GROUP SHOW, Doggerfisher
Doggerfisher, Edinburgh, until Sat 26 Apr
Doggerfisher’s annual group show brings together work by recent graduates and more established artists. Refreshingly, the gallery unites the six artists via an interest in formal concerns with space and surroundings rather than a tacked on or tenuous theme. As might be expected of a group exhibition, the work on show varies in quality. Yet, while the overriding ephemeral appearance at times appears flimsy, it also creates unity and coherence.
The exhibition is at its most interesting when the time taken to execute the work is concealed, so an accidental appearance is created from what is in fact well made and substantial. When entering the space we first encounter Albrecht Schafer’s sculpture ‘Noguchi Split No. 3’: a cut into and deconstructed lampshade that seems to lack both physical substance and conceptual depth. More compelling are his ‘Balloon’ sculptures, which are made from plaster and metal, yet appearing to be ordinary helium filled balloons left to float away and cling to the ceiling. Similarly, while Neil Clements’ paintings appear rashly executed, his ‘Untitled’ sculpture is carefully constructed from steel, neon and timber yet retains a makeshift quality. Claire Barclay’s ‘Mock Up’ sculpture is also made from carefully hewn or found elements, including brass, wood, fabric and mirror, all of which seem to have been thrown carelessly into what is actually a deliberately composed pile.
By far the most immediately seductive work in the show is Jonathan Owen’s ‘Untitled’, a black rubber car mat out of which baroque swirls have been meticulously cut. This piece exemplifies the substantial yet accidental theme. The odd combination of intricate pattern and heavy tactile rubber is both sinister and enticing. His ‘Untitled’ interwoven book pages are similarly immaculate yet more suggestive and poetic. There are other elements to the exhibition which are more difficult to engage with, such as a jumbled collection of objects which we are told are the remnants of a performance from the opening night, and part of the exhibition which continues in the gallery office. Yet, in spite of this, the strongest works in this show leave a lasting impact.