Cal um Colvin, Portfolio Gallery, Edinburgh

“Artists without exception are narcissistic - by which is meant that they are undeveloped persons with infantile and auto-erotic traits‘. So says the tiny scrap of Freudian inscription at the top of Callum Colvin’s centre panel of the photographic

? triptych ‘Cenotaph’. It’s a tantalising

little theory. And how casually it is thrown down like a tiny gauntlet of knowledge high above the central figure who demands your complete

? attention as he caresses his own

exquisite body.

But with Colvin it is always advisable to read the fine print. Behind every god there is a guitar and every goddess a sofa. Not quite true, but it is the case that Colvin paints a stunning array of such celestial characters over the familiar. Like the opposite of trompe

l‘oeil he paints three dimensions into : pictures and then commits them to

i i 1

their new identity by photographing them. The sets he makes up and paints are then destroyed.

The exhibition at the Portfolio Gallery makes clear that Colvin has not lost the blithe spirit nor dulled the glorious technicolour that made his work so striking when it was first exhibited nationally in a joint show two years ago with fellow Scottish photographer Ron O'Donnell. In the latest works his tendency to use more props and less paint makes for compositions which have a less immediately striking impact than an image like his earlier Venus with a Goldfish Bowl. But Colvin has not allowed himselfto stagnate


and is exploring the complexity of ideas woven into his theatrical works with the courage not to take early success for granted.

Take along look at Cenotaph, the triptych which joins a crystal fetishist with an artist and narcissus. Colvin



himself is there, sidelong in a mirror peering through history into notions of art, religion and sexuality and throws in being Scottish for good measure. Colvin is stretching himself and asks his audience to do so with him. (Alice Bain)

has been moved ahead from the previously advertised date of 12th January. Colvin is back in Iidinburgh with new work of photographs made from sculptural sets of hisown ntaking. In his last extremely successful show here (which he shared with Rort O‘Donnell) he transfornted lowly chairs and goldfish bowls into fabulous cltaracters like Venus. Should be seen. Darkroom The darkroom is now open to members for black and white printing. print finishing and mounting facilities. Tue—Sat lilam— 1pm and 2—5pm. Prior booking is essential. Contact the workshop to find out how to become a member and about other courses and workshops held on the premises. I PORTRAIT GALLERY Queen Street. 556 8921. Mon-Sat 10am—5pm; Sun 2—5pm. I PRINTMAKERS WORKSHOP GALLERY 23 Union Street. 557 2479. Mon—Sat lilam—5.3t)pm. Chinese Way— Prints and Drawings Until 18 Feb. Glasgow painter and printmaker Brian McGeoch spent a week at the Sichuart Fine Art Institute studying traditional Chinese painting techniques with Jiang Bi Bo. This exhibition shows the work of both artists for scrutiny. I QUEEN'S HALL Clerk Street Box Office 668 2019. Mon—Sat Ilium—5pm. Cafe. Landscapes and Flowers Until 29Jan. Paintings by Jean Ashcroft and Peter Kinnear who specialises in miniature landscapes. Watercolours by 5.6. Lucas 1—28 Feb. Work from the 30s to the early 5(ls showingthe Water of Leith as a more industrial landscape than the suburban one it has become today.

I RIAS 15 Rutland Square. 229 7205. Mon-Fri 9.3(lam—5pm.

Scottish Drawings Working Group Until 2 Mar. Architectural drawings from the fine RIAS collection.

I RICHARD OEMARCO GALLERY Blackfriars Church. Blackfriars Street (off Iligh Street). 557 0707. Mon—Sat


Two Edinburgh galleries have interesting and contrasting shows of contemporaryiewellerythis fortnight: at the Scottish Gallery there is work from Holland (see illustration), and at the City Art Centre work from the Galerie Metal in Copenhagen to :oincide with the Danish Graphic Art show. Design and technical standards are very high in both exhibitions.


Beth Fisher-The Canopy Series Until 28 Jan. Aberdeen-based artist Beth Fisher models her family into these monumental painted compositions.

Jim Livingstone —The Dream of the Rood Until 28Jan.

I ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN 552 7171. Gardens Mon—Sat ‘lant—sunset: Sun IIam-sunset. Plant houses and exhibitions (mounted in Inverleith I louse) Mon—Sat Illam—Spm; Sun 11am—5pm. Due to renovation of Inverleith I louse. there will be no further exhibitions at the Botanic Garden until further notice.

I ROYAL MUSEUM OF SCOTLAND Chambers Street. 225 7534. Mon—Sat 10am—5pm; Sun 2—5pm.

I ROYAL SCOTTISH ACADEMY The Mound. 225 5945/6671. Mon—Fri 10am—6pm; Sat 1(lam-lpm.

Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolours-Exhibition 1989 Until 16 Feb. This selection of Scottish work includes loan works by John Piper and is announced by a crimson tiger by William Baillie.

I SCOTTISH CRAFT CENTRE 140 Canongate. 5568136. Mon—Sat 9.3(lam—5.3()pm.

Crafts by Scottish artists.

I THE SCOTTISH GALLERY 94 George Street. 225 5955. Mon—Fri 10am—6pm; Sat 10am—1pm.

D.Y. Cameron (1865—1945) Until 1 Feb. Oil paintings. watercolours and etchings by a man who viewed the world through unpeopled landscapes.

Scottish Colourists Until 1 Feb. Delightful drawings from Peploe. Fergusson and the others.

Bruce McLean Until I Feb. Printsand works on paper by this extrovert Scottish artist who paints plates with as ntuch

aplomb as he makes prints. Most recently.

Maclean has further diversified and designed fabulous sets and costumes for the Rambcrt Dance Company‘s ‘Soldat‘. Ceramics Until 1 Feb. Ceramics by Tessa Wolfe-Murray. glass by Liz Lowe and Dutch jewellery.

Alan Davie Works on paper 1972—1986. 4 Feb—l Mar.

Gallery Artists and Stuart Duffin Etchings4 Feb—l Mar.

Also. ceramics and jewellery.

I SCOTTISH MINING MUSEUM Lady Victoria Colliery. Newtongrange. Midlothian. 663 751‘). Tue—Fri

Illam—--1.3()pm;Sat& Sun noon—5pm. Devoted to the history of mining in Midlothian. built on a mining site.

I SCOTTISH RECORD OFFICE West Register I louse. Cltarlotte Square. Mon—Fri 9am—4.3(lpm.

Strange Revolutions Scotland 1688—89 Until end Feb.

I SCOTTISH STONE AND BRASS RUDBING CENTRETrittity Apse. Chalmers Close. Iligh Street. Edinburgh. Mort—Sat Illam—6pm.

I STEP GALLERY 3‘) I lowe Street. 556 1613. Mon—Fri lilam—6pm; Sat Illam—4pm.

The Post Graduate School with Elspeth Lamb Until 28 Jan. Oils. prints and pastels from post-graduate students of Edinburgh College of Art. The students are joined by artist and teacher Iilspeth Lamb.

I STILLS GALLERY 105 I Iigh Street.557

I Hi). Tue—Sat Noon—6pm.

Power Plays - Contemporary Photography from Canada Until 11 Feb. An exhibition organised by Stills which looks at the artof photography as it stands at the moment in Canada. Work by Lynn Cohen. Donigan Cumming. Ceryl Sourkes and others.

I TALBOT RICE ART GALLERY Old College . University of Edinburgh. South Bridge. 667 Ill] 1. Mon—Sal Ilium—5pm.

Toni Follina-Proiects and Architecture 1965—87 Until 11 Feb. In conjunction with the very lively Italian Institute in Edinburgh. the Talbot Rice presents work by one of Italy's senior architects. A harmoniser of great skill. Follina‘s technique blends the craft of building with the histories and traditions ofarchitecture and specific communities. This is the first time Follina‘s architecture has been seen in Britain and in the wake ofPrince Charles' warnings to architects tomake their work more environmentth acceptable. the Talbot Rice should be congratulated on its sense oftinting.

I THEATRE WORKSHOP 3-1 I Iamillon Place. 226 5425.

Photographs— I hated it at first but i love it now Until 31 Jan. Work by Steve Fairclough. Joanna Meek. Susan Mitchell and Neil Ridley.

I TORRANCE GALLERY 29b Dundas Street. 556 6366. Mon—Fri 11am—6pm; Sat I(l.3()am—4pm.

Recent watercolours by Marjorie Clark Until 28Jan.

William Ferguson 6—18I-‘eb. Recent land and seascapes from a Iladdington artist. I 359 GALLERY 20‘) Cowgate. 225 3013. Mon—Sat 1().3()am—5.3(lpm.

Paintings by Lucy Ross Until 28 Jan. Fourth solo show of a young Scottish painter trained at the Royal College of Art. Work based mainly on landscape and environment. Cyprus included. Alan Watson Until 28 Jan. The herring industry of Fife has inspired Watson for some time (last seen in 369 Gallery in 1986). Discovering that one ofhis ancestors had died stranded on an ice floe while on a whaling expedition. Watson decided to move on and research the Scottish whaling industry. This is the subject for his latest solo show, which later moves to the Barbican Centre in London. Rob McCarthy Letters from a City. 4-25 February. Ground Floor. Studioartist

52 The List 27 January 9 February