Alexander Kennedy, (The List, 13/04/2006)
We are told that the pristine sheet of paper is the most daunting prospect for the writer, but as the minimalist’s dream and the conceptualist’s ground zero, the blank page will always beckon artists, like origami ships floundering on papier-mache rocks.
Gary Rough’s new exhibition of drawings continues the tradition of avant-gardist assaults on the sketchpad. It is hard to shake the similarities between these new untitled scraps with Louise Hopkins’ work shown earlier this year at Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket. But maybe this comparison makes all the comparisons within art history seem ridiculous; a sheet of paper with marks on it with any other drawing, etc. Whether this is the artist’s intention or not, we are forced to ask what makes these lines different, special, ‘art’- a reactionary question that always produces interesting answers.
In the second gallery space Rough exhibits two films. In one an Icarus figure falls with his skis flapping and falling beside him, on the neighbouring monitor a flame enters and exits the screen. Rough dwells on the bland middle bit where all the supposed action happens, with birth and death bracketing the continual chaos of life. Yet, with very clear beginnings and endings, these actions, lines and flames appear temporarily infinite.