If you've ever doodled aimlessly in class, scrawling “I'm bored” over and over again, or sketching the back of the head of whoever's in front of you, you'll know where Laith McGregor's S-O-M-E-O-N-E is coming from. The difference is this is the biggest, most intricate doodle you've ever seen at an enormous 4 x 1.5 metres. McGregor's mind-bogglingly detailed biro noodlings are supported by three ping-pong tables and stretch geometrically across a single huge page that resembles a classroom desk, enabling the viewers to wander physically around the work and zone in on any of the many detailed sections of the work.
McGregor's skill with a biro is startling, carving out spiderweb-thin patterns with surgical precision, interspersed with photorealistic portraits of surreal characters. Part of the fun, though, is that McGregor's style is forever changing, sometimes filling up chunks of the work with meaningless ramblings, or copied patches of art theory — even some cartoon pals make appearances. Familiar treats that jump out from the often overwhelmingly complex tapestry of text and drawings.
Next door is a more experienced Ronnie van Hout's All Said All Done. An exercise in aesthetic repetition, van Hout's use of an exclusively black and red colour scheme and recycling of the same few objects- chairs, basketballs, human heads- creates a cohesive, fascinating tableaux of uncanny imagery that inspires intense curiosity: what is the connection between a severed head regurgitating a banana and a man with a basketball for a face?
Using himself as a model, van Hout makes himself variously small, big, ugly and naked through sculpture. He then places himself alongside weird sculpture creations- mostly involving human heads- that evoke horror movie monsters such as The Thing, or the gentler comedic animations of Bill Plympton. Again, van Hout makes physical interaction an important part of the work, forcing viewers to crouch and stretch to explore his artwork.
Despite their differences, these works have a common sense of encouraging the viewer to explore them and discover new details. In other words: they are a lot of fun.
Image shows detail from Laith McGregor's S-O-M-E-O-N-E.
Arts & Entertainment
Saturday, June 12 - Sunday, October 17