Sleepless Travellers

On a technical level, Teresa Cálem’s portraits are very good. Her series of larger-than-life watercolour faces on plain paper backgrounds is painted in an almost photorealistic style, with haunting eyes emphasised. The brushwork is confident, and the figures are well-developed. This isn’t terrible art by any means. Yet although the individual pieces are inoffensive and demonstrate fairly-skilled composition, they fail as expressive portraits and are uninteresting when taken as a complete set. The colours are too muted, and the subdued shapes are not strong enough to stand out in the crowded foyer of George Square Theatre. Not a single piece arrests attention – this display is unvaried to the point of monotony.

The paintings are not bold enough for the repetition to be artistically powerful, and lack the variety that characterizes an effective portrait series. A washed-out pink shades all the subjects, whilst the airbrush-soft brush effect soaks character from their faces. Consequently, the portraits fail to engage the emotion or provoke curiosity.

The Fringe sees art exhibitions appear in the most improvised settings. Often this works in their favour, propelling art to the attention of punters who would not otherwise have sought it out. In other cases, as with Cálem’s effort at George Square, a scruffy attempt just gets lost in the crowd. Pinned up around the foyer, they resemble an A Level art project. There aren’t very many paintings, and those that we do see all look so alike that they hardly constitute an ambitious display of the artist’s capabilities. Unframed, they present an unfortunate amateurish aspect, competing for attention with posters and flyers pasted up alongside them on three theatre walls. Most play-goers may pause to look up at the row of injured wide eyes, but nothing here is likely to delay their stroll to the theatre doors.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

The Blurb

Teresa Cálem scans the world with extraordinary skill, her work has been described as witnessing miracles. A garden of faces, each unique yet beautifully interwoven.

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