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EXHIBITION

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REVIEW - Jock McFadyen: Roadworks At Scottish Gallery Projects, 56 Causewayside, Edinburgh, until 3 September

Living in England since his teens, Scots-born Jock McFadyen has been shunned by key elements of the pompous Scottish arts establishment, an honour only reserved for the difficult few. The easy take on his work is that it is all about decay - people on the fringes of society and run-down corners of urban hinterland.

But if you look a little farther, at such work as his Orkney scenes from the late 1990s, you can see there is a bigger idea.

McFadyen is fundamentally concerned with the margin.

It may be urban, social or topographical, but this is what he has revisited in more than 30 years as an artist.

In 'Roadworks', hung in a disused industrial space, nine large canvases draw the viewer into depopulated vistas from the ragged edge of city life. The subjects are from the standard edition of the McFadyen lexicon - dusk views of empty roads leading past generic out-of-town shopping centres, empty retail outlets gradually being recolonised by scrubby nature and gimcrack buildings against a burdened sky.

In essence, these are paintings about loss and emptiness: the obsession with implanted ugliness reveals McFadyen as a romantic at heart. The works in this show may be super-sized in scale but the ideas aren't really taking McFadyen anywhere he has not been before. Perhaps it's not so much roadworks as crossroads - McFadyen needs to find a new direction for the idealistic anger that the world should be different, and better.

Neil Cameron is an Edinburghbased writer on art and architecture

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