Hayley Tompkins: Autobuilding
Over the past ten years GSA graduate Tompkins has drawn recognition for her abstract compositions. On the strength of this show, however, hers is an oeuvre that seems to have (to quote American cleric/writer Norman Vincent Peale) been more ‘ruined by praise than saved by criticism.’
Puckish annoyance pervades this show from the get go. Room one opens with a mobile phone fascia stuck inside a crudely painted wooden frame. This is followed by spray-painted sticks, one of which has bits of old photographs on it and a large gold painting with squashed rubble pressed into it to form what looks like cumulous fossils. Room two boasts another twig and the ground floor contains more mobiles in painted frames, some execrable paper abstractions and an enamelled soap dispenser in another frame. Upstairs things start marginally better with two sweetly naïve wood, gouache and found object works. Tompkins’ four-minute 2008 film Interstice gloomily fills out the connecting room and then more cut up photos and twigs follow and the final room is dominated by a cabinet full of paint choked objects that look like the leftovers from a primary art class. Only the Fluxus-like statement above the exit, ‘I still believe in miracles above’ contains the open-ended humour for which Tompkins is striving, and it is not clear if this is a part of the show at all.
Inverleith House, Edinburgh, until Sun 19 Apr