ART & EXHIBITIONS LIST
Compass Gallery, Glasgow
The Compass this year celebrates its twentieth anniversary with the largest and most varied Christmas Exhibition it has ever staged - tour hundred paintings, prints and sculptures squeezed into the Gallery's basement space, maintaining the usual mix oi established and rising names.
This auspicious anniversary, however, is marred by a large cloud on the horizon. Alter supporting the Gallery since its inception, the Scottish Arts Council is withdrawing its iunding with ellect irom March 1989. As a result, things could get a little tricky economically. Patrons have been canvassed tor contributions, sponsorships and covenants sought and every possible nook and cranny explored torthe iinance which will carry the Gallery through to 1990 and the major retrospective exhibition it plans to mount.
This upset, oi course, lends urgency to the Christmas Exhibition turnover. So what's on otter? Dominated by June Cairney’s intensely rich pastel ‘Thoughts On Fire’ and John Bellany’s brittle watercolour ‘Two Figures' the exhibition is not without stunning highlights. Ninety per cent oi the work comes lrom local artists— big names like Blackadder, Howson, and Bellany and some newer artists like Annette Edgar and recent Art School graduate Allan Connell. And that is just the hall ol it. The newly lounded Glasgow Sculpture Workshop provides several mini-sculptures while Doug Cocker exhibits his customized constructions. Jewellery and ceramics are also available. Prices ior paintings average around £300, with Cairney's ‘Thoughts On Fire’ being a particularly good acquisition at £420.
CYRIL GERBER GALLERY
Cyril Gerber Gallery, Glasgow.
At Cyril Gerber’s Gallery Christmas brings a broad selection at work irom the 18905 to the 1980s, a good 80 per cent by Scottish artists.
Sir Robin Philipson’s multi-media ‘Two Windows’ chalks up the biggest price at around 3500. Four iigures are also being asked tor John Bellany’s ‘Manner’; £2500 worth oi pastel, scratched over the disconcerted lace ot a sailor. The most likely candidates ior Christmas presents here are some 1920s' French watercolours at around £20 each.
A host oi lamous names are represented; McTaggart, J.D. Fergusson, a stunning tuturistic drawing irom Elizabeth Frink and the charcoal drawings oi Laura Knight. Only tor those with very large piggy banks but worthy oi inspection all the same.
THE 908 GALLERY
The 903 Gallery, Glasgow
Two painters above all others dominate the Christmas Exhibition at the Nineties Gallery in 0tago Street; Campbell
Smith and Jim Gorman.
Smith specialises in deeply intense, blue canvasses, peopled by obscure, abstract human ligures: ‘Man Protecting Little Tree‘ being a prime example. A whole room at the Gallery is dedicated to his work.
Retired school-teacherJim Gorman paints with his imagination. From the iragile, pastoral beauty oi ‘Feeding Birds‘, he moves uninhibitedly to the chilling angular paranoia oi ‘Black Dog’. The gallery is also exhibiting a number oi well-known Scottish names. A lithograph irom Alasdair Gray’s ‘Lanark’ suite will keep your eye busy on detail. Tom McKenzies acutely observed Celtic landscapes are pleasing, while the work oi internationally shown artist Gregory Smith is given good exposure. Prices range trom £800 (tor Mathison‘s ‘Glass Cone’) down to around £50 tor one oi the smaller Campbell Smiths.
Lurking behind a deceptively inauspicious shop-tront on the HGV-trampled wastes oi the Great Western Road, Harbingers is not just a highly tastetul and reasonable gift shop. Round aboutthis time at year, it also launches its Christmas exhibition, representing many aspects oi cratt with the emphasis tirme upon aiiordability and utility.
Madelene Hand’s paintings are worthy oi attention; small portrait studies in pastel crayon, they are beautiiully lramed and come in at around £53 each. For those with a more surreal bent oi mind, J. Stephen’s work is just the thing; tiner detailed and precisely coloured renderings oi kooky machinery and even kookier people. Prices range lrom £25—£50. Watch out also ior Coral Madison’s pictures. Fashioned trom plaster (a process known as ‘Gesso’), these delicate animal images are a delight at around £85. Then we have Moira Whitiields's embroidered cushions (£15) striking ceramics irom Irene Bell, Margaret Struckmeier and Rachael Wade. The latter produces vicious pots and vases while Shaergh Averbuch gives us a porcelain box which can be illuminated irom inside with glowing ellect. Prices
' lor these items hover around the £40
Within the precincts oi Harbinger, space is at a premium but vivacity and imagination are easy to lind. (Alan Brown)
OPEN EYE GALLERY
Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh
As everthe Open Eye has mounted one at the best presented Christmas exhibitions. Well-tramed, hung and chosen so you are bound to tind a lavourite. Mine are the pair at small Lys Hansens (£250 each) in the lirst room, ruddy bodies as tense as her larger
' works. Beneath those and unassuming
is the work ot Bill Wright (£85), as calm as a summer sky and as peaceiul. His iorays to the west coast make their impact. Thomas Wilson, director oi Open Eye, is well-represented in this show as artist. And delightlul presents his soft drawings ot peeled apples, champagne corks and sweets (up to £220) would make. Marjorie Lyon also goes tor realism, more detailed and heightened than Wilson, in her tiny paintings at lruit unturled in bright colour.
