Not one to Currie favour

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The Independent Culture
Ken Currie's work pulls no punches. Dark, brooding and sometimes charged with very real menace and mischief, his paintings are instantly recognisable and, more importantly, memorable. Currie is one of the contemporary Scots who has in recent years found more than a foothold in the often fragile London art scene. And many have hailed him as the best of the Scottish bunch, sighting his uncompromising and uncomfortable vision of humanity as the potent reason.

Everything Currie turns his attentions to has a dark side - a patient lying in bed, a deep mysterious forest overgrown with clinging vegetation, a brooding self portrait and even what should be perhaps a celebratory portrait of his newly born child. "Sex in Scotland" (left) shows a level of desperation which is poignant and painful. Two figures one male the other female (but it really doesn't matter which is which) are viewed in a dank tenement gloom. They are ugly and battered by circumstance. Despite being instantly repulsive, the piece is truly tender, Currie seizing on this moment of extreme sensitivity to remind us of the sordidness of skin and the inevitability of decay.

The Raab Gallery, 9 Cork Street, W1 (071-734 6444), to 20 April, free