Andrew Gibbon Williams finds the Scottish Gallery’s festival offering hard going.
William Crozier is a ﬂuent, exuberant painter of landscape or, to be more precise, metaphors for landscape. He strips 3 view down to its essential, constituent parts and renders them on the picture plane as broad, loosely textured areas of brilliant high-pitched colour. The results of this working method are highly-charged, decorative pictures which, because of the dominance of the ‘stacking’ effect of individual elements, look remarkably similar to one another. Ifyou want to overdose on primary colour at this year’s Festival then come and see Crozier. He rarely strays from a dazzling and repetitive range of stinging yellow, resonant greens, electric blues and literally, shocking pinks. When he does — he manages it more often in watercolour than oil — the effect is altogether more interesting. I do not wish to suggest that Crozier is a bad painter. Quite the opposite. He is extremely professional; naturally talented and very clever. But I get the impression from this show of very recent work that his sensibilities to the vast potential of landscape have been blunted; perhaps by years spent teaching in the detrimental atmosphere of an art
"_ ‘ ‘l .I Not
towards painters who vehemently stress abstract qualities in their work while self-consciously
5 anchoring their pictures to the subject. You must
either plump for the penny or the bun. An unashamed straightforward abstractist like John Hoyland knocks spots off the likes of Crozier. Rarely can an artist have been worse-served by a catalogue essay. One is used to the obscurantist style of these eulogies penned by friends or associates of the artist; they rarely pay heed to or
explain the work. But in concocting spurious links between Crozier and artists such as Poussin, Claude, Cezanne, Monet, Breughel and writers like Wordsworth and Yeats, Tony Godfrey has scaled new heights in critical invention. 1 will award a prize to the first visitor to this exhibition whose thoughts turn to Ecclesiastes, unprompted by the catalogue. (Andrew Gibbon Williams)
I William Crozier Scottish Gallery, 54 George Street. 225 5995. Until 6 Sept. Mon—Sat1().3()am—5.3(Ipm.
college. I must declare a personal antipathy
_ FAMILY TREE .
The McTaggarts and Other Artist Families, Fine Art Society.
When Chopin visited Edinburgh he observed that everybody he met seemed to rabbit on about their
: ancestry or aristocratic connections. The composertouched upon a national obsession. Perhaps snobbery Is just a way oi compensating Ior political impotence in a country the size of Scotland. Anyway, things haven’t changed.
This exhibition proves Scotland's artistic society to be as interbred as its aristocracy. It assembles the work oi sixteen creative dynasties irom the proliilc Nasmyths, who managed to produce eight artists In a single generation, to the still operating Redpalh/MIchies, irom which nearly as many have emerged over iour. It’s not surprising that artists’ children - like actors' - Inherit the bug. But one wonders why they choose to marry within the proiesslon. A superabundance oi obnoxious egomaniacs makes any artistic union unlikely to succeed. The tensions in the various Ben Nicholson households must have been horrendous! Alter his lalled marriage to iellow-palnter Winlired Nicholson, he went on to tie the knot with the rather Iormldable sculptress, Barbara Hepworth. Predictably enough, another divorce ensued.
Beggarstaii Brothers - Nicholson and Pryde
The painstakingly constructed iamin trees in the catalogue throw up some surprising and unexpected connections. Who would have thought that any link could be traced between Hepworth and the Reverend Thomson oi Duddingston, or, iorthat matter, that Robert Graves. the poet. was her brother-In-law by marriage? We discover that the pioneer photographer, David Octavius Hill, married Sir Joseph Noel Paton's sister; that the eminent historian Slr Steven Runclman Is not the sole creative descendent oi the Iamous 18th century brothers, John and Alexander: Albert Bunclman Cummings, a painter oi surrealist Classical scenes, Is also still with us; that EA Walton's brother married Joseph Crawhall's sister; that the current Director oi the Fine Art Society (not an artist) does, himseli issue Irom a brood oi inveterate
' daubers. With William McTaggarl
centre at the exhibition stage at this year's Festival, an entire clan oi the painter’s descendants have gathered In Edinburgh and, sure enough, the artistic ones are leatured at the Fine Art Society. None oi this really matters, at course, except in cases where artists have been stylistically iniluenced by their relations, but it is a iascinating excuse for an exhibition and has allowed the Fine Art Society to indulge shamelessly in what It enjoys most: unearthing obscure, completely iorgotten, minor Victorian talents. (Andrew Gibbon Williams)
30 YEARS OF'CUBAN CINEMA
Filmhouse. in Cuba, it Is policy to produce a poster lor every screened illm, whether it be a ieature, short, documentary or cartoon. Alter the Ioundatlon oi Fidel Castro's revolutionary government in 1959, IIlm became an important medium ioriosterlng pride In the country’s achievements, so the Cuban Film Institute (iCAlC) was set up. Posters were introduced In 1961 and since then a small body at prolllic designers have been producing an origional and vibrant collection oi mainly silkscreen prints.
This exhibition Includes the work of Eduardo Munoz Bachs, who designed the poster Ior this year’s Film Festival,
and the work oi eleven other artists. The style Is bold and eye catching, with a line sense oi design. Several oi the posters have a 70s' ieei, executed In carnival colours with black borders. These contrast with cooler political Images, sometimes totally abstract, but usually with a reierence to the respective iilm. The most striking are those which rellect the dominant mood or message oi the Him they represent such as Bach’s striking design ior El Sanlo Padre y La Gloria, (Holy Father and Gloria). They are all original screenprlnts, and reproductions are on sale. Despite having to peer over peoples heads as they try to enjoy a pint In the Filmhouse bar. this is well worth a visit. (Jo Roe)
The List 25 — 31 August 1989 43