Leon McDermott, 'Critic’s choice: Glasgow' (Metro Life, 23/08/2007)

Clare Stephenson: Bandaged Heads

Clare Stephenson’s second solo show at Sorcha Dallas is a tricksy, sinister thing. Her previous shows have mixed the figurative with the almost-abstract, with disembodied limbs and fragile, geometric forms yoked together in small drawings. This time around, there’s little in the way of drawing – the focus here is a series of flat, ovoid sculptures, the titular bandaged heads. Wooden strips, painted white, cover nearly all the surface of each of these stylised heads, but there are scuffs, scratches and chips. There’s a hint of violence in their imperfections. Why are these heads bandaged? An escape from one identity, a transformation to another? It’s impossible to tell, but the implication is that there’s something to hide from. The two 7ft tall figures in the second gallery space, Miss Verily-Existent and Miss Quite-Transcendent, constructed from wood and photocopied paper, strike theatrical poses; their flowing dresses are chopped up and disjointed, but their faces are nonetheless placid. Again, they’re in disguise, but who knows why? A penchant for playing dressing up, maybe, or a hedonistic pursuit of fun are both hinted at, but there’s still another possibility: shifting identities are masks behind which true emotions are kept under wraps.