Monday, 9 February 2015
In the new group exhibition at Union Gallery – Streetlife – there is an enjoyably strange work by the Glasgow-based painter Frank McNab.
It shows a headscarfed woman laden with shopping in mid-air in the void at the centre of a tenement's common stair.
McNab says he's drawn to these spaces – neither quite indoors nor out, home or abroad – but the ambiguities redouble as one starts to wonder whether the woman depicted here is falling, floating or ascending.
Is she even alive? On closer inspection, that cadaverous face suggests she may be a domestic spectre. Or that this vision may be some projection of herself, her wish not – for once – to have to trudge with her quotidian or heartfelt burdens up the turning stair.
The work is titled 'Oh for the Years I Have not Lived But Only Dreamed of Living', which helps a little but doesn't ground the painting in any one definitive interpretation.
I find its blood and nicotine-coloured suggestions touching, creepy and evocative, and it was one of my picks in a show featuring several strong works by both established and emerging talents.