Magazine article Art Monthly

Beagles & Ramsay

Magazine article Art Monthly

Beagles & Ramsay

Article excerpt

Beagles & Ramsay

Glasgow Sculpture Studios October 30 to February 28

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Thought is not the domain of the calculating machine between our ears--it comes from the body. The practical lessons of Minimalism have demonstrated the fact. Hal Foster begins his textbook Return of the Real with an anecdote about a little girl who outsmarts the famous theorist and his conceptual artist friend by skipping around a sculpture of beams and mirrors, while the adults engage in some heavy discourse. They look up to see her disappear beyond a mirror only to find her suddenly right behind them: 'And there we were, a critic and an artist ... taken to school by a six-year old, our theory no match for her practice.' Silly old Hal Foster! If that girl had found herself transported into the future and across the ocean to the Glasgow Sculpture Studios, she would have been attracted by the sparkly gold glitter encrusting the mighty form that currently dominates the space; and she would probably have found it a bit rude. Because between the legs of this geometrical humanoid, a conspicuous primary structure unmistakably inclines towards the vertical axis of its L-beam body.

There has been much written about Minimalism's anthropomorphic character, the way it plants itself in the gallery awaiting our arrival. At the same time its machine-made, rationalistic geometries suggest an anti-human indifference to our presence. Upon entering the GSS gallery one is confronted with a faceless monolith dramatically backlit with a harsh, white fluorescent glow. This is the Zarathustra moment, rapidly deflated as we move around the structure and recognise the familiar form of a generic toy robot--legs outstretched like an overgrown baby, android claws resting on the ground, and, as we turn to face this modern-day Frankenstein (or is it Pinocchio?), two blank eyes above a toothless letterbox grin approximating what appears to be an expression of pleasure. And, of course, we cannot help being aware of the proud appendage rising dead centre from its symmetrical frontage like the shaft of a colossal, gaudy one-armed bandit. It appears that this particular sculptural form has not only been expecting our arrival, but is genuinely pleased to see us. Or is it? The golden effigy avoids our gaze, as it sits in ponderous immobility transfixed by the source of its illumination--a large neon sign spelling out a compelling incantation in a distinctly goofy font: GOOD TEETH. …

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