in Frieze | 09 AUG 95
Featured in
Issue 24

Groping Around with the Almost Invisible

Siobhan Liddell

in Frieze | 09 AUG 95

I do not know which to prefer

the beauty of inflections

Or the beauty of innuendoes

the blackbird whistling

Or just after

Wallace Stevens

Siobhan Liddell brokers in innuendoes and inflections; hers is an art that approaches from an angle, quietly and obliquely inviting perception. At first, it looks like nothing - a strip of white paper, a string of plastic straws, a splash of watercolour, a tenuous barrier of thread - but gradually it comes into focus, intimating the prospect of aesthetic experiences. Liddell's aesthetic, however, is one of disappearance, one that embraces the nuance of shadows, the space between objects, the quietude of emptiness. Her work is not ungenerous in its reticence though; a universe of poetic associations and phenomenological stimuli are embodied in her almost imperceptible gestures. Trying to 'make sense of a sense' is one of her pronounced goals. 2 These allusions to phenomenology are not, however, part of a studied recuperation of classic Minimalist art, though comparisons have frequently been made to the work of Richard Tuttle, Dan Flavin, and Fred Sandback. Rather, Liddell weaves subtle metaphors, using the attenuated fibres of her art to fashion a narrative of desire much in the spirit of contemporary artists like Roni Horn and Felix Gonzalez-Torres, whose abbreviated, yet elegant, abstract forms whisper the presence of sensuality.