Visual Art

INSTALLATION FOUL PLAY: CLAIRE BARCLAY Doggerfisher, until 17 Sep 0...

Claire Barclay has long made work that rests on tension. In the past, this tension has been between her chosen materials, with the carefully crafted rubbing up against the raw; the artificial working against the natural.

Foul Play, as the title suggests, takes this tension further. Two oak structures lean against the recess of the skylight in the centre of the gallery, ready to fall. One teeters on the brink of spinning away from its resting point, but the slight weight of a length of silk draped over a tubular crossbar keeps it in place. The other swaps impending catastrophe for outright menace. Two interlocking beams form a lopsided cruciform, with split wood drawn together by a twisted loop of hide. Like its neighbour, this work looks like it might collapse into splinters, but, taut like a strung bow, the thing also threatens to attack.

On the floor below, a half-tanned hide, crisp and discoloured, has been precisely cut, leaving circles and holes, possible targets for the bow above. On top, a stumpy black telescope sits, waiting.

If the two central sculptures hint at weaponry, a third is more explicit. The cantilevered structure is like some forgotten piece of war-making paraphernalia a petard, perhaps, or a catapult but the tubes tucked behind it are clearly modelled after gun barrels, and green baize linings insinuate the armoury into the gallery.

After all this, the two pairs of prints on show in Doggerfisher’s second space are something of a relief. Both are deconstructions of the houndstooth check. The first pair, ‘Houndstooth (Black)’ pairs a rough-hewn take on the pattern with a thorn motif, while ‘Houndstooth (Red)’ dissolves the check with feathered edges. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security, though back in the main gallery, it’s still a case of one wrong move and you’re dead.

(Jack Mottram)

FILM DARIA MARTIN Collective Gallery, until Sat 24 Sep .00.

‘Man and Mask' is a film about film. Shot on ltimm and soon to be screened in commerCIal cinemas. Daria Martin's work celebrates a medium on the cusp of obsolescence by comparing it to another. ceramics. lhe short piece opens by cutting from the revolutions; of a potter's wheel to spooling film. and matching Cylindrical pots firing in a kiln With hanging strips of celluloid. Martin is not quite in thrall t0 nostalgia. though.

The first sequences compaiing an ancient craft to more contemporary image— making are lull of the sort of iaunty cuts that liven up dull educational films. suggesting a lengue-iii-cheek celebration more than a parting ode. When the man and his mask fill the frame. the locus shifts. but the twmning of old ways and new continues. A series of masks are pressed to the anonymous man's lace then pulled away. revealing expressions that are no less artificial than the painted clay. Here Martin seems to suggest that the wearing of masks and the acting of roles are one and the same. lhe sell consciously primitive masks. moulded by Martin herself. give way to haminy ti‘avesties of emotion. a mime that ties Shamanic channelling to the histi'ionics of silent cinema. this odd ambivalence at the heart of ‘Man and Mask'. celebrating cinema while coining close to lampooning it. gives the film weight conjuring a dense meditation on celluloid Cinemas past and future out of a few short minutes of film itself. i.Jack Mottram)


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MIXED MEDIA LOW-Fl Stills Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 2 Oct 0..

This isn't so much an exhibition as an interactive multimedia enVironment. Each of the artists displaying as part of the Stills' Festival group show works intensively with the internet. and so their work isn't fully understandable until you get your hands dirty and play with it. Even then. details of various web addresses which run alongside each installation invite you to interact With each remotely alter yOu've left the gallery.

One Such case in point is Kate Rich's ‘Feral Trade'. Accessible Via a PC in the gallery. it's an online tracking system for goods ordered and delivered Via social networks'. That is. generally. through public transport. the first example of this feral trading being from a coffee farmers' cooperative in El Salvador to the Cube Cinema in Bristol. This is now a regular trading rOute for the farmers. and the installation in the gallery allows both tracking of an online order and a heightened awareness of such a potentially contentious item‘s origins.

Elsewhere. Cavan Convery's ‘Vertical Scroll' recontextualises modern day events as a series of hard drive—stored hieroglyphs and cave paintings. attempting to bring visual communication full Circle. This context of globalised commuiiication is a popular one here. With Mauricio Arango‘s ‘Vanishing Point‘ recasting the world map by which country receives the most media coverage. and James Coupes ‘The Difference Engine' searching the internet for pages based on four random and continually changing words inputted into Google.

All of which may well seem rather obtuse. but they also offer new perspectives on our shortsighted ability to take the most wondrous inventions for granted. (David Pollock)

-‘ml '~”““'llt-“l‘Fliif'll‘flll‘i W "‘2 “l- “3’35 hermit) m2 iii-ii WM u. " rm. I’M wt Detail from Mauricio Anna’s ‘Vanlshlng Point'