Girlpower and Boyhood

succeeds in exploring the grand, romantic vagaries of the imagination

Article by Lucy Faringold | 13 Oct 2006
Organised in collaboration with the Kunsthallen Brandts in Odense, Denmark, this marvellous exhibition explores "the human need for magic and escape" through the work of 21 international artists who are at varying stages of their careers. Eschewing fashion completely, the whimsical, visionary nature of this show flicks two fingers at the zeitgeist and confirms that visual art is at its most invigorating when artists fearlessly give their imaginations free reign. Kiki Smith's huge lithograph, entitled Born, plays with the story of Little Red Riding Hood – here she depicts the girl and another figure rising from the carcass of the Wolf. In execution and content it harks back to childhood – when associations ran more freely and the mind was more than happy to create its own exciting amalgam of meaning from whatever truths it may have seen or heard. Julie Roberts' small portraits also employ a fairy tale character, here depicting Sleeping Beauty in the style one may find in a comic book, but executing the image in thick, swirling oils – the effect being both stylised and elegant. The highlight of the show for me was Paula Kane's Echoes in the Trees, an idealised fantasy landscape that references traditional landscape painting, sci-fi imagery, and the artist's own imperfect memory of places. This is a truly sublime exhibition which succeeds in exploring the grand, romantic vagaries of the imagination. [Lucy Faringold]
Talbot Rice, Edinburgh. Now closed.