U Always Know the Right Thing to Say (3 stars)

Group show for emerging talent, including Jenna Bliss, Ash Reid, Bernie Reid, Darren Rhymes and Goth Tech

U Always Know the Right Thing to Say


This latest group show from long-established home to Edinburgh’s finest emerging art talent the Embassy promises that it’s ‘about friendship in relationship to networks, in real time and virtual spaces.’ How that translates in real terms is often nebulous, with Jenna Bliss’ film portmanteau ‘Bordering Homesickness’ offering perhaps the clearest indication. Undoubtedly loaded with self-referential lived experience, particularly for those who have sampled the art college life, it seems to document – mostly in silence or ambient sound – her own immediate surroundings of student flat and parties. It’s engaging but unfocused, particularly in relation to the significance of the laser beam which cuts the air in the room.

In fact, ‘unfocused’ is a charge which can be levelled at many of the works here, like Ash Reid’s provocative but half-finished feeling ‘I didn’t shave my pussy for this?’, a metal grate hung with items – a necklace, lemons in a bag of stocking fabric, cut-outs from a fashion mag – which gesture vaguely in the direction of a feminist context. Bernie Reid’s ‘rugs’, laser printed onto a canvas and the gallery floor, play convincingly with perceptions and expectations, while Darren Rhymes’ piece – a grey canvas reproduction of the Channel 4 logo alongside a text he read on the opening night – is shorn somewhat of context. If only Goth Tech’s ‘Happy Hour’, a drink-strewn table and accompanying video, had been in operation when we visited.

Embassy Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 23 Mar.


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