David Musgrave

Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow, until Sat 30 Jun

Art examines the idea of semblance, even when it is created out of everyday objects and the apparently unmediated stuff of the everyday world. The recent work of David Musgrave continues this examination into the nature of reality, where ‘lived life’ is understood as eternal repetition with sometimes barely perceptible differences taking place. This is translated into an analysis of representation and media by the London-based artist, who uses trompe l’oeil techniques to question the properties of the object represented, to conceal (and reveal) the limitations of the materials he employs, and, therefore, to attempt to demonstrate the fundamental illusory nature of reality itself. Heady stuff indeed.

These theoretical concerns are demonstrated in drawings, paintings and sculptures that at first appear to be abstract configurations, whether billowing chalky cloud-like forms or the unrelenting rigidity of the repeated horizontal line. In his ‘Television’ series, these lines are broken by the presence of a figure that at once occupies the surface and the mid-ground, like a shape hovering on our TV set. The forms take on anthropomorphic qualities. Stick figures with bulbous heads emerge, created out of hyper-real representations (three dimensional ‘sketches’) made out of twisted masking tape, then meticulously rendered in paint or graphite.

Musgrave’s work has been exhibited widely - with exhibitions with Art Now at Tate Britain and The British Art Show 5 - and his philosophical concerns continue to deepen. The vertically bisected cartoon ‘Snoopy’ sculpture (entitled ‘Animal’, 1998) that he was once known for has almost died.

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