Victoria Crowe: Reflection
Rich but congested series of studies of Venice
This article is from 2010.
With so many shows in the Edinburgh Art Festival rigorously analysing the capital itself, Victoria Crowe’s show ‘Reflection’ offers an incongruous but welcome vacation from this theme. Instead of following the trends of site specificity or channelling the theatrical spirit that permeates the current climate of Edinburgh into her work, Crowe opts for a study of Venice, plundering its alternate history as inspiration for her subject matter and technique.
Her canvases are rich montages of images, comprising disparate art-historical symbols such as Gothic arches, Latin script and figures so archaically represented you assume they have been sketched from a Renaissance sculpture. The colore application of oils and warm palette of burnt sienna, occasionally cooled by bright cerulean blue, also points to knowledge of Venetian Masters, strengthening Crowe’s association to the city further.
Odd then that the show takes place at the Scottish Gallery and unfortunate too as, although the irony of name could be brushed off, the unsympathetic presentation of the work simply cannot. Reflection is far too congested and it becomes impossible to consume one painting without another irrelevantly placed piece accidentally creeping into the periphery. The overall harmony of the new works prevents this from disrupting the show too much, but it also exposes the main agenda of the gallery: to sell as much work as possible regardless of curation. With so many red stickers next to the pieces it is unlikely to be re-hung any time soon.
The Scottish Gallery, 558 1200, until 4 Sep (not Sun), free.