Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Alan Reid – An Absent Monument

Mary Mary, Glasgow
January 25-March 15

There's something missing from Alan Reid's second show of paintings at 
Mary Mary. Anyone familiar with the already hazy façades of the 
Texan-born artist's work will recall how much it has been dominated by 
the figure of a woman, aloof, enigmatic and as studiedly bored as a 
1970s 'Jackie' magazine mannequin, soft-focused, dappled pink and 
insipid. As the title of this new show points to, the lady has vanished 
 from the scene, leaving a trail of clues that suggests that she might 
in fact just be hiding.

“It’s an exhibition designed to convey an absent character,” Reid 
explains. “ A show without a subject. My previous shows used images of 
women extensively, so I thought it would be interesting to hint at her 
presence, without showing. Something like all those cinematic clichés 
of lipstick on glass, or a newspaper left on a park bench, or a bra 
thrown over a lampshade…The paintings are basically non-functioning 
clocks. A model’s face replaced by a clock’s face.”
Centrepiece of the show is 'La Notte (1961)', a three wall mural 
depicting the debris of things left behind; a moustache, a pair of 
glasses, a mask. These are hidden further when set against columns of 
giraffe spot patterns in a piece named after Italian auteur 
Michelangelo Antonioni's 1961 film about a disintegrating marriage.
Is the missing woman, then, the other woman, and where has she gone?
“The thing you have to understand,” Reid says, “what I’m involved with 
is both philosophy and a soap opera. I hope she hasn’t vanished 
completely. She’ll reappear. I’m dependent on the emotional potential 
of those images; they both educate me and loosen some calcified 
feeling. But making that work is a bear.

The List, January 2014

ends

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