Sue Spark - Confection

rarely adds up to more than an unsatisfying, confused glut of colour and shape

Article by Celia Sontag | 12 Nov 2006
Borrowing figurative elements from Baroque drawings, Sue Spark displaces these images onto a 'beautiful' ground, rendering the images in a rich, white impasto. These are then disrupted with floral motifs, abstract painted elements and coloured geometric forms. Spark's intention may be to 're-negotiate' the intent behind the original image, but in doing so her clumsy renditions of the source images destroy any figurative subtlety or nuance that the images may have possessed, rendering her works rather toothless. Furthermore, her desire to investigate the 'pleasure of looking' is rather negated by the fact that these are ugly works; the use of light pastel colours does little to mask Spark's rather limited understanding of colour and form. Spark's concept is an interesting one, but the pedestrian execution of the paintings mean that they rarely add up to more than an unsatisfying, confused glut of colour and shape. The drawings at least show that Spark has a decent grasp of draughtsmanship, but once again the daubs and splotches which pepper these images do little to set up the kind of dialogue which the artist had intended to create. Disappointing. [Celia Sontag]
Corn Exchange Gallery, Edinburgh until November 16. Free.