Yesterday I saw the Ingrid Calame exhibition at the Fruitmarket Gallery. Wow! Never have I felt quite so love-hate about a particular artist.
More than half of the works are delicate tracery (literally) where she outlines in minute detail the marks that she finds on the ground – natural marks, random splotches, graffiti and deliberate markings such as bay numbers in a steelworks.
Combining the found with the created, she overlays the original drawings on architects’ mylar to create a deep and complex picture. Her works have the same compulsive quality as Ordnance Survey maps, with hills and valleys mapped by contour lines, a seductive combination of randomness and order.
The centrepiece of the exhibition is a giant piece covering the entire back wall of the gallery, where she uses rainbow gradations and a needlepoint transfer method to make a work that is equally fascinating close to and, viewed from the far end, as a whole.
So why the hate?
The other use of her tracings is to create works where she colours in the tracings in pure signwriters paint. I found these uncomfortable – too close and too bright, whimsically-named and in your face. The delicacy of the original work becomes garish blobs.
Still, I would go and see another exhibition any time. Really, something new.