As well as contemporary paintings the Open Eye otters a selection oi older work, mostly prints. A tiny trog with a cooked hat is irresistible, a wood engraving by Robert Gibbings made as a book illustration in 1928. And oi course there are ceramics. Perhaps more restrained and less colourlul than a Christmas show at the Open Eye might promise, there are nevertheless some tine pieces at reasonable prices. Jane Butler’s ‘Snow White’s Apple’ paints a light pattern around a smooth porcelain lruit (£22) while Margaret Struckmeier never strikes a dull note. But lor real luxury the classic Alan Caiger Smith jar tipped with gold (£112) would be my choice. Best value are the Ian Hamilton Finlay tiles (£5) with boat names like Good Shepherd Lad. (AB)
Step Gallery, Edinburgh
Best at the Step Gallery’s lirst Christmas show are Dorothy Black’s lish and shell and Claudia Petretti’s Venetian iacades (irom around £75), the two artists who made such a success oi a recent exhibition at the Step. The llower paintings by Lesley Main, a Glasgow artist enjoying much success this year, are also a uselul addition to a show which is cheertul but slightly patchy. Worth a look through the print and painting rack - there are some good buys there.(AB)
FORREST MCKAY GALLERY
Forrest Mckay Gallery, Edinburgh
From a gallery which specialises in 19th and early 20th century work comes the House that Jack Built by Robert Burns, not the poet, the painter. Earlierthis year the National Gallery ot Scotland acquired Burns’ mural ior Edinburgh’s Crawtord Tea Rooms, a cracking display oi Scottish art nouveau at its most decorative. Here, Forrest Mckay
display Burns’ original black and white drawings tor the Jack book, lirst published by Moray Press in 1937. With a sure black line reminiscent oi Alasdair Gray’s illustration, a cow twirls a dog in its tail, a cat and dog light it out with an oriental twist and a cat ‘rampant’ catches the rat. These and other parts oi the tale as well as a Lilliputian map oi Jack’s land and some jokey remarks trom Burns himseli have been reproduced by the gallery in a tacsimile ot the original book retailing at £14, a very accessible price tor a limited edition ot 400.
Kingtisher Gallery, Edinburgh
The Kingtisher Christmas exhibition has charitable aims. Downstairs all the paintings are being sold tor the benetit oi Save the Children. There is a large selection which includes some humorous ‘99 ice cream cones by Avril Jaques (£17). But it is upstairs, in the non-Save the Children section, where the most interesting (and more expensive) paintings are exhibited. Blackadder has red-stained an Indian print (£230), William Baillie's Tiger (£1050) is typically glowing and James Robertson's landscape turns almost abstract.
Galerie Mirages, Stockbridge, Edinburgh A bright elephant with mirrors and tassels and a silver trunk just cries out to be put under someone’s Christmas tree and an army oi horses with little bells ior teet would make any sell-respecting tree pleased as punch to have them hanging. At Galerie Mirages, iolk art trom the east makes the perfect Christmas present, decoration or special treat ior yourselt. Cultivating the atmosphere at the bazaar, the gallery hangs shadow puppets irom Java with glinting tapestries lrom India (trom around £20 to £130) and throws brightly birded cushions irom India (lrom £8.50) down with a whole herd oi animals. There are little rocking pigs trom Thailand which at around £60 make a beautitul toy tor a toddler something to grow into and keep as a special ornament as an adult, there are dragons on bird cages irom Indonesia (£45) which look too small to keep birds in but would look wonderful with a plant, there are silver rabbits jumping on tinkly necklaces irom Thailand (irom £9.50) which seem an extraordinarily good buy tor those with a taste tor extrovert jewellery, and small square embroideries irom Burma shining with horses and elephants. These colourlul handmade objects come irom around the more exotic quarters at the world. Some are old, some are new. Most have a non-Christian background or origin. But it seems that the spiritual joy interpreted by something like an lndian tapestry is particularly suited to our Christmas time. Galerie erages oiters some gltts with just the right amount ot seasoning to light up a iew eyes this winter. (Alice Bain)
54 The List 9 - 22 December 1988