Who Are You and What Do You Want? is Jock Mooney’s 4th solo exhibition at Vane in the heart of Newcastle’s bustling art scene. A multidisciplinary artist born in Edinburgh, Jock has established himself as the go-to up and coming garish artist in both Scotland’s two major cities as well as London, continuously enticing viewers with dense, intensely beautiful illustrations and sculpture.
Upon entering Vane’s captivating gallery spaces a number of Jock’s more recent illustrations welcome visitors in with their intricate, delicate techniques. Nightmarish as the content can seem (with undertones of John Carpenter’s 1982 cult classic The Thing), these pseudo-psychedelic small scale drawings never reach the shock factor associated with the likes of H. R. Giger or Edvard Munch but instead capture the playfulness and charisma of the Golden Age of Comic books. These sleek, seemingly restless pieces are diametrically opposed to the artist’s feelings of longing and sadness, and yet the work emanates with a humour so apparent that it would be derisory to ignore.
The humour plays through the whole exhibition and by no means stops with the drawings. Surrounded by free standing sculptures, in addition to being serenaded by covers of Spice Girls Singles in the most ethereal, temple like manner imaginable, viewers are invited into an eclectic ecosystem consisting of Janus Cats, ostensibly edible/faecal sculptures and a long multi-coloured waved stream of bath nets. The atmosphere and ambience of the whole show (and in extension of Vane) is compelling and exemplary, and at no point did I feel that my visit was a chore. Even with the overly sexual characteristics of a number of the illustrations, the severed head of Marie Antoinette and provoking but yet hilarious cake sculptures, the tone of the work never ceases to be both witty and thought provoking.
Passing from sculpture to drawing and back to sculpture is effortless with such an engaging practice on display. Throughout the whole show vivid colours roar with such freedom, and yet even when the eye is drawn to a hanging, felt black octopus there can be no denying it completely intrinsic to this exhibition. Jock asks of no prior knowledge of his work to enjoy this exhibition: nor for that matter any prior knowledge of any art or exhibition. Indeed, what is so alluring about this showcase is Jock’s ability to entertain and inform at the same time without adhering to the high society nature of the white wall exposition: these works are intended to be enjoyed by everyone and they are accessible to everyone.
Also showing at the Glasgow International from the 8th to the 25th of April, Who Are You and What Do You Want? is not to be missed. Be sure to check out The Curse of the UHY Guacamole Snowman and The Dysfunctional Rapture of Brassica Bumface while you’re there.
Images: Jock Mooney, ‘Who Are You and What Do You Want?’, 2016, installation view. Photo: Colin Davison