Niall MacDonald and Jim Ramsey - That Old Subtle Foe
points towards several preoccupations, neatly sidestepping any chance for proscriptive interpretation
Art sometimes requires a leap of faith, a willingness to engage with indefinite combinations, mysterious symbols and somehow emerge with all the ambiguities reconciled. The objects in this exhibition appear like poetic images, shorn from context with their signifiers pointing all over the place. A framed white door, mysterious and fragile, occupies the gallery space, propped up precariously by a long, white beam and evoking narratives like Jacob and the Angel whilst simultaneously eluding any clear interpretation. Perhaps a clue lies in the picture of the artist as pope, which looks like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, which asks you to imagine the artist as leader of the faithful or, perhaps, the grand artificer of arbitrary meanings. It's difficult to know with this exhibition. The Old Subtle Foe, a line taken from a John Donne poem, points towards several preoccupations, neatly sidestepping any chance for proscriptive interpretation. There are several beautiful, arcane works in the show, in particular a white cast that turns out to be a representation of a whale vertebrae, which all ask you to question, to dare an interpretation and to believe, where possible, in your own small understanding. [Jasper Hamill]
The Project Rooms, Glasgow, Until July 3. Free.