Meat Hook @ ECA
Forget Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and the rest of the middle-aged ‘Young British Artists’. If you want to know what the rising stars of the art world are up to take a look at the ECA’s latest batch of fourth year students. But, dear reader be warned! The thing with a student show is that, in the immortal words of Forrest Gump, “You never know what you're gonna get.” And, as was the case for Forrest, this is both a blessing and a curse.
Venture inside Lauriston Place and it is hard not to get caught up in the creativity of it all; intriguing smells like burnt rubber and oil paint mingle with the sound of electric saws and the occasional blowtorch, all tantalisingly hidden behind studio doors. This is the heart of the artistic process and it promises a lot. It’s raw and unpolished, so don’t expect a pristine ‘white cube’ with convenient curatorial explanations and thematic layouts.
The highlight of this confused and confusing show is undoubtedly Ruth Nicol’s vast abstract landscape painting which displays an interesting contrast between the very formal language of architecture and geometry combined with the sheer joy of painting. Similarly Charlotte McDonald and Calum McClure present vibrant depictions of the natural landscape, hinting at the return to favour of the painted canvas in contemporary art.
However, for every caramel soft-centre in Forrest’s box, there is always the odd coffee flavoured mess. These include a badly drawn Chinese waving cat and a cardboard robot. Art stars of the future? Perhaps. An interesting half hour sheltering from the January cold? Definitely. [Ben Bennett]