Jonathan Owen's print and sculpture exhibition is a beguiling game of hide and seek
- Neil Cooper
- 20 April 2011
The nutcracker suite of small carved figures that form the modest centrepiece of Jonathan Owen’s discreet boudoir of a show appear to be hiding from themselves. The top half of one’s head is a fragile cage with a perfectly centred nut where the brain should be. Another nut, this time on a chain, fills the gaping and grotesque mouth of another. Tucked away behind closed doors, a dandified figurine resembles a regency-based Airfix constriction kit re-imagined by Dali.
The three works on paper come equally disguised. Vintage photographs of civic monuments in city parks have their focal points partially erased, so all that’s left are disembodied stone feet standing proud against the trees. In another, hands cling to tree-top branches as if some beast with five fingers had found a nest-egg. By rubbing out what’s topographically real, there’s a sense of eerie nostalgia and hauntological hide and seek at play as the past is manipulated by ghosts in the machine in a beguilingly metaphysical set of works.
Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sat 14 May.