Eskimo (4 stars)

This article is from 2008


New exhibition space warmed up by a fine group show

Having made their debut last Festival with a show at West Barns Studios, Polarcap return to East Lothian for this debut exhibition at Eskmills’ new gallery. Although the exposed roof beams give the impression that the gallery itself hasn’t actually been finished yet, it should prove to be a great space when it is.

The resulting group exhibition isn’t spoiled, however, although the curators’ taste for abstraction might foil it a little. Graeme Todd’s varnished acrylic paintings bear hidden reference to man’s first landing upon the moon, but they’re impenetrable and aesthetically less than appealing when viewed without this knowledge. Similarly, Kevin Henderson’s neon ‘The Forest of Pretty Things’ and Sam Keller’s video ‘Deeper Depression’, in which the artist waits for a flatbread with a smiley-face design to be cooked, are thematically slight.

Yet the majority of works are exciting. Michael Windle’s ‘Quartets’ – four old moving images layered over each other on a quartet of television screens – forms a kind of catalogue of dead modernity, while Gareth Fisher’s sculptures in tarnished bronze and plaster bear up to close formal scrutiny. Meanwhile, Trine Pederson’s paintings and sculptures (pictured) help to redress the balance of Polarcap’s faith in abstraction. The paintings in particular suggest at a variety of different objects, shapes and weights within them, but no one element is readily identifiable, forming a grand and unsolvable visual puzzle.

Across further collage and installation pieces, and a loaned work by Ian Hamilton Finlay, Eskimo proves itself to be a journey out of Edinburgh well spent.

The Gallery at Eskmills, Musselburgh, 273 4339, until Sun 31 Aug, Wed-Sun noon-5pm, free.


  • 4 stars

Scottish arts partnership Polarcap have curated the inaugural show at the new gallery space, inviting 14 artists, including Graham Fagen, Graeme Todd, Kuehne+Klein & Ian Hamilton Finlay to respond to the building's history. 'Part of the Edinburgh Art Festival'

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