Saturday, 16 May 2009
They Had Four Years 2009
They Had Four Years, the annual exhibition of Duncan of Jordanstone graduates a year on from qualification, has by now established itself as a hardy perennial fixture of the Dundee art calendar. Each season will bring a varied crop of a commendably high standard, though the 2009 vintage saw a change to the format in addition to a new line-up. The remit was expanded to take in entrants from all four Scottish art schools, with three artists making the final show. Upon entering, the viewer is dominated by Dundee graduate Iain Sommerville’s self-consciously uncanny life-size monochromatic mutants, their distorted contorted bodies granting the space a tangible chamber-of-horrors frisson. Fellow alumnus Lauren Gault’s DVD You Cad (Flat Loop, Lap Loop) pairs two facing screens, the first displaying an internal view of what appears to be intimate surgery. Opposite this a painted golden hand, seductively adorned with peacock feathers, writhes to make a good go of wooing. The esoteric charm of Gault’s work continues into the following gallery, housing a pair of bold minimal sculptures whose familiar forms (organ pipes, silhouettes of limbs) hint and nudge at implied meanings. What does emerge is a practice beginning to grasp at its own very distinct, arcane language. Finally Kevin Harman, from Edinburgh College of Art, has contributed work encompassing performance, sculpture and collage, with a strategy of recycling and reconfiguring its constituent materials, be they wooden splinters, glittery fabric, live pigeons or humble bird shit. A revolving slide carousel casts light to illuminate a landscape of wooden detritus chipped from a standing ramshackle sculpture, and the projected image implies an act of avian defecation in the merest flickering of an eye. Taken together the whole show may on occasion appear willfully impenetrable, though a more forgiving eye will grant time for the work to gain in fluency of communication and resolution. It is to the artists’ great credit that new potentialities present themselves and new lines of enquiry are suggested. What remains now is for the chance to be taken.