Jock Mcfadyen: the Ability to Cling (4 stars)

This article is from 2012

Jock Mcfadyen: the Ability to Cling

Small but revealing exhibition of paintings and sculptures

‘The ability to cling fastidiously to an image is a pointer to the mark of a true artist,’ runs the slogan which gives this exhibition its title on one of the Paisley-born McFadyen’s earlier schematic works. Over the small but revealing display of work shown here, the slogan becomes almost a mission statement. The bulk of the paintings on display are landscapes of a striking depth and resonance, with McFadyen seemingly as entranced by the grime of well-worn modernist architecture as he is an array of new and previously unrecognised views on the everyday.

His use of colour and tone is bold and dazzlingly realist, adding an almost photographic aesthetic sharpness to images like the deserted Aldgate East tube station, an oddly pink-painted wall of council flats or a cable hung between two office blocks, the title ‘Cable Street’ suggesting historical context which is absent from the crisp banality of the painting. He presents beautiful but almost impudent juxtapositions of a row of beach huts or a French supermarket buried and small under vaulting skies and a wall of graffiti bearing the legend ‘Kill Matthew Barney’. The show also features a small number of paintings and sculptures, which reflect an almost Howson-esque ability for grimy portraiture, reflecting a variety to McFadyen’s work that is clearly crying out for a larger-scale retrospective.

Bourne Fine Art, 557 4050, until 15 Sep (not Sun), free.

Jock McFadyen: The Ability to Cling

  • 4 stars

A major retrospective of the gritty work of Jock McFadyen, from the figurative works of the 80s through the 90s' lovingly detailed pictures of grungy buildings to the more recent small-scale nudes. Part of Edinburgh Art Festival.

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