Scott Myles - Askit (4 stars)

Scott Myles - Askit

The Modern Institute, Glasgow, until 13 Oct


It would be wrong to immediately dismiss the new work on show by Scott Myles at the Modern Institute at first glance, as your initial aesthetic reaction will be incorrect. It may seem overly dramatic to say that the painted sculptures are not as ugly as they first appear to be - it is also true that instantly ‘attractive’ art isn’t necessarily as beautiful as it first appears to be. These pieces resist selling themselves cheap like whorish art objects, they resist this easy absorption and confirmation of one’s unquestioned taste.

The main gallery space is cut into by four painted flat rectilinear forms, attached to the walls by their edges, wing-mirror style. These floating sculptures are covered on both sides with a marbled screen print technique, in colours ranging from deep inky blacks to violent pinks. The application of paint to a post minimalist sculptural surface brings with it a range of dull theoretical problems that help purists dismiss the work of Caro and drool over Judd, but this heavy baggage is stepped over by Myles. The artist plays with ideas of artifice, reflection and illusion, in relation to the surface as formalist battleground, but does not feel the need to wave flags or make bombastic conceptual statements. The work is not light, exactly, but there is s sense of play and experiment rather than an oppressive atmosphere of high seriousness.

It is difficult to get a mental hold of the revolving, screen-printed perspex bookshelf (is it a humourous comment on the fact that many of Myles pieces look like fixtures and fittings?) but the work in the next room moves away from this spinning daftness. The small, easily toppled painted bronze pillar acts as both a fascinating attractor and a repellent: the blank blue-grey surface attracts, the fact that the structure is cast bronze manages to repel. This is also true of the supine painted bronze chair, next door. The art historical question that examines if one can metamorphose the everyday into high art through utilising expensive materials is an old gilded chestnut.

Scott Myles: Askit

  • 4 stars

New set of works that recontextualise ordinary objects (Askit powders), literary texts (Sterne's 'The Life and Times of Tristram Shandy') and works from the artist's own oeuvre.

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