Article by Leah Lovett | 14 Aug 2006

At this time of year, when a walk down the Royal Mile leaves you feeling like a well-chewed piece of gum, it can be difficult to distinguish the entertainers from the eccentrics. The characters peering out from the grimy paintings in Moyna Flannigan's current exhibition, 'well, Well,' at Doggerfisher are similarly bewildering. Squatting in the foreground of 'Lair', with a skull glaring up from the diarrheic shadows into her skirts, a red-nosed girl gazes at the floor. Her melancholy befits the harlequin's paint daubed about her eyes.

With burlesque wit, Flannigan's manhandled men (a hand from the gods dangles an unwitting fool above his shoebox stage in the eponymously titled 'well, Well') and coquettish girls wink to Goya, Hogarth, Bacon and Fellini. But her paintings aren't stuffy, and in one pastel drawing, a Burton-esque Salome offers us what looks like Margaret Thatcher's head on a platter. Although the sludgy, manipulating marks of Flannigan's paintings are suitably grim, the series of pastel drawings in the smaller gallery, for all their grotesqueness, are deliciously lively.

It is uncanny, too, that every one of these weird performers is alone, trapped in his or her one-person show with, at best, body-parts for company. Like the miniature portraits for which Flannigan has been lauded, these allegorical individuals are strangely and often uncomfortably recognisable – a parody and a picture of the antics outside their interior worlds. This show is an enjoyable reply to the frenzy of the festival, and well worth a visit.

doggerfisher (Tues-Sat), August 4 - 30 September, Admission: Free