Known for her multi-media installations that incorporate sculpture, photographs, drawings and text, the artist, writer and musician brings together new works for her show ‘Aiming or Hitting’. As with much of Coutts’ work, the act of the encounter is paramount and here, she presents a combination of works that address the physicality of an image and our engagement with it.
Coutts explores the photographic form – both as a documenter, but also as a sculptural entity to capture an action or period of time. Above a black strip-curtain that acts as a spatial and conceptual divider, paper planes travel across the gallery wall, but are caught in motion by the edge of the photographic print that depicts the act. Here, the three dimensional becomes a two-dimensional snapshot; the sculpture is flattened into a screen-based encounter.
Other works directly focus on the encounter of ‘looking’. Boy Looks at Rock on Top of Another Rock (2017), is a photograph of the back of a young boy as he looks at a work of art by Fischli and Weiss. Coutts has cropped into the scene so we don’t have any direct visual reference to what the boy is looking at, other than what is indicated in the title. Here, you’re made overtly aware of your action of looking, while highlighting the cyclical nature of looking at art.
All too often the sheer existence of art detracts from what it means to actually engage with an artwork, what type of response it can instigate. Hopefully Coutts reminds us that we can’t be indifferent and that the experience of art is as crucial as the work itself.