X (Group show)
Recoat, Glasgow, until Wed 2 Jul
The title of this group show in the intimate space of Glasgow’s Recoat shop-come-gallery is a reference to the venue’s tenth show, but it also suggests a lot about the work on display. There’s no apparent thematic through-line to the exhibition, but each of the featured artists has a bold and contemporary style which becomes their signature.
Perhaps the best-known, at least locally, is Kirsty Whiten, whose ‘The Council’, ‘Hareem Scene’ and ‘Horsebreaker’ diptych paint pictures of new rave-attired parents watching over devilish children and a man being tied up and strangled by a young woman. Whiten’s characters are rough, yet they appear in elegantly corniced frames as a subversion of the more classical forms they imitate.
Graffiti-themed art also dominates the predominantly pseudonymous show, from the neatly constructed, glitter-covered tags of Gazmac to Rekor’s rather advertorial painting, ‘Big Time’. Swampdonkey’s ink works, ‘The Haunted Organ’ (Pac-Man ghosts rise from the titular instrument) and ‘Hairy Bones’ (which depicts a strange new creature, half man and half mammoth), are solidly imagined.
As engaging as many of these works are, however, very few of them reveal a formal thought process. Other than Whiten, only Ejek’s ‘Over 1000 Tags’ succeeds in this deeper respect, a brew of the artist’s signature sprayed on board over and over again until it becomes prettily but uselessly illegible.