Darren Banks: Soothsayers / Oonagh Hegarty: Tabloid Alchemy
It’s Hell in there. Or at least it sounds like it. From the moment you step into Sierra Metro’s concrete darkness at the edge of town, you’re hit with a barrage of mind-melding visual and aural loops, from Italian goresploitation flicks to bug-eyed retro-future sci-fi, grim reaper-obsessed kids’ cartoons and other paraphernalia seemingly put together from a skip-load of analogue artefacts that make up the heart of Darren Banks’ set of scarifying junkyard constructions. Loungecore cooing underscores the screaming, ghosts in the machine shine through see-through negligee and upended workbenches are left for dead.
Banks cites Otto Dix’s 1933 allegorical anti-Nazi painting, ‘The Seven Deadly Sins’, as casting a black cloud of influence over his work. In reality, Soothsayers’ insistent, three-dimensional explosion more resembles comic book anti-hero Ghost Rider cast as part Horseman of the Apocalypse, part trash culture savvy Steptoe picking up a wagon-load of schlock-age detritus made kitsch.
Tucked away in Room 2, the discretion of Oonagh Hegarty’s Tabloid Alchemy is an altogether less attention-seeking construction, both in scale and volume. Given its star-struck subject matter, however, this is a wilfully apposite strategy, as Spirograph patterns circle around little versions of celebrity culture silhouettes, while out of context close-ups of Britney Spears are immortalised in a Sellotape-encrusted jewel-box. Little doll’s house models made from cardboard scraps offer a draughtsman’s eye-view into less than perfect cribs.
Such a deliberate counterpoint between Banks and Hegarty’s work takes you from the end of the world to self-destruction in a few short steps, suggesting that all life as we imagine it – if not quite the reality – is here.
Sierra Metro, Edinburgh, until Sun 28 Feb