Alison Watt, Gallery and Museums, Kelvingrove, Glasgow.
Critics like to spot sources and are llattered by paintings which encourage them to seek out borrowings from earlier painters. Good artists learn from, and steal from, the past; honest, intelligent eclecticism is the best way to arrive at a personal artistic identity. Since college days, Watt’s images have been unmistakably her own, through, not despite, her plunderings of art history. Seen together, her recent works create a self-contained world. coherent yet battling; both waving and drowning, perhaps.
John Griffiths's Appraisal in the catalogue moves beyond source-hunting, conferring genius by association. Mention Watt in the same breath as Picasso, Ingres, Watteau, Seurat, Balthus and Italians like Piero di Cosimo and Masaccio and, subliminally, a claim is made for greatness. At the same time Griffiths dismisses ‘superficial‘ similarities with Conroy, clearly a touchy subject. Well, both benefit commercially from looking academic, although Watt's draughtsmanship is by no means exceptional. Both take as exemplars artists whose achievements involved a blending of a living tradition and modern life, and both, in contrast, are nostalgic, out oltime; pre-post-modernists, hankering after lost continuities.
Despite this, Watt clearly refuses to take herself, or her art, too seriously. This is endearing, but risky; llippancy is not among the classical virtues. (Alan Woods)
Glasgow's Great British Art Exhibition Until 9 May. Now this is more like it! An exhibition with a bit of flare and a wide pool of top artists involved in it. Spa/ding's~ Revenge. is the show that the directorof Glasgow (7in Art Galleries wanted in the first place - instead of The British Art Show 1990. ll concentrates on new work by Britain‘s finest artistic talents including Davtd Hockney. Gillian A} tcs andJohn Bellany and. as the}. say in the record industry. many. many more.
I MITCHELL LIBRARY North Street. 221 7030. Mon—Fri 9.3ilam- 9pm; Sat
58The List 20 April — 3 May 1990
ART & EXHIBITIONS LIST
Armenia - Drawings From the Earthquake Zone by Simon Gooch Until 28 Apr. The
.j talented illustrator exhibits his stark
images of Armenians trying to rebuild their lives after the earthquake in 1988. The drawings. which are the result oftwo visits to the southern Soviet Republic. will also be shown in MOSCOW in June. Glasgow Society of Women Artists Until 20 Apr. Annual show featuring paintings. sculpture. photography and more, including a number of works by selected artists from San Francisco.
I NEW GLASGOW SOCIETY 1307 Argyle Street. 204 1582. Wed 1—9pszhurs—Sat l--5pm.
; Glasgow Cast Iron (Mayfest) 9—26 May.
iiveryone knows that the finest cast ironin
1 the world used to come from Glasgow and
that it appears in grand buildings the world over. The gallery will have castings by leading Victorian architects as well as paintings and drawings by Alistaiir Fyfe. I 908 GALLERY 12 Otago Street, Kelvinbridge. 339 3158. Mon—Sat 10am—6pm. Urban Spaceman Until 2 May. Paintings of inter-galactic travel by five Scottish artists. who despite their lack of actual travel experience. are well known in the genre. The exhibition is organised jointly by the gallery and ASTRA. Association in Scotland to Research into Astronautics. The gallery will also be launching the Tom (‘ampbell Eye Surgery Appeal which will help raise funds for one of the artiststo undergo surgery in the States. I ONE Princes Square. 226 3032. Mon—Sat 10am—7pm; Sun 11.3f)am-—5pm. Boys and Girls Until 28 Apr. New paintings. mainly portraits. by Glasgow artist (.‘harles Stewart Parker. I POLLOK COUNTRY PARK Pollokshaws Road. 632 (1274. Everyday ()itlll- Sundown. Henry Moore Sculptures Until 14 Oct. Nine works from old Henry will be on show outside the Burrell throughout the I PRINCES SOUARE 2210234.Mon—Sat lilatn -midnight; Sun 11am—5pm. A Festival of Banners Until 6 May. The brightly coloured banners. each representing a different European state. have been constructed by the (‘yrenians‘ Workshop in Aberdeen. I PROVANO'S LOROSHIP Castle Street. 5540223. Mort—Sat Ii)am—5pm;Sun 2—-5pm. Shettleston Until 30 Apr. Another month and another area of Glasgow gets the photographic scrutiny at Provand's. I SCOTTISH MASK AND PUPPET CENTRE i» ll) Balcarres Avenue. Kelvindale. 339 (1185. The Hogarth Collection Until 29 May. About 150 puppets. ancient and modern. from all over the world collected byJan Bussel and his wife Ann Hogarth. Ann‘s claim to fame is that she used to work Muffin the Mule. who will be makinga star appearance in the exhibition. I THE SHELTER GALLERY Renfrew Court. 3346386. llam—llpm. Danger Overhead Until 27 Apr. Mixed media work on an environmental theme by Glasgow artist Dominic Snyder. The Horse ol the Year Show 11 May—1 Jun. After the Art Gallery in Kelvingrove galloped offwith the ‘Year of the Horse‘ title. the Shelter simply transposed the phrase for their exhibition of artwork on an equine theme. I SPRINGBURN MUSEUM Ayr Street. 557 14(15.Mon—Fri 1(I.3(lam—5pm. Sat Mam—4.30pm. Sun 2—5pm. Jam Socks and Television: The John Logie Baird Story Until 29 Apr. The life ofthe eccentric inventor is charted by this exhibition on loan from the (‘ollins Gallery. Reclaim the City Until 2 May. Photographs taken during the eventsorganiscd last year to make the city safer to walk at night. Also. hard-core nostalgia is on offer atthe local (‘Iydesdale Bank where Springburn
‘ .13f‘ﬁcs1—w .. French Contemporary Art, allery of
Modern Art; The Road to Meikle Seggle, Richard Demarco Gallery; Bernard Faucon, French Institute; Edinburgh.
