Portraits and Abstracts

A group show

Mary Scott

Mary Scott’s uncanny portraits comment on contemporary urban social realities and individual identity. The plasticine like figures sit proud or indifferently within cubed spaces, each reminiscent of reality, yet plastic in substance. The subjects comprise of strong tonal contrasts and smooth edges with calming backgrounds offering a mood shift in intention.

Left: Vladimir 2019. Right: Eurydice 2019

Simon Blau

Simon Blau uses abstraction and geometric forms to represent the striking link between materiality and immateriality. The artist studies the nature of painting as an action and the role of paint as an object to explore the space between an image and its surroundings. Here we see directly the artists trial of thoughts, intentions and decisions.

Right: #1 Balcony 2019. Right: Innocence of a Horse 2019

Both artists on display provide thought provoking and aesthetically interesting works here. Conversely, these ideas and aesthetics gets somewhat lost when the two artists works are blended together. There are no strong links (or juxtapositions) in regard to form, context and context, no matter how deep you investigate each work. The premise of “curated together for their contrasting styles” is just as feeble as the exhibition title “portraits and abstracts” itself.

Instead of digging deep and presenting fresh ideas from emerging artists, this exhibition seems content in parading the same old worn out cliches in predictable fashion. A shame given the exquisite gallery space that is Despard. This is not a blight on the two artist’s on display here. Pairing Mary Scott with Helen Hopcroft for example would create a cross over of visual narratives. As would the combination of Simon Blau and Zoe Grey’s abstracts. This is not the case for Portraits and abstracts unfortunately, a show that does not push the boundaries.

Review by PHANTASM