Lorna Macintyre (3 stars)

Mary Mary, Glasgow, until Fri 23 Feb



When the natural and unnatural are understood to be artificial concepts, the art object that takes this bleak state of affairs at its word is equally bleak. Lorna MacIntyre’s sculptures, photographs and drawings installed at Mary Mary have this effect - of exposing the deadness of nature. Not only as a category, but the materials that litter the work (stones, dead leaves, fallen chestnuts) also stress this demise.

The work is not sentimental, does not bemoan our outcast state; this is not a lament or a romantic longing. Neither is it a desperate celebration of the industrial. It simply demonstrates that there is no difference between the manmade and the natural; both fall in and out with each other on a post-industrial landscape. The human figure is present, skating on thin ice in ‘Untitled 2006’, and frozen and abstracted into a symmetrical pattern in ‘Specular Composition 1’. Elsewhere, the figure is trapped in bronze then in the grey photographs of Degas’ dancers, where MacIntyre has locked the already inert figures in simple geometric forms, blacking out the background to emphasise their ‘objectness’.

‘Storm I’ (pictured) is by far the simplest and most successful piece, exposing the dumb act of making: a gesture, a thought symbolically represented by a brass rod is shoved through a block of rosewood. It is both elegant and naïve.


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