Alice Maher

 

Alice Maher answers the challenges of working in the vast space of the Green on Red Gallery's Lombard Street by keeping her cool. Filling such a large white cube, she seems to conclude, requires not bluster, but restraint. Maher's response is an impressive installation, which is far darker and more taciturn than its spare, cartoon-like forms might at first suggest.

On a small shelf-like crevice, a Barbie-size cast of Venus reclines, while from the floorboards sprout a thicket of silken leaves. Fixed high on the opposite wall is a wooden model of a stairway covered in chunky rose thorns that guarantee a prickly rite of passage, or at least a painful progress.

Ombre, the largest piece on show, is a charcoal wall drawing stretching nonchalantly the height of one high gallery wall. In this piece (as in two other Ombre drawings in the gallery's Fitzwilliam Square space), what appears to be a woman with body-length hair is rendered in intense, repetitive charcoal strokes that seem to evoke weaving as much as drawing.

All the Lombard Street works seem to be drawn into the gravitational field of The Wilful Planet. This rugged bronze seed-like ball, which rotates freely on a wire high in the rafters, seems to describe a space into which the other objects might - psychically if not physically - fit.