Parasite Rex @ CCA, Glasgow

Rob Churm's solo show at the CCA stretches over video, a new comic book and dozens of drawings, lusciously cross-hatched and written with personal, erudite and rambling text.

Review by Adam Benmakhlouf | 05 Jul 2017
  • Rob Churm, Imaginary Magnitude, 40 various drawings, 2014-2017

Video, sound and drawings are combined at once in the first work of Parasite Rex, Rob Churm’s CCA solo show. Over the two walls, there’s a glitchy video-cum-animation as Churm is recorded overlaying drawings of skeleton parts, as a projector behind him beams a short-delay recording on top.

Across the room and into the next, the many drawings present diverse moments of close pattern, into which Churm envelops his small uniform handwriting, though sometimes emblazoning larger text. Small screeds ask 'What is line?' and half quote Paul Klee. Some of the heavier imagery (a baby and father wearing what look like gas masks) and existential implications are in places softened by informally, sometimes lyrically rambling text – including 'flying robot cars that swooped on me when I was still a child.'

One drawing has at its right and left sides the phrase 'spectrum properties,' then at its foot an emotive description of a lousy studio turning its occupant into a louse. These are the fringes of a vortex of thin black lines, cross-hatched marks directing and distracting a restless gaze.

In form, the show is read across dozens of works on paper presented on the wall, as well as flat and arranged across the entirety of two tables.  Over the drawings, the level of detail makes the the drawings vibrate; often they continue to swirl, or are drawn in crisp and overlapping lines, the different depictions of thick, moody foliage, or curlicues of smoke amongst unreal spaces made by interlocking grids.              

Representing an interest in communicative graphics, some works are actual posters or make clear reference to comic books. Consistently, expectations of communication or graphic forms are subverted, in their place fragmentary or esoteric references that are substantiated only (and strongly) often by thick texture, an atmosphere of dread or razor edge humour. 

Parasite Rex, CCA, until 9 Jul