Chad McCail at the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (NGCA) in Sunderland was more enjoyable than I expected having seen a range of his work at Baltic Centre for contemporary Art in 2003.
It was never the case I was disinterested in the subject of his work just that the ideas were more interesting than the images themselves.
In the Baltic’s show McCail’s work drew on the visual language of reading books (like Ladybird Reading Books) and he produced large digital prints that suggested a different way of living. I think just like those books the repetitive nature of the works eventually led you to glaze over.
This shut down doesn’t happen with ‘Systemic’ at the NGCA. It traces the continued development of McCail’s ideas but also shows work in a variety of forms from ‘Missile Story’ an intricate storyboard drawing to ‘Compulsory Education’ an enormous mural (eggshell on board) on the adoption of the tree tier system in education across Europe. I think that McCail’s work is most successful when we are given a key to breaking down his images and when he experiments with the mediums that he uses to complete the artwork. His image married with text below are easier to decipher and more engrossing than just his work with images alone .
Northern Gallery for Contemporary Website: http://www.ngca.co.uk/home/default.asp?id=160
Chad McCail’s website: http://www.chadmccail.co.uk
Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art: http://www.balticmill.com/whatsOn/present/ExhibitionDetail.php?exhibID=21