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