Alex Pollard and Clare Stephenson: The Dirty Hands (4 stars)

Alex Pollard and Clare Stephenson: The Dirty Hands


In this two-person show paintings, collages and free standing objects have been constructed into mise-en-scènes enabling fantastic characters to act out their scripts.

Entering the space, one is immediately impressed. Brushstrokes of deep reds, sickly pinks, greys and Absinthe greens are contrasted against signature monochromatic hues. A flutter of anticipation is restrained by the clinical, odourless ambience of this contemporary bawdyhouse; the rich amorality cauterised by the clean white space. Dandies are captured as specimens like butterflies behind glass.

These scene-setters reference the personae of 18th and 19th century art; the vagabonds, petty criminals and sexual explorers. There might be bohemian excess here, but the execution employs an economy which only Stephenson, Our Lady of the Fleurs du Mal, and the deft-fingered Pollard know. They are meticulous in their sensibilities, with highly individualised styles that present newfangled visual entertainment.

During an inconspicuous moment, Stephenson’s ‘She-who-is-Eternally-Returning’ brushes against Pollard’s ‘Moll-Buzzers’ and ‘Sneeze-Shys’ as they pass in the twilight zone of a back alley, recognising, nodding and then continuing their walk, only to splinter again into other time zones of newly appropriated bohemian eras.

A sullying of moral rectitude might be in the interest of the greater good, so I’m not washing my hands of anything.

CCA, Glasgow, until Sat 21 Mar

The Dirty Hands

  • 4 stars

Group show about excess and dandified amorality from Glasgow artists Clare Stephenson and Alex Pollard. Stephenson will be showing a series of free-standing drag queen figures interacting within a theatrical installation, while Pollard's paintings are set in a distorted hall of mirrors.

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