Altered States of Paint (5 stars)

Altered States of Paint


DCA, Dundee, until Sun 7 Sep

DCA’s excellent new exhibition manages to assail you before you even enter the gallery, thanks to Rabiya Choudhry’s vibrant wall painting that presents the show’s title across the blade of an oversized knife. The exhibition’s theme brings together psychedelia and that point in the late 60s when the hippy dream slipped into a dystopian nightmare, while exploring the sensory potential of painting – what that form can do and be.

Angela de la Cruz muddies the boundaries between painting and sculpture. One work lies broken on the floor covered by a white blanket, while the entrance to an auxiliary room is blocked by ‘Stuck’, a massive sheet of thickly painted canvas. Neil Clements similarly questions the nature of painting, with canvases based on the shapes of obsolete guitar designs, and his ‘(Full Stop)’ paintings: two black canvases onto which a can of spray-paint has been applied, in situ judging by the drips and pools beneath each work. The narrative of Till Gerhard’s paintings suggest creeping unease, and are disfigured by spray-painted blotches and sinister oozes of black paint, while Jutta Koether’s epic painting ‘Touch and Resist 5’ reworks an art historical composition into a black apocalyptic nightmare.

This is clearly a curated show, as demonstrated by the exhibition’s strong concept and the marshalling of works in the first room, but the artists have evidently had input, with several having created works especially for the exhibition. Despite showcasing very different styles, it all sits very comfortably together, with each artist more than holding their own.

Altered States of Paint

  • 5 stars

Brilliant group show that refracts the formal and sensory properties of painting through 1960s psychedelia and the death of the hippy dream. Includes work by Neil Clements, Rabiya Choudhry, Jutta Koether and Till Gerhard.

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