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Echo and Transcend

GOMA until 2010
3 stars
‘My paintings are a song to colour,’ writes John McLean (not the artist and ex Beta Band member also of that name), whose ‘Hunter’ forms part of this group show designed to show off some of the best abstract art (whatever that means these days) culled from Glasgow’s own collection alongside one or two significant loans. The fluidity of music pulses through much of the work in a show whose title is talked up along the lines of ‘Some of the works on display echo reality, while others transcend it.’

Which is fine, especially in Alan Davie’s clearly of its time 1960 piece, ‘Cornucopia,’
with its conscious references to Jazz and Zen, its colours mixing and matching free-form solo improvisations ad nauseum. Elsewhere, Op art queen Bridget Riley’s large-scale candy-striped constructions flank the gallery’s central boulevard, while Eduardo Paolozzi’s Japanese-inspired sculpture, ‘Hamlet In The Japanese Manner,’ is a riot of
adventure playground climbing frame colours.

All the work on show stands alone just fine, but there are times you wonder how any of it fits in with a central thesis which could be applied to all art. It’s not that there aren’t brilliantly evocative pan-generational displays on show, just that collectively it’s neither definitive or focussed enough to suggest any real common ground. Running for the next year in what feels like a conversely flattened-out environment, as with McLean’s work, ‘Echo and Transcend’ feels too much at times like it’s going for a song.

the List, January 2009



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