Johanna Basford: Wonderlands
- Neil Cooper
- 3 June 2013
A retro-groovy, charmingly decorative array of faux Edwardiana
So Carnaby Street retro-groovy is the charmingly decorative array of Johanna Basford's faux Edwardiana inspired images that you can all but hear a wash of psychedelic harpsichords. To find a way into this first major show by the increasingly high-profile and cannily commercial Dundee-trained illustrator, one first has to navigate a maze-like forest of large-scale images of trees. Once inside, the plural of the show's title becomes crucial through an array of crowd-sourced woodland creatures and cuckoo clocks and prints with the word 'LOVE' emblazoned, all writ large in a series of baroque-curlicued black and white images.
Beyond the voguish (and indeed Vogueish) quasi-product placement in one of the smaller rooms, it's the larger than life work that really matters. The coffee-table-magazine friendly wallpaper is epic enough in its overwhelming ornateness. But the leaf-tattooed showroom dummies and the sailing boat on which a fanciful voyage is projected suggests an imagination that is already looking towards ever greater horizons in a way that remains idyllic without ever falling prey to tweeness. For that alone, Wonderlands is worth jumping down the rabbit-hole to see it in all its bright-eyed glory.
Dundee Contemporary Arts, until Sun 7 Jul