MIXED MEDIA Roderick Buchanan: Players

Players is Roderick Buchanan’s first major solo show in Scotland, and serves as an overview of his ongoing dialogue with sporting life.

Coast To Coast, Denistoun is a series of head—shots depicting boys and men sporting caps emblazoned with the insignia of the New York Knicks or Chicago Bulls. Work In Progress is another series of portraits, this time of Sunday League players adopting the regalia of Serie A. Both works pinpoint the role of sporting accoutrements as aspirational shorthand, as if appropriating the relevant apparel can somehow transfer the glamour of the big leagues into popping down the shops. Turnaround, meanwhile, sets its sights on patriotic allegiance, blurring national boundaries with dual screens showing English and Italian TV coverage of the same match.

Appropriately enough, Players is a game of two halves, as socio-political concern is matched by a dissection of sport's peculiar workings on the level of the personal. In Gobstopper, kids hold their breath, or try to, for the length of the Clyde Tunnel; in Sodastream we see nineteen bottles of cheap juice dropped and smashed. These private tourneys are balanced by Pe/oton a four-hour, stripped-down record of the Tour de France, editing out the excitement of sprint, hillclimb and chase in favour of the grim struggles of the pack and Deadweight, sculptural manifestations of the physical bulk of prize- fighters knocked out in the first round.

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This sporting life: Buchanan's exhibition of two halves

All these works seem to play up the sheer pointlessness of sporting activity, the arbitrary standards of success and the intrinsic hollowness of both victory and defeat. This is a celebration of the sheer joy of mindlessness, though, not an attack on the human kink that has otherwise rational grown men weeping when their team gets relegated, or striving to go further or faster than anyone has before.

In the end, Players demands repeat viewing thanks to Buchanan’s pitch-perfect simultaneous grasp of the intensely personal and broadly social aspects of sport, almost to the extent that this is a show about everything we do, not just the games that we play. (Jack Mottram)

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Blondes' photorealistic charcoal drawings

PAINTING & DRAWING Jeffrey Blondes and Tarka Kings

NWT-XE Shift: New Works By Alison Watt

Beautifully suggestive works