Alexander Kennedy, 'Group Show' (The List, 08/06/2006)

While the work in All Dressed up with nowhere to go at Sorcha Dallas’ gallery is recognisably related to a specific strand of Dallas’ usual aesthetic (much of the work is sombre, made of ‘non-art’ materials and on a knife-edge between the minimal and the conceptual), there is fresh wit and colour aplenty. The show, curated by Broadway 1602’s Anke Kempkes (New York), brings local and international artists together for our delectation: Seth Price, Michael Hakimi, Edwin La Liq, Nick Mauss, Agnieszka, Friederike Clever, and local boy Ryan Doolan.

The work on show explores the false confidence, the hidden meanings and lacunae in our public personae and the cartoons we make of ourselves through our performances as social creatures. In Brezezanska’s ‘Rasa Pan’ (Race of Ladies) a female figure turns to look at the viewer with a balloon-as-bustle shoved up the back of her skirt. It’s a simple action and a visually rich image that brings with it a weighty but witty history of feminism. Her ‘Untitled’ abstract canvas also relates to this tradition, but turns it upside down with glee; an abstract form becomes an ornate chignon and a bumhole, with a gold star, which acts as both painful spiky ornament and indicator of the orifice’s opening.

Ryan Doolan’s installation also uses humour to deconstruct the artist. A burst of Bertrand Russell gazes at a parade of caricatures, their shadows on the wall them betraying the associations we usually apply – drug-dealing ‘neds’ become a sexy little threesome, a gesticulating rapper becomes as saluting Nazi. The significance of our clothing as encoded regalia is also explored by Price and La Liq. Price’s ‘Vintage Bomber’ becomes a polystyrene copy of a copy, the ‘original’ social significance of the jacket being wiped out (if it ever existed). La Liq’s drawings of dandified ‘lads’ wield faux-sceptres and stringless harps, like contemporary figures at a Roman saturnalia.

As a show with a sceptical neo-humanism at its heart, this exhibition demonstrates that time, style and fashion may change, but human beings remain the same – vain, ridiculous and tragic.

Subject Exhibition

All dressed up with nowhere to go, Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow
With: Agnieszka Brzezanska, Friederike Clever, Ryan Doolan, Michael …