These three exhibitions offer a rare opportunity to see contemporary work by French artists. Faucon, a photographer, has made his work in recent weeks while in Edinburgh. City-scapes are seen (as so often in Edinburgh) as glimpses behind walls and over fences; Salisbury Crags are just visible past the Ilumes of the Commonwealth Pool. These images, juxtaposed with romantic, nostalgic photos of a schoolboy in uniform dating from anytime between the 30s and the 60s, throw open the question of how we perceive a landscape which has been well-packaged — how many people regard Colin Baxter-esque images as ‘real Scotland’?
The three artists at Demarco’s (Pascal Barbe, Jean-Sylvian Bieth and Francoise Vergier) together make up the most exciting set of exhibitions that the gallery has put on for a long time — a level of endeavour that we should
expect from artists showing in this space. Barbe has paintings of women's faces, one for each year of a woman’s life, and divided into two groups — Mother and Whore — but in fact all looking similar. Women are invited to throw dice in the gallery, the scores of which will correspond to the numbers of the paintings, thus marking out the pattern of their life. Tensions between ideologically defined ‘types' of women, luck, and the lives of women viewers are thus literally objects of play. Bieth's installation concerns witch-burnings in Scotland and the work of the Inquisition in France and Italy. Canvases covered in a clay and sulphur mix bear faint traces of the names of inquisitors and their victims; an iron maiden is filled with (unseen) letters from Bieth to witches; photos show film interpretations of women burned as witches —the only unsuccessful section of an otherwise intriguing show. Vergier, in the top space, has a poetic installation which depends on perfection for its magic. It’s a shame the major part is undermined by a tacky plinth.
The Gallery of Modern Art has what should be the major of the three shows. My reactions were mixed: on the one hand it is an example of what a properly funded regional arts association can do — all the works come from the FRAC Nord Pas-de-Calais (a regional arts association) collection. 0n the other hand, FRAC obviously had a buying policy during the 703 which supported institutionalised work of a particular section of the avant garde which now looks tired. If those at Demarco and the French Institute are anything to go by, this show would have been more interesting if it had cast its net wider and concentrated on truly contemporary work, rather than that of the 70s and 803. (Hilary Robinson)
Then and NOW. a display of photographs. will be on view until 27 Apr.
I STIRLING’S LIBRARY Royal Exchange Square. 331 2668. Mon. Tue 10am—5pm. Thurs 10—8pm. Fri & Sat 1i)am-—5pm. Sttn 2—5pm.
Glasgow City of Architecture Until 31 Oct. Models. artefaets. trail-maps and videos trace the city's architectural riches.
I STREET LEVEL 279—281 High Street. 552 2151. Weds—Sat 11am—6pm; Sun 2—4pm. A Portrait of Pro-revolutionary Russia by the Writer Painter and Photographer Leonid Andreyev1871-1919 Until 29 Apr. Forty rare colour photographs taken (using the Autochrome proces) of the Andreyev family in their daeha near Finland provide a glimpse of middle-class life in turn ofthe century Russia.
label by Maud Sulter ( Mayfest) 5—26 May. Large-scale portraits that scrutinise issues of race gender and sexuality.
I TNIRO EYE CENTRE 350 Sauchiehall Street. 332 7521 . Tue-Sat I()am—5.3()pm; Sun 2—-5.30pm.
Steven Campbell: Dn Form and Fiction Until 29 Apr. His first solo show in Glasgow takes over both galleries and provides an excellent opportunity to reassess his work. The larger gallery has been wallpapered with 150 unframed drawings. while the smaller gallery has five of his oil paintings. Fiona Rae: Paintings ( Mayfest) 5—26 May. Bizarre paintings done upside down or back to front by London based artist Fiona Rae.
I TRAMWAY Albert Drive, 423 9527. Mon—Sat 2—6.3Upm.
David Mach: Here To Stay Until 29 Apr. Presenting a pile of used mags that would put your doctor's waiting room to shame the peripatetic Dundee graduate has built a dozen Doric columns in thisironically titled exhibition. Ironic. unless he neglects
.w , Maﬁa»: ' .._._.~. Nine Henry Moore bronzes have been placed in Pollolt Country Park— a rare chance to see pieces together in a setting to which they are ideally suited. They will be there until October 14. A related exhibition of drawings will tour the Lillie, MacLaurin, Paisley Museum, Dick Institute and Gracefield Art Centre during the same time.