There seemed to be a missing link which prohibited the works from being anything more than a documentation of varying landscapes
This exhibition is based on a trip made by MacColl across the fringes of the North Atlantic, in search of Gaelic communities. The artist's intention was to see how far a Gaelic identity has been preserved in places like Nova Scotia, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. A worthwhile concept, but one I felt was totally detached from the actual artwork produced. Yes, the images referred to the places visited by the artist, which can be seen most clearly in the small preliminary pencil sketches, but there seemed to be a missing link which prohibited the works from being anything more than a documentation of varying landscapes. From the initial pencil sketches, MacColl produced large boards showing the different landscapes. Here we see a rich mixture of texture and subdued hues. Grainy earth tones are interrupted with a swoosh of iridescent turquoises and in some cases objects found on site, such as chunks of wood and a matchbox are used in the works, in a Boyle-family-esque manner. What we have here is an interesting idea that is accompanied by equally interesting artwork. However, the niggling problem that remains is the fact that two can only really be appreciated separately. [Jennifer Felton]
Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh until July 2. Free.