Royal Botanic Gardens, See Scottish Sechon
When an artist paints llowers in detail and as individual specimens, his work is usually called botanical illustration. The Scottish painter Rory MacEwen painted solitary llowers against warm white exposing every tiny vein. But at its most potent in the Seventies and Eighties, his art cannot be regarded as simple illustration — it is no sentimental statement to say that MacEwen painted not only the skin at a plant but also its soul.
Rory MacEwen, who died aged only 50 six years ago, was son ol a distinguished diplomat, politician, linguist and poet. The young Rory went to Eton and trained as an olticer with the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders lor two years. Perhaps not the kind ol background which you would associate with artists, let alone a painter ol
Astonishingly, his ability and attraction to painting the llower was natural and instinctive.
Perhaps that is why, brilliantly detailed as they are, his subjects live. They are not painstaking accounts ol nature, specimens caught between science and art. A tiny red crab apple is a vulnerable nude, a red pepper round the corner has the muscles ol an athlete, a rotten onion spills its guts like a dead bird. Through the heightened realism at single objects, MacEwen recreates a multi-laceted portrait at nature.
Despite being sell-taught, both his work and the accounts ol it (Douglas Hall has written a clear and personal account olthe artist in the catalogue) indicate that MacEwen was well aware ol contemporary developments in modern art. Minimalism, abstraction and super-realism all have their place in the study at his work. Ironic then that his botanical work lalls into place with none of them. It stands alone.
Vellum, the dried and treated skin at animals, a surlace rarely used by 20th century artists, makes his paintings particularly unique and perhaps the lranslucence ol that sensitive surlace goes some way towards explaining the extraordinary spiritual light in MacEwen's paintings, casting no shadows and leaving llower and leal hanging in space. Perhaps it is the heart of Buddhist-like thought which sets aside his work as special. MacEwen’s highly individual paintings acknowledge that a bud or a bitten leal has lite ol equal importance to all else. Whether we are aware ol it or not, we all have a stake in its soul.
Oxford Theatre Group.
I TORRANCE GALLERY 29b Dundas Street. 556 6366. Mon—Fri 11am-6pm; Sat ll).3()am-~lpm.
Mixed Exhibition Until 27 Aug. Recent paintings by Ethel Walker. silver and gold jewellery by Tony Newbery and silver and enamel jewellery by Judity Phibbs.
I DACKRDDM GALLERY 42 London Street. 556 8329. Mon-Sat 9am-5pm.
East Coast Talent Until 4 Sept. Six young artists show in this delightful room in the ‘back shop”. All are recent graduatesof Dundee and Edinburgh colleges ofart. Graham Anderson makes 3-dimensions with his sculptural ceramics. Richard (‘ouzins paints and constructs. Ruth Downie makes textiles and prints. Dannie McFie is a painter. Alastair Mack looksto Matisse for print inspiration and Jared Lee Taylor fashions jewellery. It's a colourful selection for the festival.
I BDURNE FINE ART 4 Dundas Street 557 4050. Mon—Fri 10am—6pm. McTaggart—Fergusson L'ntil 3 Sept. Some fine traditionals who never wear thin. Art exhibition of Scottish impressionism and post-impressionism.
I CHAPLAINCY CENTRE Bristo Square. 667 0214 ext 1. Mon—Sat l().3liam—6.3()pm. The Timeless Image Limit 3 Sept. Edith Simon has exhibited at the Festival eleven times. This will be the twelfth. Her sculpted paper works are truly original.
I CENTRAL LIBRARY George [V Bridge. 225 5584. Mon—Fri 9am—9pm. Sat 9am—1pm.
SummerArtists In the Fine Art Library until end Sept. An exhibition of work by Scottish architects and artists Stuart Campbell. Ian Davidson. Richard Jaques and Hilary Oberlandcr and others.
fringe. As well as cabaret. theatre and music the [Edge has an all-day cafe and markets for browsing. Artists are welcome to join the Iidge and exhibit/sell their work at any time during the Festival. The Edge specialise in experiment and innovation. Worth a look.
I EDINBURGH COLLEGE OF ART Lauriston Place. 229 931 l. Mon—Thurs lllztrn—S.3llprtt. Fri Ilium—5pm. Sat
Territory— New Work by Matthew Inglis lintil Sept 3. An exhibition of new work produced during his recent residency at the Crawford Art Centre. St Andrews.
Exhibitions ol Architecture are so often dry and dusty atlairs, or allow gimmickry to promote lacade.
! In a remarkable liaison, the august
Royal Fine Art Commission lor Scotland, hand in hand with the City ol Edinburgh has mounted an exhibition
which unravels the convoluted story at Edinburgh’s ‘Hole in the Ground‘. Money really does make the world go around in this cultured lestival city it
I CITY ART CENTRE 2 Market Street. 225 2424 ext 6650. Mon—Sat 10am—6pm. Sttn 21.28 Aug and 4 Sept 2-5pm. Licensed cafe. [D]
Ilowers. But in his own writings MacEwan recalls the day he got out ol the army, ‘sat down and painted a rose and I lound to my surprise that my hand
Coupled with the gardens outside in lull sharp summer colour, this exhibition, organised bythe Royal Botanic Garden, is one ol the beauties
had unknowingly educated itsell.’
ol the Festival. (Alice Bain)
225 6671. Mon-Sat 1(lam—-5pm; Sun 2-5pm. L'ntil 4 Sept hours extended to Mon—Sun 11am—7pm. Admission £2 (£1) includes both exhibitions. The following exhibitions have been organised by the Gallery of Modern Art:
Picabia Until 4 Sept. Who is l’icabia'.’ Most :
artists know his name. but to many he is unfamiliar. I’icabia is one of the founders 3 ofthe Dada movement. He is French (not Italian as the name might suggest ). He is introduced to the Edinburgh Festival as
on the door or from the exhibition desk.
