IN THE FRAME
Mark 0’lleil talks about the decision to open a Museum oi Religion in Glasgow.
Well, the meaning oi llie is about as important as any sublect one could think oi, and the only reason there aren’t museums oi religion anywhere else is because nobody else has the courage to make them. Glasgow, oi course, has the courage and we also have this collection at really good art, oi history and anthropology irom which to make this museum. it covers religion irom earliest times up to the present, irom all over the world, as well as having a particular Scottish locus in the Scottish Gallery.
The west oi Scotland has the highest rate oi church attendance anywhere in Britain. Secularisation hasn’t been as complete here as it has elsewhere. I think people will be very interested. lion-believers will want to come because oi the amazingly interesting objects or just because they’re interested in human liie. Believers will iirst oi all come along to see it we’ve got it right, and then they may use it to show their children about their own ialth or to teach them about others.
The museum emphasises that each religion is diiierent but that irom birth to death humanity goes through various common processes in the search ior spiritual meaning.
Until recently, almost all the greatest art was religious. The only other kind oi art was made to gloriiy rulers but that usually had a religious sanction anyway. The separation between church and state ls only 500 years old and only happened in Western Europe. Elsewhere in the rest oi the world, religion and politics were usually the same thing. iiellglon was the inspiration to the greatest art.
Mark O’ilell is the Senior Curator oi History ior Glasgow Museums. St Mungo’s Museum oi liellglous Llie and Art opens on Sat 3 Apr.
Parlen were statue oi John Knox, about 1870
Walking onthe daily planet
The Daily Planet is The Ultimate newspaper. Anne Hamlyn investigates its claim to have its finger on the pulse of the Earth.
The Transmission is an aptly named venue for a group show which aims to discuss the role of the press in gathering and disseminating information. This is all very post- modern: All eleven artists are recent graduates from London and Glasgow whose work is born out of that ‘state of the art’ obsession with mass media and its effects on our daily lives. The idea that the accessibility the press offers us is inevitably undermined by the elusiveness of real persons and events is explored in the show with humour and candour.
Andrew Lockhart. the artist who conceived and co-ordinated the exhibition has produced a set of ‘Portraits', each given an arbitrary name picked out of a newspaper. These brightly coloured canvases are
marks in monotonous repetition’. Neither we nor the personalities involved are really in the picture at all. The media feeds our need to gain access to other peoples lives but ultimately deprives us of satisfaction. The same idea is expressed by Barclay’s Young artists of the year, Jane and Louise Wilson. They have filmed themselves from the waist down and placed the video monitor on the ﬂoor behind a crash barrier. This enhances a sense of the inaccessibility of personal experience to mass possession as do Kirsty ()gg's ‘Police
5 Evidence Bags'. Containing clothing I found on Glasgow streets. they are
fragments of other people's lives, the residue of anonymous and disparate events gathered together in an arbitrary pile on the gallery ﬂoor.
A collaboration between graphic artist Jonathan Barnbrook and photographer Tomoko Yoneda has produced a dry parody of the ubiquitous ‘Horoscope' by inserting names of the famous and infamous above a standard reading.
Millions of hardened cynics daily read
between the lines to find atrth that fits. and the predictions for Queen and Colonel Gadafft are ironically appropriate.
The relationship between art and popular culture is not always an obvious one: the use of newsprint-like paper in Melissa Arnison Newgass' ‘lidition Details' emphasises the discrepancy between the carefully worked marks of the artist and the print on the standard double-page spread.
Andrew Lockhart acknowledges that this type of work is often difficult and inaccessible. ‘I think that the show has provided a starting point for artists to move outside their normal subject matter and consider something that is part of everyday life and debate.‘ As the daily tabloid hanging in the doorway displays so graphically, the press is tangible. accessible and pop, but clearly there are things about the world which a headline cannot reveal.
The Daily Planet is at 'I'runsmission
Gal/(Irv. Glasgow. until 24 April.
Fragments and ﬁgments
On a recent visit to the Museum oi Scotland, Aileen Keith came across a group oi objects that made a deep impression on her. They were ancient moulds — casts ior cloak pins and brooches - mere impressions oi domestic paraphernalia that had survived through time, and were now subject to all the vagaries oi interpretation that the nostalgic modern imagination could throw at them. They seemed to encapsulate so much oi the spirit oi the moulded lead sculptures that were taking shape In Keith’s hands at the time.
The current exhibition includes a series oi monoprlnts and drawings directly inspired by these museum arteiacts, but it is sculptures, such as ‘llomage to the ilousewlie’, which share their redoience most palpably. This work, which consists oi eight separate lead and copper shapes held in plaster bases like iossils, hints at everything irom ileoiithic tools to baking trays, whisks and pastry cutters. In doing so, it harnesses the symbolic and emotional appeal oi the Implements that shaped the distant
Homage to the ilousewlie l, Aileen Keith
past, as well as those oi a more recent, personal archaeology. But the eiiect is more complex than that oi a simple assemblage. Like the suit lead which bears her unique imprint, these iragments have themselves been shaped by the artist into something new. Keith’s sculpture speaks as eloquently about the tricks oi memory and the creative iorces at work in the present as it does about the continuing iertility oi the past in that present.
like Aileen Keith, the painter Moyna Flannlgan is a graduate oi Edinburgh
College oi Art. Much of her work is newly iinished, and the smell oi linseed and the glossy wetness oi the paintings add to their vigour. Flannigan’s work has until recently been entirely abstract: even now she works by building up a context oi space and light with luscious daubs oi colour beiore allowing nude ilgures to emerge. These paintings seek to explore physical being: the relationship between raw humanity and its environment. In Passchendaele, ior example, poweriul strokes oi reds and earth tones seem to drain and oppress a bowed iigure, outlined In brilliant blue, but, at the same time, they throw him up out oi the painting, so that he appears resilient. ilamed aiter the First World War battle, it speciilcally evokes the experience oi bereavement and the resulting scarred survival but it also appeals on a more universal, gut level. Like Aileen Keith’s sculptures, Moyna Flannlgan’s paintings may have concrete sources oi inspiration, but the work oi both these women artists is so rich and rewarding precisely because it eludes any single interpretation. (Gatherlne Fellows)
Aileen Keith: Fragments oi Memory - Flgments oi Imagination; Moyna Flannlgan: ilenude. Until 21 April, Tue—Sat, 11am-5pm, Gollective Gallery, Gockburn Street, Edinburgh.
50 The List 9—22 April 1993