience of going missing and what it’s like for those left behind. Commissioned by the Scottish National Portrait gallery, it is produced in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland who are staging Andrew O’Hagan’s book, The Missing. Fagen’s installation is a two-channel video piece of around eight minutes long. In the opening sequence two synchronized projections show the ocean – waves foaming, water ebbing and flowing. Our view is swaying as if on a drifting vessel. This effect is continued on one screen where a handheld camera wanders the streets of Irvine alone and then sets forth on a journey, peering from behind gates, looking down without direction or destination. The other screen portrays a parallel narrative: the scene of those people left behind, with hints at absence – petals wilting, empty chairs, waiting. Included are references to well known cases of missing people. At the end of November Fagan’s work will go on
display in the foyer of Edinburgh’s newly refurbished Portrait Gallery. In contrast to the collection of famous faces, the piece will bear witness for those who are missing. (Talitha Kotzé)
22 Sep–20 Oct 2011 THE LIST 113