Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to eyeCONTACT, a forum built to encourage art reviews and critical discussion about the visual culture of Aotearoa New Zealand. I'm John Hurrell its editor, a New Zealand writer, artist and curator. While Creative New Zealand and other supporters are generously paying me and other contributors to review exhibitions over the following year, all expressed opinions are entirely our own.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Fleeting ripples

John Ward Knox: Toward a still life
Tim Melville Gallery (2 Kitchener St)
18 August - 12 September 2009

At Tim Melville’s - just across from Auckland Art Gallery – John Ward Knox presents one drawing and one relief sculpture. Collectively they make up an installation, interacting to create a third artwork out of their spatial and semantic relationship.

The relief sculpture consists of concentric ripples carved into a plaster wall and sanded so they look like sagging flimsy sheeting, held up by a row of five pins. They are raked with soft natural light coming in the window. The framed, mounted drawing is small, about two postage stamps high, and is on an adjacent wall parallel to the footpath.

Ward Knox’s image is created with black biro in such a delicate manner it looks like pencil, and seems to be quoting a scene from a film – possibly French. It shows a woman in a nightie caressing a bare-chested man lying in bed. We can’t see above his shoulders but the scene seems post-coital. Scattered throughout the drawing are dark specks made of gunk from biro-ink residue.

So how can we speculate about John Ward Knox’s choice of image here and how it might connect with biros and rippled sheets? Is the sheet a shroud, a reference to ‘a little death’, to the fleeting nature of desire that moves like winter light across a wall? Should we contemplate the transience of love, ponder over the spent secretions of a ballpoint?

Perhaps the energies underpinning making the drawing parallel carnal desire in its accelerated drive for completion. Maybe the suspended sheet is a veil for the veneer of love, the illusion of permanent happiness – a reference to melancholy.

Whatever the situation, this evocative nuanced exhibition is worth seeing. Its poetic layering stays with you, and has to be experienced firsthand. Images blown up on computer screens (like those above) don’t cut it.

Materials published

Ed. Sam Rountree Williams
Contributors: Matthew Crookes, John Ward Knox, Sam Rountree Williams, Mythily Meher, Nell May (Cover: Alexandra Savtchenko-Belskaia)
pp.20, b/w drawings
Newcall, August 2008
$5.00 (from Newcall directly)

Matters 2
Ed. Sam Rountree Williams
Contributors: Jan Bryant, Amy Howden-Chapman, Sarah Hopkinson, Andrew Clifford, Laura Preston (Cover: Alexandra Savtchenko-Belskaia)
pp.50, b/w and colour photographs
Newcall, August 2009
$10.00 (from Newcall directly)

These two Newcall publications are out just as a third (edited by John Ward Knox) is about to appear within the Newcall component of the next ARTSPACE show. The first one, a thinner, blue-covered booklet with no photographs, has apparently been out for a while. It is, apart from a Rountree Williams article on a Martyn Reynolds and Marnie Slater performance, mainly writing not linked to specific shows. The short texts are well chosen, all having not only informative content, but also a fluid sensual style – to be read for pure pleasure in itself.

In fact it is a superior publication in terms of writing to the second Matters which is technically more advanced with its coloured illustrations. Over the last two years I have read many texts by most of the first Matters contributors, and Rountree Williams presents them here at their very best. All the writing is pitched perfectly, and can be enjoyed over and over.

In comparison Matters 2 has three stand-out contributions: Andrew Clifford on the convoluted university procedural requirements behind the setting up of Window’s Various Artists exhibition, Amy Howden-Chapman on Fiona Connor, and Sarah Hopkinson on Richard Frater.

Clifford is a great art journalist (and excellent curator) who can effortlessly explain the most complicated art-political scenario in lucid language. Here he has a thorough understanding of the conceptual intricacies underpinning the enforced bureaucratic paperwork and manages to turn the various hoops the curators and artists (particularly Rountree Williams and Holly Willson) had to jump through into quite a gripping and entertaining yarn.

Amy Howden-Chapman on Fiona Connor’s Half The Page exhibition at Gambia Castle is another superb article where she discusses Connor’s research material and how this show of replicas came together, mixed with her own concise observations about newspaper display racks, their duplicates - and one’s thinking habits when encountering them.

