Mary Mary, Glasgow, until Sat 1 Mar
PRINTING, DRAWING AND PAINTING
It can be difficult to form a strong opinion about work that comes across as insubstantial and ‘bitty’. This may seem an obvious thing to say about the collages on show by Lotte Gertz at Mary Mary, in which the artist has used scraps of material such as thread and torn paper to create her compositions. But if drawing in its loosest sense is mark making, then these eight works on paper are drawings. In the face of this amount of approaches (papermaking, printing, sewing and painting), Gertz is wise to have reduced her symbolic vocabulary to a range of clunky symbols. The figure becomes a stick with a circle for a head, buildings are a series of schematic lines that delineate a ‘room’, and walls and roof joists are constructed out of painted reproduction of artist’s pastels.
Even although the viewer is faced with such a horde of materials and ways of tackling a drawn, sewn and painted print, Gertz occasionally manages to inject space, thought and lightness into work that could easily be dismissed as twee. Some of the watery and smoky areas on her compositions add weight and colour to work that could easily fall back into its constitutive elements. That said, there are two strong pieces in the show, namely ‘Passage (Time Misspent) I’ and ‘Passage (Time Misspent) II’. A stick figure is now a painted broken pillar with a clock-face for a head, standing, like the viewer, in empty rooms.