Lorna Macintyre, Mary Mary, Glasgow, 20 January – 23 February 2007.
Review first published, ‘a-n’, March 2007.
The windy press release for this solo exhibition floats the idea that Macintyre is once again preoccupied with the ‘liminal’ space between the spheres of nature and culture. Yes, there is evidence enough by virtue of buildings, leaves, copper, wood, conkers, shelving and photographs to convince the viewer that this ‘space’ is where Macintyre centres her initial attention. But there is likewise evidence enough of something subtler and altogether more beguiling at work, something which does more than confirm an off-the-peg conceptual legitimation.
This extra dimension is to be glimpsed literally and metaphorically through a leitmotiv of the exhibition – the circle. Through various ’roundels’ we catch sight of elements of both nature and culture lingering at the end of our given viewfinder. For example, Specular Composition 2 (2007) includes a surreal-ish wooden circle upright on a shelf. This object can be used to survey and frame the folding screen installed in the first gallery space. And this object plays with the device as well.
Decorated with doctored photo-images of Degas’ famous ballet dancer figurines, Such Objects Do Not Occur in Nature (2007) is a five-part miniature screen positioned on the floor to greet you on entry. TheAlice-in-Wonderland-esque apparatus pictures aspects of Degas’s figures within compass-drawn circles as if these circles represent the natural extent of our cultural fields of vision.
Is it not quintessential to our encultured nature, Macintyre wonders that we can only know the world partially in this kind of way – and on this poetic philosophical count Macintyre excels. A genuine eeriness pervades Mary Mary because all exhibits give a sense of there being much more just off camera; things and people not yet seen, uncircled. All told, this is a strange and stylish exhibition which certainly bears looking at, even if not reading about.