Sarah Hopkinson’s article fascinated me because of the way at a certain point in her discussion about Frater’s work she admits some components of his Newcall exhibition So long the difficulties of being single cause misgivings. I admired the honesty of her ambivalence (it is extremely rare for curators to say such things) as she attempted to articulate the complexities and contradictions of her analysis.

The writing by Jan Bryant and Laura Preston I did not admire, simply because – irrespective of content and authorial candour - they should not be writing about shows they organised (or helped organise) themselves: in these cases, Broken Fall (AUT and Newcall) and Vincent Grocery (at Enjoy). It was irresponsible for Rountree Williams to include them, for their participation trivialises Matters and turns it into a public relations rag, much like an Air New Zealand magazine you read on a plane. It was a wrong call. Publications like this should avoid overt flag-waving by self–interested participants, and at least attempt a little objectivity.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Power or Inefficacy of the Word

Instructional Works
RM (295 K’ Rd)
20 August – 5 September 2009

This is a Fluxus style show (its spirit of dictated sentences is like that of say the works within Yoko Ono’s anthology, Grapefruit) where artists living outside Auckland send in instructions for actions - be they thoughts, object building or bodily movement - to be carried out by other artists and their friends. Fifteen individuals have contributed works that are conceptual in the sense of being held in the mind of their creators, to be then transmitted by typewriter (or word processor) to paper. These are hopefully then internalised by an audience. The typed word is the material here, even though it could be argued it is merely serving as a conduit for pure thought (if there is such a thing).

Thus there is a dematerialised feel to the show. It is deliberately low in sensory or experiential impact, and not really successfully competing with the other art venues grouped around it on Karangahape Road – if compete is what RM wants to do; and it may not. However many of these works don’t need a gallery to exist. The RM website would be a far more effective means of communicating them than having cards pinned to a wall or stacked on a table.

For example, Ian-John Hutchinson’s work involves slips of paper bearing names of murdered journalists or political prisoners. He invites you to recite their names individually for thirty minutes as a form of mantra, and I assume to perhaps later dig out more information about them. Elaine Tin Nyo requests you describe your favourite food and where and when you last enjoyed it. Here we have a collecting of information as well as an exercise in contemplation of taste sensation and memory, and also perhaps an incentive for further research.

Some thoughts have great impact through the mental imagery they generate, or the physical objects that come out of their comprehension. Daniel du Bern’s newspaper carpet glued to the floor gives you a recap over last month’s news as you walk around the space looking around your feet. Markus Degerman has recreated some of RM’s oddly aligned walls as a beautiful freestanding sculpture of plasterboard, wood and paint, while Amit Charan’s project presents a torch powered with Wellington sunlight, with a set of replacement batteries being charged up by the window from Auckland solar conditions for when it is returned.

Perhaps the more a visitor participates in a show like this the more they will get out of it – though that might be a tired platitude. Good art still is dependent on the thinking skills of artists, not their audience - and somehow this project by a group of artists seems lacklustre. There are not many carrots in the artworks to tempt audience participation, to make them want to do more than nibble – to take a big bite and get involved. Nothing here is distinctly memorable, though the Degerman wall sculpture is really intriguing, and the Charan torch clever. Nothing that really stays in the mind, that is hauntingly special and important.

In descending order, the above images are of works by Susie Pratt, Ian-John Hutchinson, Elaine Tin Nyo, Daniel du Bern, Markus Degerman and Amit Charan (2). Photos by Lauren Winstone.

The slippery slopes of political meaning

Peter Robinson - SOLD OUT: works from the 1990s
Gow Langsford
19 August - 12 September 2009

It should be obvious to all that re-examining Peter Robinson’s work from a decade ago brings benefits because of (and not in spite of) the many changes within his practice since. This exhibition of a small group of secondary sales can’t be seen in isolation from much later work like say that at Jar still publicly visible from a footpath in Morningside. Gow Langsford here allow us to speculate why via the Venice Biennial route of quantum physics, Robinson moved towards a more formalist, more material-oriented and experiential practice that is much less language-based - far from the double-edged, post-postcolonial critique of national (or, as in the case of much of this show, global) land sales shown here.

Some might consider Robinson to have ‘sold out’ with his ‘white’ polystyrene chain installations, yet there are connections to his future projects even in this show. Looking at this earlier work from an artist who has made works with swastikas and texts like ‘Pakeha have rights too’ and ‘Boy, am I scarred?’ it provides a semantic filter through which we can observe the ‘Pakeha’ chains ‘unbound’.

