Water water everywhere with only a doodle to drink
This article is from 2011.
A river runs through Ingrid Calame’s work. But this river has been drained and all that remains are detritus and old stains. Somewhere between Google Earth screen grabs, weighty childhood nature books with their own illustrative key codes and fey graffiti lies Calame’s vibrant and polished body of work. It represents a journey towards that moment snatched from eternity with all its itinerant blemishes.
This exhibition of drawings and paintings from 1994-2011 kicks off with a bang. Her enormous 1997 painting ‘sspspss … UM biddle BOP’ is an amazing riddle of green and grey abandon that’s part Pollock and part bubbling sewer caught in the Los Angeles light. Tracing paper soon gives way to enamel paint on aluminium, however, with a series of Calame’s signature paintings. They are beautiful and baffling, the spirit of Rorschach threatens to make a parody of them but charm and chaos seem part of their very make-up.
Further in a shipping vibe takes hold. Simulated numbered steel sheeting that could have once been forged in the docks of Glasgow fill the walls alongside pencil works and studies like a half thought out proletarian pop art experiment.
Upstairs the light meets Calame’s beautifully tasteful etchings and scribblings. It’s all about the water metaphors, the river basins, the desalinated concrete troughs that cleave and cut through her native land. These are the tracings of a barge dwelling mad lady. Happy and serene in her liquidy grid lock. These are memorial maps to an old world that man has made new but not better.
Fruitmarket Gallery, 225 2383, until 9 Oct, free.