Birmingham, England : 1988

Mixed media drawing installation for Open Futures group drawing show at Ikon Gallery.

9 April – 14 May 1988

MacLennan’s installation for this group drawing show comprised of both drawings and objects. The varied, large-scale drawings on the gallery walls employed trompe l’oeil techniques, with drawings of the shadow of the ladder used for the installation leaving an illusionistic imprint of its positioning. One of these shadow drawings was embellished, apparently morphing from a ladder into a small elephant. Other images were of fish, long black dresses, gloves and death-masks.

Protruding from the walls were numerous fishing rods dangling water-filled gloves, wage packets, and maps of the Isle of Skye and Ireland (cut from used X-ray film) over the floor from their lines. Arranged on the floor were two small tables, one draped with a pair of trousers, the other with a wedding dress. The junction of the walls and floor was covered by a dusting of white flour, and an audiotape played Scottish Highland Gaelic chants, remixed, on loop.

An exhibition card displayed MacLennan’s accompanying statement:

‘We draw breath, We draw in, draw up, draw out, comparisons, conclusions – pensions. We draw blanks, attention, connections, inspiration and potential resistance. We draw sympathy, premises, promises, answers, mistakes and words. We draw hope, facts, abuse, viewers relief … blood. We draw meaning, “straws”, money, demands, strength… energy…’