Echo and Transcend
Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, until Fri 1 Jan 2010
‘My paintings are a song to colour,’ writes John McLean, whose ‘Hunter’ forms part of this group show designed to show off some of the best abstract art culled from Glasgow’s own collection alongside significant loans. The fluidity of music pulses through much of the work in a show whose title is amplified along the lines of ‘Some of the works on display echo reality while others transcend it.’
Which is fine, especially in Alan Davie’s clearly of its time 1960 piece, ‘Cornucopia’, with its conscious references to jazz and zen, its colours mixing and matching free-form solo improvisations ad nauseum. Elsewhere, op art queen Bridget Riley’s large-scale candy-striped constructions flank the gallery’s central boulevard, while Eduardo Paolozzi’s Japanese-inspired sculpture, ‘Hamlet In The Japanese Manner’, is a riot of adventure playground climbing frame colours.
All the work stands alone just fine, but you wonder how any of it fits in with a central thesis which could be applied to all art. It’s not that there aren’t brilliantly evocative pan-generational displays on show, just that collectively it’s not definitive enough to suggest any real common ground. As with McLean’s work, ‘Echo and Transcend’ feels too much like it’s going for a song.