Calum Colvin: The Magic Box
Mythical landscapes constructed from sculpture, painting and photography at the Edinburgh Art Festival
This article is from 2014.
Each piece by Calum Colvin is a treasure chest, a feast of detail, reference and delicate composition which invites the viewer to figure out precisely how he did it. Somewhere between sculpture, photography and painting (many of his works are photographs of blended sculptural and painted compositions), they build up their own language and atmosphere to the point of creating a mythological landscape in which to play. Specifically a Scots mythology, with Burns featuring on a pair of transparencies mounted in a viewer, and the ‘Pretender’ triptych, featuring Bonnie Prince Charlie gradually emerging from a classical background of columns and a model horse figure.
In their collaged complexity and the visually striking nature of their composition, it’s often difficult to get a handle on precisely where the thematic heart of Colvin’s work is, and they skirt close to the fringes of ‘Emperor’s new clothes’ territory in this regard. There are 3D images (with glasses supplied) and small transparencies mounted on a table for magnifying glass viewing, but only in ‘A History Painting’ does Colvin’s style truly come into its own as a hyper-modern analogue of the traditional Renaissance painting abuzz with playful technological enhancements.
Edinburgh Printmakers, 557 2479, until Sat 6 Sep, free.