Close encounters '
Edwin Morgan, Janice Galloway and Denis
i Montebello have all taken part in a collaborative exhibition between French and Scottish writers and photographers. Beatrice Colin investigates the
f French Institute’s Festival
‘lt's an old game,‘ writes Georges-L. Godeau. ‘Tell me what you like, I'll tell you who you are.‘ These lines are part of a poem inspired by a series of photographs by Thierry Girard. which were in tum suggested by the work of [an Crichton Smith. A Franco-Scottish exchange of creativity, X. A Game of Words and Pictures ties image and text into cross-cultural knots.
The exhibition is the work of eight writers: four Scottish, four French; one
‘To lion Butlin’ (Edlrdrurgh 1993) by Thierry Girartl
Scottish photographer, Della Matheson; and one French. Thierry Girard. The ‘game‘ was as follows; the photographers were allocated four writers each. After spending some time with them, they attempted to evoke something of the personality and the poetic voice of the writer with a collection of images. These dossiers of images were then sent to writers of the other culture, Scottish to French and vice versa and the writers were instructed to write a short piece of text inspired by the images alone.
The result is a show with multiple echoes and enough room for ten disparate voices. Thierry Girard‘s
twelve images of Glasgow T0 Edwin Morgan use the hands of pedestrians and the reﬂection in shop windows to create a compelling narrative of urban loneliness. Régine Deforges’ fractured text hangs beside it like a conﬁrmation of pathos.
To Ron Butlin by Thierry Girard. captures the streets of Edinburgh with the wind in the trees and the bruised classical back courts and stairways of the New Town. The text, by Denis Montebello, is a stream of consciousness on the elusive nature of writing.
Yet the photography in this show is more than a trigger and summons up a clutch of different atmospheres. Girard’s images of lan Crichton Smith’s Scotland are of grey river water smoking. and wet grass matted in the morning rain. More diverse in style, Della Matheson’s photographs are surreal narratives with the occasional addition of paint and pastel.
The creative genesis of this show has had a domino effect as each person has found something of themselves in the exchange to pin down in image or word. Although some of the collaborations work better than others, several. such as Janice Galloway’s lament for Jean-Francois Mathé, are compassionate. direct and moving.
X , A Game of Word and Pictures is at The French Institute until I 7 Sept.
:— Rustic resonance
Just as Ilornel produced stacks ot
- paintings of little girls, Ilavld Gauld painted cows; cows lying down, cows standing up, cows in the byre, brown cows, .lersey cows, sad cows, trisky cows, calves. At the beginning of the century, a David Gauld cow painting adorned every middle-class household wall Irorn Iiawick to Thurso. The Bourne Fine Arts Festival show keeps the cattle to a minimum and displays a small but carefully assembled selection or the artist’s work.
Gould was a Glasgow boy, attending Glasgow School ot Art in the 1880s, and exhibiting at the Vienna Secession in 1898. Photographs in the exhibition show a serious man with a twisted moustache and determined turnotthechin.Yethewasattlre fringes oi the scene which included painters such as Gutherles and Lavery, and used paint tor lts decorative possibilities rather than for social consent.
Landscapes, such as Stirling Castle, shimmer with thick palette knite strokes in terracotta, apple green and pale turquoise, and a large binned sun shows the inﬂuence oi the Japanese print. In Ducks, the Inﬂuence oi Joseph Grawhall is apparent In the spiked tiowers against swirls ot grass and the flattened planes or the birds’ feathers. St Agnes, a painted panel trorn 1889, has a strong symbolist teel
with vibrant colour and sinuous line. Ills most successtul paintings, however, were his portraits. The sunlight in A Girl In Whitetails in patches around the girl’s shoulders while her tace remains in the shade. Iced violet eyes gaze demurer trom underneath her bonnet, while a chaste white dress suggests purity and innocence. Gertrude Arnong Trees, a portrait of his wite, also uses this dappled light to sotten and enhance.
Both are mysterious yet attectlonate
A Girl It White (1893/4) by David Mill
studies, which place beautitul women in a highly decorative settings.
But Gauld was obsessed with cows, and the rest ot the exhibition reveals how he had mastered their physlognorny in pencil and paint with sympathy and style. Although these works are highly accomplished, it must be said that once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all. (Beatrice Colin)
David Gauld, until Sat 4 Sept at Bourne
Fine Art Gallery.
Clive Barker: German liead
Simon Yuill reviews an exhibition of contemporary work from the Imperial War Museum.
The effect of increased media coverage given to contemporary conﬂicts has been to make war not more immediate but often more banal. Some of the works in this exhibition of current art from the Imperial War Museum's collection reﬂect that banality, others attempt to produce something from it.
Clive Barker’s chrome plated ‘Two Hand Grenades’ looks like some hi- tech ofﬁce toy or 60s Pop art. The two women wearing bikinis in ‘Sunbathing Sergeants‘ could as easily be in Marjorca as in the Gulf — but Nicola Lane’s work also depicts the normality of women in the army. women as soldiers rather than as victims or wives of soldiers — something missing from older war art.
Recollections of previous artists’ encounters with war are found in Jock McFayden's ‘Kurfurstendamm'. His wounded veteran standing before the Berlin wall recalls George Grosz's images from the time leading up to when the wall was built. Goya’s etchings are referred to in Ken Cum'e's prints which suggest. if anything, the repetitive nature of brutality from one century to the next.
Bill Woodrow’s sculpture, ‘Refugee‘. is ofa ﬁgure who while possibly escaping from physical wounding cannot escape the emotional wounding of losing one‘s home. But it is from the banal elements of plastic memorial wreath and family photograph that Rozanne Hawksley and Janane Al Ani create pieces which most effectively deal with the loss incurred in war. Non-monumental and understated, these address the mundane, unheroic task of living with such wounds. Al Ani, an Anglo-lraqi artist, considers the media’s image of the Gulf War ‘enemies’ in the context of that country’s rich historical legacy and her own family background while the wreath of white gloves placed hand upon comforting hand in Hawksley’s ‘Pale Armistice' freezes the gesture of empty sympathy upon which so many ofﬁcial war memorials are based.
I llo More Heroes Anymore RSA Black And White Room. until i2 Sept.
60 The List 27 August-9 September 1993