We can see the outrageously provocative layering of using black, red and white as both Maori and Nazi colours as part of his critique of commercial avarice to convey maximum uncertainty and personal ambivalence. We can ponder over the drawing in a NFS paintings of a ‘Ratana’ plane that (like a 4 in a ‘For Sale’ sign) could almost be a swastika. Such loaded ambiguities (another is an inverted Italy above a pound symbol) have similarities with the less confrontational blue duck/rabbit forms of his ARTSPACE ACK show, and the solid white polystyrene oval form at Jar, and its sister the linear chain link, that reference IO, the Maori Supreme Being.

The large crate ‘world’ with its empty centre leads to the quantum voids of Venice; the geographic leap from Aotearoa to Germany to later sequences of chains, their different sizes - and Robinson’s rapid shift from local to national to international to cosmic. Part of this is the flipping backwards and forwards between northern and southern hemispheres, the upside down and the upright, the high black and low white interest.

Gow Langsford’s website (and hand-out) provides an excellent interpretative commentary on the five works being resold here. A great opportunity to see these immensely metaphorical works once more.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Museum of Nuclear Waste

Nicholas Mangan - Black perils and pearls: Ed Grothus’ Doomsday Stones
Gambia Castle
22 August - 19 September 2009

Nick Mangan is a Melbourne sculptor and film-maker preoccupied with global politics and social/historical issues in the Pacific region. His short film at Gambia Castle presents the views of Edward Grothus (1923-2009), a machinist and technician who during the fifties and sixties was employed in the Los Alamos National Laboratory to aid the development of nuclear weapons. His work helped create bombs thirty times more powerful than those dropped on Japan in 1945. Grothus resigned in 1969 during the Vietnam War to become a peace activist.

Grothus died early this year of colon cancer, but Mangan’s film gives us a good look at his activities within the Museum of Nuclear Waste he set up in Los Alamos, and his attempts to erect in the township two ten metre tall, granite obelisks on Rosetta Stone-type bases bearing fifteen translations of a warning text. One metre wide, soccer ball-like granite spheres, showing the structures of nuclear fission, were to be placed on top of each column, and the obelisks’ sides bore anti-nuclear logos accompanied by aphorisms such as ‘one bomb is too many’, ‘always build; never destroy’ and ‘no one is secure unless everyone is secure.’

Mangan’s film is accessible and informative. I had never heard of Grothus and so I’m pleased I saw it. However it is a conservative approach to film usage and so very odd for Gambia Castle. It’s not particularly exciting in its use of the medium, but pragmatic. Out to save the human species from its own stupidity, so no interest in innovation. Educational.

Comment on (commenting) post below - from Chris.

Here is

Andrew Clifford on the Emory Douglas discussion. Here is the link he refers to - from the Village Voice.

What's in a Face?

Yvonne Todd: The Wall of Man
Ivan Anthony
26 August – 26 September 2009

When meeting any stranger for the first time - even before the mandatory handshake and icebreaking vocal greeting - how do we respond during that split-second interaction of eye contact, a flash within which we appraise each other’s facial physiognomy, demeanour, hairstyle and clothing? What preconceived notions kick in to overwhelm us initially, only to then perhaps be gradually adjusted or abandoned over the next few minutes or hours? And can an interpretable face ever be ‘natural’ without extras, cosmetic or surgical, anyway? Does such a ‘pure’ visage exist in reality, ever?

The Yvonne Todd portraits here are unusual in that they are all of men, middle aged to elderly, who are very formally dressed and thus ‘corporate’. To construct the photographs she has picked out models, chosen their clothing and organised various props, like fountain pens or leather sofas. Then she has picked backdrops, considered methods of lighting, and composed ‘career-status’ titles.

Yet these works are in a sense abstractions, formal not just in their tone or degree of solemnity, but also in their manipulation of visual dynamics. Many have strategically placed white hair, white collars and white cuffs, with glowing McCahonesque morning light emanating from behind their hill-like, besuited executive shoulders.

Others are conceptual clichés, Hollywood stereotypes: a Retired Urologist in dark glasses could really be a hitman from The Sopranos; his neighbour, a blue-eyed International Sales Director, is actually a professional gigolo and part-time porn star from Beverley Hills; the wizened ‘Mr. Magoo’ Hospital Director is in fact a fiendish Nazi medical ‘experimenter’ hiding in Argentina.

