Open Dialogues @ RSA

Review by Franchesca Hashemi | 25 Aug 2014
  • Ernesto Canovas, Unreversed

Featuring six newly distinguished names as an ode to New Contemporaries' six years in existence, the Royal Scottish Academy teams up with GENERATION to deliver Open Dialogues.
Ernesto Canovas uses layers of oil and varnish to create two large paintings on canvas. Both formats show a gradual dissolution of colour as starry blues, blacks and purples dominate one side and warmer pinks and oranges rage then fade into the other.

The darker, moodier canvas's middle section is reminiscent of a spec from Mars, enlarged through ratio and left unfocussed. Not quite ethereal but in keeping with the spacey swirls of the resin-oil motion.

Adjacent to Canovas are the equally dreamy paintings from Eva Ullrich. Her five formats are absorptions of landscapes and environments. The tonal quality of Ullrich’s abstract works differs immensely, sometimes mellow and pale then suddenly rich with steely greys and copper flashes.

Interestingly, Geri Loup Nolan also reflects on serene settings as one video shows an Irish connection. All the media interconnect, especially the larger collage-prints showing graphic images of travel and skylines. Nolan's largest piece, a dishevelled studio hiding at the very corner of RSA’s gallery, can almost be mistaken for an actual workspace.

Across the hall Nigerian-born Ade Adesina's black and white etchings stem from his native country where the brutality of modern development tears and rips through the wildlife and jungles.
The final two artists, Johnny Lyons and Stuart McAdam, choose similar media to exhibit their work: video installations, photography and progressive notes or objects that outline their process. Both artists exude a refreshing Scottish humour, particularly McAdam's satirical cartoon of the 'bloody artists.'

Lyons' footage however shows him inhaling smoke from a gun while standing topless in a forest. Beneath the captured shots, a DIY bomb straddles the floor and neatly ignores the pedantry of political correctness. [Franchesca Hashemi]

RSA, Edinburgh, until 31 Aug