JAPANESE ART IIMAWASHI Merz Gallery, until 4 Sep 0..
On a video monitor a small Japanese woman dressed as a rabbit scuttles and jumps in the shadows of office building corridors. while a man's looped narration drones over the top. muttering in German about a dream place and a white rabbit in the snow. There is an itching feeling. perhaps. that something has been lost in the visual and verbal translation.
‘limawashi‘. which loosely translates into ‘ways of expression‘. seems the perfect title. then. to address some of the difficulties of cultural translations. And this meeting has produced a meaSured. delicate. and often idiosyncratic collection of work. With no restrictions apart from the condition of being Japanese. all disciplines of sculpture. photography. drawing and video have been employed for this show of 13 artists. From Takuma Uematsu's kitsch stuffed monkey that seems to contemplate its own existence. to Michiyoshi lsozaki‘s ‘The Life of Mop'. a video of a mop man who cleans the floor to an easy listening soundtrack. there is a off-beat humour in their visual language. But what the showcased works have in common is a rare metiCUlousness and an unhurried attention to detail.
This scientific sense of precision is unmistakable in the most impressive piece. Ken Kageyama's huge chopstick sculpture. constructed off-site. Accidentally taking the shape of a cairn. the structure looks like an exploded chemistry diagram. where visitors are invited to throw chopsticks onto the strange haystack. This. and all the works. are beautiful. fragile. but also possess a strange sense of foreignness that sometimes simply comes off as confusing. (lsla Leaver-Yap)
Birthday by Takuma Uematsu
PRINTS PAULA REGO Talbot Rice Gallery, until 24 Sep 00..
A woman crouches on the edge of a rock. Her hands, almost claw-like, grasp the ground in front of her as she strains forward; her eyes are big and wide and she roars in the light of the moon. This is ‘dog woman’. She is etched with a surety and confidence that allows the physicality of Rego’s imagination and observation to be fully and absolutely realised. In the 100 and so prints on show here, such comprehensive talent is almost always revealed. Rego can turn her hand to subjects of fancy - nursery rhymes, witches, stories - and reality - abortion, envy, sloth - and in each one the weight, movement and expression are captured with a precision and freedom that comes from years of practise and intuitive skill.
In ‘Girl Swallowing Bird’, 3 girl is on her knees with her head bent backwards. A crow-like bird grasps her round the waist with its claws and rams its big beak down her open mouth and throat. It is a violent image of penetration and submission, taking references from mythology, Max Ernst and Alice in Wonderland. Images of power relations are prominent in the Jane Eyre series where an exaggerated perspective has Mr Rochester towering above us on a horse as Jane first sees him. When Jane is humiliated at school and made to stand on a stool, she is shown as miniature in stature, glowered at by the sadistic Mr Brocklehurst.
Perhaps the strongest complete series are the Nursery Rhymes where illustrations have often dark and surreal takes on the ditties, though there is unbridled joy and delight there too. In one, ‘Rub a dub dub’, three men get a scrub down by clothed women — they look bare and vulnerable like little boys with balding heads. Not every single print is as strong as these. ‘The Children's Crusades’ are notably weaker, but just next to them are four gorgeously black, dark crows, referencing Ted Hughes’ epic poem. For a Portuguese woman who has lived most of her life in London, there is a lot of Yorkshire in her literary inﬂuences. Is it a coincidence that Blake Morrison, another Yorkshireman, has collaborated with Rego on ‘Pendle Witches’? There are sprits in those brooding moors and Rego’s own is drawn to them, just as she is to the mischievous rhymes, the indignity and pain of back street abortion and the imaginings of her own brave mind. (Ruth Hedges)
PAINTING JACKIE ANDERSON Amber Roome, Edinburgh, until Thu 8 Sep 0000
The paintings of Duncan of Jordanstone graduate and first-time solo exhibitor Jackie Anderson don‘t exactly grab your attention on first glance. but then that's kind of the point. You see. Anderson's interest lies in the snatched glance of a stranger on the street or a friend in motion. unaware of the camera. and her work is an invitation to consider these otherwise meaningless moments preserved for posterity.
Initially. Anderson goes out on the street and takes surreptitious photographs of strangers passing by. Then these photographs are reimagined in oil. with liberal use of turpentine to remove all but the faintest coat of paint and leave the viewer with a half—imagined rendition of the subject. the background fading almost into shadow.
Anderson's style. though leads many of the paintings away from simple documentary recreation by overlapping figures in such a way as to give a double- exposed effect. The man in Montague Street. for example. framed once and then again. a stride later. the two characters in St Enoch Square. blending into each other and transparent before the trio of cash machines they're walking before.
Elsewhere. a series of Anderson's friends are depicted in a similar way as they rise to leave a room — this time. a moment of inconsequential action which evokes power and decision when held in such stasis. (David Pollock)
18—25 Aug 2005 THE LIST FESTIVAL MAGAZINE 71