Apart from facial templates that could be fancifully derived from the entertainment industry, or more prosaic business models ubiquitous downtown, you can tell Todd has had fun picking out accoutrements like gorgeous silk ties and heavy shirt fabrics. She seems to enjoy the sensuality of these materials, almost for their own sake and not for sociological coding. And everything is believable - there is no satirical excess as is often found in her use of women models wearing voluminous apparel, oddball make-up or excessive wigs.

Perhaps though, the believability of these male business portraits is a problem. Even though some are large and unusually detailed compared to other studio photographs, chances are most people, even art lovers familiar with Todd’s practice, wouldn’t be able to pick her examples out from a selection of ‘normal’ images taken of prosperous individuals by other professionals. Her images of selected models blend so well into a pool of documented ‘authentic’ subjects that Todd seems to be shooting herself in the foot in this project. The work seems excessively bland. Unless she wants to be a hard-core conceptualist where the idea has priority over visual attributes, and optical qualities are not of value. That is a possibility, but one that I think – from looking at her track record - is highly unlikely.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Chromatic toxic syrup

Leigh Martin
Jensen Gallery
25 August - 2 October 2009

If you can imagine a Jules Olitski painting immersed in a vat of intensely saturated dye, or parts of the Shroud of Turin dropped into a viscous Dale Frank, then you get a little closer to experiencing the qualities of these Leigh Martin paintings - made out of super glossy yacht hull resin.

Through the six glistening surfaces of Martin’s six ultra-chromatic, variously sized works you can detect wispy strands of fog at the edges, gently glowing bleached auras in the middle, plus the odd vertical streaky brush line or murky group of dots. Examining them is a bit like going deep sea diving – in a sea of acid yellow, purply red or vivid lolly green. It is all very very still.

The big yellow ones you really feel you could step into, but some of the smaller works have a compacted but subtle density. As well as looking through their centres, you engage with their sides (lots of waxy encrusted drips round the back of the stretcher) and gently darker edges.

While these paintings look as if made from layers of very thin syrup at a confectionary factory there is a sense of toxic bloom (like poisonous algae) as well. Something slightly hideous that you can’t quite put your finger on, that beckons you closer – but which warns you to be cautious, despite its optical allure.

The Cost of Power

AC/DC: The Art of Power
Gus Fisher
21 August - 3 October 2009

This exhibition put together by Andrew Clifford looks at the role of electricity in our lives, and its attendant eco-politics. One might at first glance make the mistake of thinking it was about light (Bill Culbert is quite a presence) but its focus is on the benefits and negative consequences of power and the national grid. It is an interesting show because it allows Clifford to play with certain slippages of meaning, to calculatedly revel in ambiguities not present in some works when they were initially created (outside the electrical context) but present now. Such are the pleasures of being a curator.

Clifford’s title is clever. It comes from the two competing systems of current transmission invented by Nikola Tesla (Alternating Current) and Thomas Edison (Direct Current) and in the middle ‘courtyard’ space is a small yellow AC/DC Billy Apple painting. It examines not electricity and corporate power but the distribution of profit from an art selling transaction, referring to the Artist’s Cut and Dealer’s Cut within a Golden Ratio. Of course here in this show that meaning alters.

Another example of contextual alteration of meaning is the large Bill Culbert work with two large, vertical, nylon fabric boxes that gradually swap illumination levels. Light is treated like water being slowly transferred backwards and forwards between two tall glasses. Culbert’s minimalist oblongs look like the Twin Towers here, especially when placed near to a striking Joanna Langford installation of skyscrapers made from recycled computer keyboards. The keys are taken out so they look like Gustonesque windowed buildings. Electricity is present in the form of twinkling LED lights spread across the city at night.

The rhythmic electrical brain pulses from a sleeping human body take on parallels with this city when a 1972 snoozing Billy Apple is filmed in a semi-conscious state. Documented as an artwork having a very light sleep, a crackling soundtrack comes from recording his alpha waves. Apple’s body and mind here are on automatic pilot, but his partner Mary Morrison has a white neon sign next door that suggests a different principle. It flashes the word ‘breathe’ eighteen times a minute, instructing the reader to inhale at the correct rate to efficiently absorb oxygen. The use of blinking commands and the conscious will, bring a black humour to this body maintenance - with its reliance on orders via electricity.

