Victoria Morton (4 stars)

Victoria Morton

In the basement of Inverleith House there’s a screening of Anne-Marie Copestake’s 1999 film on Victoria Morton to accompany this large exhibition of work by the artist. At one point in the film Morton asks all-female art/punk troupe Chicks on Speed about the relationship between their onstage pseudo pop star personas and their real life. It’s a telling pointer of where Morton’s concerns lie because, a decade on, in many of the 47 pieces on show, the domestic and the purely aesthetic rub up against each other in a way that suggests striking a balance with the work/play matrix is far from easy in these allegedly have-it-all times.

The sculptural works are particularly contrary. Battered chairs, metal pedal bins and a beer tray mounted on a metal stand all become props to hang wilfully messy and increasingly busy paintings on. The furniture itself is often painted in kindergarten primaries, further denuding it of grown-up responsibility. Elsewhere, images great and small come with titles like ‘Mummy, Daddy, Baby’ and ‘Pregnant Woman’, further accentuating the raging calm that tugs the show in so many directions. In the end Morton has created a body of work that’s both celebration and occasionally confused critique of the everyday mess we work, rest and play in.

Significantly, if not explicitly connected to their gallery work, both Morton and Copestake are members of the band Muscles of Joy with six other women artists. They play Sneaky Pete’s to accompany the exhibition on 14 April. Sounds like a riot.

Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh until Sun 2 May

Victoria Morton

  • 4 stars

Fascinating celebration and critique of the everyday mess we live, work and play in.

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