Satie. Debussy and Franck (phone 556
3 8921 for details).
Talks Free. 19 Aug at 1pm—Simon Wilson (Tate Gallery) on Dada and Surrealism: 20 Aug at lpm—Simon Wilson on Francis Bacon; 22 Aug at 6pm—David Gascoyne (poet and surrealist) on I’icabia; 26 Augat lpm—Robert Rosenblttm (New York L'niversity) on late I’icabia; 29 Augat 6pm~Elizabeth (‘owling (Edinburgh lfniversity) on Surrealist painting and
Drawings by Robert Colquhoun Until 24 Sept. A cracking exhibition. (‘olquhoun was an inﬂuentier Scottish artist whose work is held in the national collections. These drawings were commissioned by Oliver Bernard in 1959 when Colquhoun was living with another Scottish painter. Robert MacBryde. in London. Colquhoun produced the drawings. which include heads. birds. animals and circus figures. after a reluctant start. in a mere 48 hours. They have never been exhibited before. Rodick Carmichael: The Antipodean Decade 1978—1988 L'ntil ll) Sept. Exhibitionof works by this Edinburgh-born painter. who moved to Australia in 197-1. It is his
would seem. This particular hole was dug to create a temple torthe Arts, but times have changed, and now the hole will be occupied by a temple to Mammon— Edinburgh’s Finance Centre.
The history oi this site, since the demolition ol the Poole’s Synod Hall in 1966 has attracted a bewildering number at proposals, hall-baked and over cooked. These are revealed in a lively and accessible manner in the Commissions Dtlicial, unexpectedly adorned by rather gentle grafﬁti and a
lite-sized model grey man, which, one assumes, represent some at the perpertrators ol this scheme ol delunct architectural speculation.
This is, at last, an exhibition about architecture in the making, and directed not at architects alone but at the people who benelit or sullerlrom that prolession’s endeavours.
The ’Hole in the Ground’, torso long a site for Opera, and a venue lor back-biting back-stage machinations has come at age - Edinburgh’s 30 year-old answer to ‘The Mousetrap’, and indeed a show worth queueing lor.
The commission, Jim Shaw lrorn the council and sculptor Kirstia McIntyre should be congratulated lor this production. Go See. (Adam Zyw)
. one of the most anarchic spirits in 20th century art. And this is the first retrospective of his work in Britain since 196-1. Unexpected. witty. playful and intelligent — Picabia demanded that his art be free. See for yourself. The RSA. has rarely looked better. The cafe and bookshop are well equipped to open to those without exhibition tickets and the
The Magic Mirror- Dada and Surrealism Until-1 Sept. i’icabia is joined by the surrealists. In contrast to the joking master of Dada. a number of the artistsin this exhibition are know it by a large public - Max Ernst. Magritte. Man Ray. Giacometti. Francis Bacon and l’aoloui number among them. The works shown all belong to one private collection and include surrealist books and periodicals. an important aspect of this 2Ilth century
movement. DrummondStrc 'l () -n 'tlId'tV 'tndi'tIC j I . .. y . Edinburgh College olArt.Seelistingsunder ‘ ‘3 P“ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ConcertsZtlAugand.sSeptat7.3llpm.i2 l scams". bar.The Edge isbtlledasthe frtngeonthe l
L """" """' ___.-.____.. ________‘__ W . ___ _U_»___ m” A_-_ -_V_ d r_-w__ _h g- -1“— The List 19— 25 August 1988 49
' I ST MARY'S HALL St Mary's Street. Daily Ham-midnight. 226 7622 for info. Peter Millett and Cath Urquhart L'ntil 3 Sept. Watcrcolours and photographs by two young artists in collaboration with the
first major exhibition in Scotland since
then. I COLLECTIVE GALLERY 166 High Street. 22() 1260. Tue~Fri I2.3(l—5.3()pm; Sat l().3(lam—5.3()pm. The Collective emerges from its new premises this festival with two fizzy exhibitions: Relic Until 23 Aug. Members ofthe Collective Gallery were asked to send work through the post on the theme ‘Relic‘. The result yielded an interesting mailbag delivering all kinds ofobjects to the gallery‘s letterbox. Most are small. intimate. quirky and personal. including collage. shells. scraps of photographs and even a little wall sculpture which represents a hollow apple with its core revealed like a ready rclic.SK. Artist for a Day 2-1 Aug—3 Sept. Artists change round in double quick time. I THE EDGE St Patrick +s School.
City ll. one ol Joanne Mllne's vigorously drawn abstractions lrom the urban scene. showing at