The processes of providing this country’s electrical needs are referred to in Wayne Barrar’s two superb photographs of Huntly miners extracting coal for the nearby thermal station, Disinformation’s throbbing electromagnetic noise loop (accompanied by Barry Hale’s twitching video of power lines and insulators), and Brett Graham and Rachael Rakena’s eight circular Aniwaniwa photographs. The latter’s watery images show historic Waikato sites lost from the flooding necessary to create the Horahora Power Station and the displacement of local Maori communities like Ngati Koroki.

Joe Sheehan’s fake battery packs have battery casings made out of greenstone, greywacke or jade, sterling silver connecting caps and Craig Potton landscape imagery as backdrops. Entitled Non-Rechargeable they are an effective, very compact protest at resource wastage; an unusual yet shrewd synthesis of different media.

Two other works in the show are Mary-Louise Browne’s LED signs, moving texts based on her (in my view) superior granite inscribed word sequences. However these electronic noticeboards undermine her earlier method of presenting such texts where the eye is forced to move vertically to search for altered letters and extract each new word’s meaning; the LED format destroys the pleasurable eye movement associated with her original stone block format. Remarkable twelve word loops (like ‘cold bold bond bone bore born worn warn warm worm word cord’) work better as a single-word-wide vertical column than as six sets of pairs in a horizontal line.

Nicely organised, with each contributing component thoughtfully positioned, this unusual group show is well worth a walk down to Shortland Street to see.

Images in descending order are from Billy Apple, Wayne Barrar, Joanna Langford, Joe Sheehan (2), Brett Graham and Rachael Rakena (2)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Black Struggle for Self Assertion and Dignity: Graphic Art from the Front Line

Emory Douglas, Minister of Culture, Black Panther Party
Gus Fisher
21 August - 3 October 2009

One of the more unusual exhibitions for a university gallery, this show is part of the Elam International Artist in Residence programme currently hosting the Black PantherParty's Minister of Culture, Emory Douglas. Douglas is a graphic artist who in the sixties and seventies, when designing posters and literature for his local Oakland black community, also helped educate a hostile white audience, and later influence poster-design in Cuba and other countries. He is considered an important global propagandist for early Black Pride.

In an art gallery or museum setting like the Gus Fisher these works often look unsubtle and crude. However it must be remembered they were made during a state of war with the American police and American government, and so were primarily created for community newspapers, poster walls and flyers. Their message of counteracting racial hatred and poverty, and of raising self-esteem, needed to be understood quickly - and be an effective method of winning support.

In the small Gus Fisher exhibiting space Douglas’ muted coloured newspaper images look impressive as a total arrangement. One wall has a single huge glued–up work that is a hybrid of several other smaller posters; another has 12 printed mounted pages (image with text, often with smaller min-images inserted within badges or spectacle lenses); and a third has 5 big posters (each 9 times the size of a standard page). Most of the time the printed faces and figures look like they are from the sixties, having the flattened heavy contours that you get with a lot of, say, Beatles or Haight-Ashbury posters. A few look as though they come from fifties book illustration by Social Realist artists like Ben Shahn.

Many images have radiating sun-beams as backdrops, a reference perhaps to Russian Communist images of farm labourers toiling out in the open fields. Often Douglas has taken images of singing women from books on negro spirituals and combined them with hard–hitting texts from political theorists or sayings from Panther leaders like Huey Newton, Bobby Searle or Eldridge Cleaver. On other occasions his images pour scorn on the police as murderous ‘pigs’, attack poisonous pesticides, greedy slum landlords, or American foreign policy – ideas which though radical forty years ago are commonplace now.

If the show has a weakness it is that it doesn’t tell us enough about Douglas’ pre-Panther art training, and how he acquired his graphic skills. It also doesn’t provide a twentieth century art historical context, comparing him with other related activist artists, like Heartfield or Grosz for example. A fascinating (inspiring and disturbing) time capsule nonetheless.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mish mesh

Group show: Mesh
Antoinette Godkin
5 August – 29 August 2009

The ten artists that make up this group show are a mix from Antoinette Godkin’s own ‘stable’ and artists from her adjacent neighbour gallery City Art Rooms – so ‘Mesh’ as a title reflects a blending of these two resources. Many of the abstract works selected seem to indicate Godkin’s own taste for holistic images with an overall ‘field’ composition. However there are figurative works included (photography and watercolours), and others where abstraction/figuration are self-consciously combined.

