Andrew Kerr @ The Modern Institute, Glasgow

Andrew Kerr's solo show at The Modern Institute showcases his complicated semi-abstract landscapes

Review by Adam Benmakhlouf | 29 Mar 2019
  • Andrew Kerr, Installation view ‘Mist at the Pillars’, The Modern Institute, Osborne Street, Glasgow, 2019

Hung conspicuously low, many of these works – on paper, board and sometimes canvas – emanate the same subtle feeling of being at an unusual vantage that carries through several of Andrew Kerr’s latest paintings. For example, Bright Hook could be the corner of a roof detail seen from above – a shining oblong white shape is the paper left bare, and it gleams in comparison to the sfumato metallic muted blues and grey-purple top section.

Throughout the richly gestural small-scale compositions, the colour relationships are deliberately non-representational in most of the works, with purples, mustard and rusted pinks or reds usually butting up alongside each other.

But maybe the colours aren’t so imaginary. Outside the large window in the gallery, there are some old red sandstone railway arches with white scuzz growing on them, with green moss emerging where they meet the pavement. The ground is the blue-grey of a dusty paving stone. This view maps visually on to the overcast, postindustrial atmosphere of the foggy railway bridges in several of Kerr’s works. The paintings begin to swirl with time and rot and organic intrusion.

They seem to accumulate, as smokey texture is overlaid with daubed descriptions of a ledge, then a crisply drawn form. As in the work Corner, this is a rounded-off triangle with two antennae-like limbs. A small oval is just above and to the left. The paper is cut away, creating more of a sheer edge than in other works.

Cloud-gazing into the many different works, at moments they begin to coalesce into something like the landscapes seen in some damp on a wall. Many of the ambiguities speak to a sense of the liminal, the moment before shapes and forms coalesce into sense. At once, these are the renderings of a murky inner life but also the outside world through a subjective and unreliable lens. 

The Modern Institute, Glasgow, until 11 May