Gareth Moore: Blocked Arch, Deferred Ceremony, Dawn Chorus, Tra-diddle da. Like a fly in slow suspense
Strong, thoughtful and well-made works somewhat ill-served by needless wrong-footing
Vancouver-based sculptor Gareth Moore seems to have spent his three-month residency at Glasgow Sculpture Studios making the most of the local discarded materials, and given the building’s location next to the Forth & Clyde Canal, he’s had plenty to work with.
‘Deferred Ceremony’ is an assemblage of detritus, from the frames of chairs to a couple of rusted old roadsigns, painstakingly placed around a knitted effigy like a ritual waiting to happen. It’s the care which makes it poignant, with a mobile of musical instruments fashioned from discarded plastic containers and garlands made from crisp packets, as if this was a post-apocalyptic future in which the last inhabitants of Glasgow eek out their lives amid the rubbish of the 21st century.
Evocative in a different way are the pots Moore has fashioned from local clay, bending it around found objects: a lager can, a paper cup from McDonalds. The hand-drawn faces suggest ritual vessels from a distant past, but intertwined with trash, they pose uncomfortable questions about what gives an object meaning or value.
The central work, ‘Dawn Chorus’, has a lighter touch: an assembly of animal hutches each with a funnel or horn, which suggests it might be about to speak. Apparently, Moore has been placing animals and birds in each of them to record sounds for a limited edition vinyl. However, if you visit on a non-animal day, you’re left with the feeling that you’ve missed the show, rather than appreciating the sculptural strength of the work in its own right.
Ultimately, Moore’s attempts to wrong-foot the viewer by blocking up the entrance and unite the show by sticking patches of coloured veneer on the walls are a bit of a distraction. The major works here are strong, thoughtful and well-made, and don’t need the help.
Glasgow Sculpture Studios, until Sat 7 Jun.