Godkin’s and Young Sun Han's curation is obviously eccentric: there is little thematic unity in imagery or method. That doesn’t really matter for this is an array of samples – an assortment to be dipped into.

There is some unusual photography. High in one corner Lisa Benson has three delicate geometric ‘drawings’ on light sensitive paper, two of which are fixed, the other not - it keeps changing as the show progresses. Jennifer French has two images quite unlike the static documentation she is known for: two Futurism-like studies of a moving rock guitarist taken in artist Peter Roche’s club The Ambassador. They are textured in their dense use of blurry motion to create densely patterned traces, making the musician look like a nautical monster from a Sci-Fi film.

Clinton Fein has used models and props to recreate the notorious photos of detainees being tortured by American soldiers at Guamtánamo Bay Detention Camp. Infused with a red light these disturbing works are noble in intention but trite in concept – as if a narrative built around moral indignation is in of itself a prerequisite for sophisticated art.

The three sensitively nuanced watercolour works by Brenda Nightingale feature both a horizontal and a vertical format: the horizontal row focussing on images of murder and mayhem; the vertical column on more Rodinlike figure studies. Oddly the latter have a sense of compression and formal drama, whereas the former seem dissipated in their looser placement of elements.

Of the holistic works mentioned earlier, Lianne Edwards’ pinned butterflies cut out of used postage stamps is unfortunately similar to Peter Madden in its method and content, despite him not being interested in stamps at all. Monique Jansen has an exquisite pencil drawing based on a complex grid structure that maintains a strange tension throughout, while Matthew Dowman’s softly mottled patterns seem akin to fabric design or Mark Tobey, without much sense of focussed dynamic. Gill Gatfield’s ‘fields’ of magnetised pins use chance and look like fields, literally. They are a stainless steel version of cut grass or spiky straw, and oddly creepy with their sense of chilling menace. A high industry version of Pollock perhaps.

The strangest work in the exhibition is Davide Balliano’s treatment of pages taken from very old art history books, that feature reproductions of Flemish and Italian masters. In a manner connected to John Baldesarri’s film photographs he has placed black circles over the subjects’ faces and ruled downward vertical parallel lines. He has also covered over portions of clothing so that these mysteriously surreal hybrids tease viewers with scholarly aspirations.

The Jansen and French images in this exhibition are standouts. Worth making a small pilgrimage to Lorne Street for.

The above images, in descending order, are from Benson, French, Fein, Nightingale, Edwards, Gatfield and Balliano.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gorman and Leigh

Esther Leigh & Kristy Gorman: Into the wilderness
Snowwhite, UNITEC
17 August – 11 September 2009

This double show of two teaching staff at UNITEC is an odd presentation in the way it displays studio research. Somehow the pairing doesn’t gel - even though both artists are known for tendencies at times ‘minimal.’

Esther Leigh uses collage here to develop notions explored elsewhere in her well-known ‘foggy’ images of papier mâché ‘landforms’ photographed through frosted glass. She has photographed her props (polystyrene this time I think) on a glossy floor. They look like icebergs or chunks of packed snow. She has then cut these photographs into strips and restuck the eleven horizontal bands on to paper with Sellotape. These then were photocopied to make four drawings.

The wrinkles, folds and small bubbles of the slightly dark Sellotape add an icelike element to the floor under the props, while the parallel bands bring in a reference to the glossy gallery floorboards. It’s a clever idea where the images seem like the ice, to be decaying. Leigh’s work is worth a trip to Snowwhite to see.

Kristy Gorman is known for her understated ‘paintings’ of paper perforated with tiny holes – often circles of radiating lines or concentric patterns. Here she shows works on watercolour paper: two linear green ink drawings of angular, textured, overlapping shards and three studies with watercolour wash. Two delicate pink works are of vague torsos or portions of a body. The work seems too insubstantial and unresolved to bother presenting in a gallery.

Yet there is one treat within what is in essence a half-hearted display - a small Suprematist watercolour of nine overlapping grey bands of different lengths, widths and angles. It is like a tiny Malevich made by Michael Harrison and is unnervingly nuanced and precise. This one work by Gorman generates real energy and excitement. Here she is not doodling absentmindedly but actually controlling the compositional dynamic of her forms. With a wonderful result.

The two images above are from Esther Leigh's Idle Fleet # 1 & 3 , 2009, sellotape and ink on paper