Monday, 3 June 2013

Johanna Basford: Wonderlands

Dundee Contemporary Arts until July 7
4 stars
You can all but  hear a wash of psychedelic harpsichords as you wander 
through this first major show by this increasingly high-profile and 
cannily commercial Dundee trained illustrator., so Carnaby Street 
retro-groovy are the charmingly decorative array of Basford's faux 
Edwardiana inspired images. To find the way into this, one first has to 
navigate through a maze-like forest of large-scale images of trees. 
Once inside, the plural of the show's title is made crucial via an 
array of crowd-sourced woodland creatures, cuckoo clocks and prints 
with the word 'LOVE' emblazoned, all writ large in a series of 
baroque-curlicued black and white images.

Beyond the voguish (and indeed Voguish) quasi product placement in one 
of the smaller rooms, it's the larger than life work that really 
matters. The coffee table magazine friendly wallpaper is epic enough in 
its overwhelming ornateness, but the leaf-tattooed showroom dummies and 
the sailing boat on which a fanciful voyage is projected behind 
suggests an imagination that is already looking towards ever greater 
horizons in a way that remains idyllic without ever falling prey to 
tweeness. For that alone, 'Wonderlands' is worth jumping down the 
rabbit-hole to see it in all its bright-eyed glory.

The List, June 2013

ends

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