Sunday, 17 July 2016

Jennifer Bailey – Will I Make a Good Father, Mother, Sister?

Collective Gallery, Edinburgh until September 4th
Three stars

There's a deeply personal sense of uncertainty at the heart of Jennifer Bailey's new show, which forms part of the Collective's Satellites Programme 2016, designed to promote work by emerging artists based in Scotland and showing as part of Edinburgh Art Festival. This is explicit in the enquiry contained in the title, and is made even more so by the print stretched out across an entire wall that takes its lilac colour scheme from an old-time John Bull printing kit.

While its patterns resemble the sort of flowchart favoured by management training types, its words refer to the everyday contradictions between work, rest and play, a serious concern for Bailey's generation, many of whom work two or three jobs to make ends meet. On another wall, a head and shoulders photograph of Bailey's sister resembles a byline shot for a works magazine or a security pass dangling from a lanyard. Next to it, three small ceramic sculptures are miniature expressions of the infinite pressure to clamber up the battered ladder of success. Dissected, collected, archived and rubber-stamped in this way, life and art intersects in an all too real meditation on making it in every way.

The List, July 2016

ends

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