Andrew Cattanach, 'Rob Churm' (The Skinny, 27/04/2011)
A member of the bands Park Attack and Gummy Stumps, Rob Churm has been a prominent figure in the Glasgow music scene. His gig posters were once ubiquitous. Busy, black and white drawings of repeated patterns and mangled figures, there would hardly be a millimetre of paper visible through all the Xerox black.
Much in common with his earlier posters, Churm’s drawings and prints are in the main black and white with a strong emphasis on pattern and distorted human form. Often completely abstract, they can look like doodles taken from a notebook. One series in particular, a group of 10 drawings, each entitled Wyrd Gel, is of various patters, each lying somewhere along an imaginary spectrum between comic book crosshatching and Bridget Riley’s black and white paintings of the 1960s. They are at once rudimentary and bafflingly intricate.
Another series, this time summoning figures from the mosaic of abstract marks, is reminiscent of Dadaist Francis Picabia. The female form is discernable through the kaleidoscope of black lines in Opposable Figurine. Like with Picabia, Churm humorously alludes to the art historical idiom, remaining an outsider, nonetheless.
One of the few appearances of colour is found in the etching Angel (reading). A moment of rare tenderness sees an angelic, winged lady reading a book – while concurrently farting, it would seem. She has an odd texture to her face, as though bearded, or adorned with odd, scaly facial fingers.
Disappointment is found in the overuse of Typex. A distractingly horrid material, it’s the light-absorbing ejaculate of a smelly android. Similarly, the much anticipated wall drawing is easily ignored. Without the limiting parameters of the page, Churm’s abstract doodles are compositional mishaps rendered in materials better suited to the forgiving nature of paper than the harsh, inflexibility of walls.