David Shrigley (3 stars)

  • List.co.uk
  • 27 July 2006

This article is from 2006.

Where the obtuse beauty of David Shrigley's drawings is in their rudimentary nature - they could be the doodles of an actively imaginative and possibly psychotic primary school child - this selection of engravings and woodcut prints suffers for a not unrelated reason.

It's hard to pinpoint exactly why this is. After all, Shrigley's muse doesn't exactly depend on a great deal of skill, more a singularly narcissistic sense of humour and an eye for incongruous images and slogans which hang well together. So the images here - a series of small, pale white etchings downstairs, a more formidable array of chunky brown and white woodcuts on the first floor - are aesthetically pleasing as sets, but don't manage to appeal individually.

Of course, Shrigley's fame is in his commerciality. But, unlike your average Jack Vettriano, the mere fact that Shrigley displays the attitude that art is what he wants it to be and not what his public demands endears him to the artistic community. So surely he gets to draw (or engrave) what he wants?

Indeed, but he cannot expect us to follow. Many of the pieces on display seem like ideas waiting to be finished or, indeed, waiting to begin. The lone microphone on a white stage, the blocky black handprint or poison bottle, each resembles an experiment in craftsmanship more than anything. One or two cute ideas emerge - stickmen bowing before their stickman God, an incoherent scrawl to represent the word 'drama' - but the best memory of this show is where form meets humour meets execution; an amorphous printed white rectangle, with the hopeful descriptor 'Refrigerator' beneath. (David Pollock)

Edinburgh Printmakers, until 16 Sep.

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