Miranda Forrester

Arrival

★★★☆☆

On until 6 January 2024

The arrival in Forrester’s title is a child’s and the artist the mother. Sparingly applied oils record her caring for the newborn. On the hospital ward, the sofa, and out in the garden, she cradles the child close to her naked skin. The figures appear only in outline, as though yet uncommitted to this project. The portraits of other, established families that hang in Forrester’s interiors, in contrast, are fully rendered.

What these paintings lack in development, they compensate with universal ideas. But the scene changes when another woman emerges in gloss paint on Forrester’s transparent polycarbonate panels. Separating the picture planes from their shadows in these works is taxing. The women’s relationship must be intimate but the other nude gazes on indifferently. The gallery text finally reveals that she is, in fact, the infant’s birth mother. Forrester’s postnatal anxiety, therefore, is that of being the child’s second, non-gestational parent.

This project is timely when foundational concepts like ‘mother’ and their ‘as-though’ counterparts are readily confused. But these paintings are too tentative to add to the already overheated debate. This may be their strength but one is left hoping that Forrester’s poise as a parent grows along with her confidence with paint.


notes and notices are short and curt exhibition reviews. Read more:

Joshua Leon, The Missing O and E at Chisenhale Gallery ★☆☆☆☆

Joshua Leon

The Missing O and E

★☆☆☆☆

This embarrassing display indicts today’s second-fiddlers with narcissism and egomania.

Deimantas Narkevičus, The Fifer at Maureen Paley ★★☆☆☆

Deimantas Narkevičus

The Fifer

★★☆☆☆

In the age of the decolonial, this is as quaint as it is outmoded

Helen Johnson, Opening at Pilar Corrias ★☆☆☆☆

Helen Johnson

Opening

★☆☆☆☆

This is the work of a mind that, having needlessly spent years in therapy, became hooked on ennui or of an artist who wasted time misreading Lacan.

Some May Work as Symbols at Raven Row ★★★★☆

Some May Work as Symbols: Art Made in Brazil, 1950s–70s

★★★★☆

Art history can catch modernity in splitting from the past and thus from itself.

Anastasia Pavlou, Reader at Hot Wheels ★★☆☆☆

Anastasia Pavlou

Reader, Part 2; The Reader Reads Words in Sentences

★★☆☆☆

In this game of aesthetic cognition, the idea which survives is of the artist thinking.

Sin Wei Kin, Portraits at Soft Opening ★★☆☆☆

Sin Wei Kin

Portraits

★★☆☆☆

This exhibition combines the most vulgar of all art school tropes: juvenile narcissism, NFT kitsch, and mindless referentialism.

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