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Caroline McNairn: Dreaming of Heroic Days

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Colin Herd reviews Caroline McNairn: Dreaming of Heroic Days at Summerhall, Edinburgh, on view through September 26, 2014.

Herd writes: "Dramatically combining elements of abstraction, figuration, textuality and landscape (or more precisely cityscape), McNairn’s canvases are exquisite fusions. Her art is radical because it is energized and enervated by the combination of disparate elements. The American artist Jack Tworkov (1900-1982) once wrote of his own practice that he felt 'a certain inclination toward the monstrous… it is common to think of expression in relation to art and we miss how much is really suppression'. In her looming figures and shadows, peculiar spiral-patterned bulges and skinny leafless trees, much of McNairn’s work also seems to occupy the tightrope above 'suppression' and 'expression', a tightrope that also animates another unstable dichotomy in her work between the 'monstrous' and the 'beautiful'."

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