Cathy Wilkes (3 stars)

Minimal installation by Northern Irish artist explores positioning of objects

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Cathy Wilkes

Viewers to the Northern Irish artist’s latest exhibition are met with a fairly minimal installation in the Modern Institute, of roughly made dolls, old cross-stitch patterns strewn across the gallery floor and naive little paintings around the walls. The proportion of the objects and their arrangement in the space is child-like and seemingly careless, but the stained and mildew-covered surfaces are at odds, immediately repellent.

Wilkes describes her work as an intuitive process of assembling and positioning objects, in order to create dialogues between them and show a frailty of materials. Through this she tries to draw out a poetic meaning beyond the physical objects. But this takes a long time to acclimatise oneself to seeing – at first, it’s just a grouping of dirty cloth and dolls, and many people could struggle to get anything more from it. Given time, however, there is something mysterious in Wilkes’ arrangements, which keeps you thinking about them. Eventually, and quite disconcertingly, you do find yourself inventing little narratives, back-stories and worlds, if only to justify spending so long looking.

The Modern Institute, Glasgow, until Sat 24 Nov

Cathy Wilkes

Northern Irish artist's first solo show in Scotland since 2008, featuring installations made of sculptures, ready-mades and paintings.

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