New Work Scotland Programme: Nicolas Party & Catherine Payton (3 stars)

A series of site-specific works from two very different artists

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New Work Scotland Programme: Nicolas Party & Catherine Payton

For the second instalment of the New Work Scotland Programme, artists Nicolas Party and Catherine Payton provide the Collective with a series of site-specific works. However, this manipulation of the gallery space is where the similarity between the pair ends. A charcoal still life, drawn directly onto the wall and framed by jarring orange and blue dashes of paint is Party’s explicit enquiry into the language of painting. The bold endeavour, which invests new meaning in a familiar art-historical motif through a new overstatement that almost swallows it up, contrasts with Payton’s nuanced selection of works.

Payton’s starting point is a screenplay adapted from a book by Martin Heald, a man she believed to be a reincarnation of her great uncle. The script, entitled ‘Destiny’, is stacked on a desk in the centre of the room with a series of props surrounding it. A grotesque severed arm is the most memorable, becoming comical in its artificiality upon closer inspection. Footage of Payton dancing in the space is also deliberately rudimentary but the ‘blinks’ that fragment the narrative are a complex nod to the ‘fades’ that continually pierce the script. Behind a locked door a flock of restless birds chirp, providing a bizarre soundtrack to a stage set that is impenetrable without reading the screenplay.

Divided into four acts, it seems unlikely that all who attend the show will do so, but whether this criticism should be levelled at Payton or her audience, is open to debate.

Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 6 Feb

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