Simon Carroll (3 stars)

Collins Gallery, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, until Sat 24 Mar

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CERAMICS, PAINTING AND PRINTS

The alchemy and leap of imagination that’s involved when throwing, decorating and firing a humble pot is not to be underestimated. Each glaze - whether ice-cream pink or emerald green - begins life as inert grey swill, exhibiting few clues of the potential garish hues that will blossom in the process of firing. The bodies of Simon Carroll’s chucked, poked, scratched, gouged and ripped pots bear the deep marks of their aggressive making like war wounds.

This exhibition of enormous vases, jugs, and dainty tea bowls is accompanied by large paintings and collaged prints on paper and card, smothered in the colours and motifs that also find their way onto Carroll’s pots. The ceramic work has previously been shown at the Tate St Ives, among other places, weaving its way northward to the Collins Gallery. Carroll’s paintings - bearing the grandiose title ‘One Must Have Chaos: in order to create a constellation of dancing stars’ - contain windows, fern tendrils, boats, and what appears to be yellow knickers that are covered in layers of abstract spirals and wheels. These pop-abstract works appear to be throw-away fun, but they deserve as much if not more attention than the pots. It is not absolutely certain that Carroll’s slipshod aesthetic would transfer to canvas, but his compositional skills and obvious enjoyment of the stuff of paint would surely translate.

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