Saturday, 13 March 2010
Alex Frost - The Connoisseurs @ DCA
On entering Alex Frost’s solo show at the DCA, the visitor is met with a mural covering the whole of one wall displaying the WiFi logo rendered in swimming-pool mosaic. For those without the luxury of a waterproof laptop, the artist provides a selection of handy cushions and a free internet connection, duly utilised by a pair of reclining assistants quietly surfing away on the opening night. Stuck to the wall is an array of knickknacks bought by the artist on an online shopping spree, aquatic odds and ends such as bits of driftwood and copies of starfish and coral. The paradox of an outsider art technique combined with the ideology of rampant consumerism is executed here with a flourish of dry absurdist wit. In the main gallery the lights are dimmed for the show’s title piece, a series of giant noses protruding from the floor, a commission originally made for the Glenfiddich distillery in Dufftown. These totemic snouts were first floated on water as a safeguard against fire, now serving to stand as symbols of refinement and, of course, high connoisseurship. Other works include a selection of trompe-l’oil bags of synthetic foodstuffs titled Young Adults (replacements & substitutes), monumental portraits also named The Connoisseurs made by seeping paint through perforated paper, and a series of still-life ‘blind drawings’ using temporary tattoos. These non-sequiturs all combine deadpan delivery with sophisticated technique, making for a smart, satisfying parade of contradictions.