IN THE FRAME ART THERAPY
Before and after Bosnia — a simple . . division in lain McColl’s recent past, but one which has transformed his work and outlook on life. Before, he
was a sculptor known for his
witticisms, puns and intellectualisms. ' . After going to hell and back, he Trongate SIUleS IS
wonders where he will go next. unique in Scotland. It offers to people who have suffered from mental ill- health the chance to make art. Gill Roth spoke to Sean Taylor, the man
behind the pI‘OJCCi . Trongate Studios: ‘everyone has the creative potential to be an artist' The huge open-plan structure. superb more people suffering from stress. But resource. partly because it’s very natural “gm and high ceiling of i don‘t ask them what their problem is. successful at preventing people from Tmngaw Studios are instantly if they want to tell me they will.‘ returning to hospital and because the When he agreed to accompany inspiring it immediately looks ripe a Tire project is aimed atpeOple who cost of the project is peanuts compared Britain’s ofﬁcial war artist Pete, gm“ plagc to mapc my Trongaw ,5 are back in the community. For some. to keeping someone in an institution, Howson _ his friend of We've years _ also a un-lqug‘projcct m Scotland the hardest parrot returning to socrety says Scan. . m “mm” Yugoslavia, lain Mcco" : became n Dim-S [0 people who have is the lack of structure. “Sean works on Most of the artists at Trongate have "named an "Morgettab'e “patience. ; experienced mental health pl-oplpmg the principle of iacrlitation rather than had no formal an training but recently What he discovered was free studio Space, “mm-ink rumon and direction. Some people find it very . Sean has had an ever mcreasrng i the Opportunity to work with difficult not being told what to do. it number ofreferrals from the art school
unimaginable, something he tries to
holds its own, giving a vision of often faceless people in the stranglehold of the dirtiest of wars - civil war.
exposed to it. ()0 per cent of the time it mistakes without fear of passing or just happens and it‘s very spontaneous. failing. Sean is adamant that the work
making art on a more permanent basis. Sean is the only full time staff
put into words but is more com'omble 5 professional artists. they‘re busy 1 leave them alone. But system. ‘1 see a lot of students who . . I ‘ ; Trongmc Studios is run 1,), Scan l'm here to offer encouragerirent and can't cope with the competitive nature expressrngonpaperorinscupure. , a _ ‘ ,_ ‘. g. , fl I ‘ ) . . , Taylor 115 an onghoor‘ sci up to sorrretimes constructive criticism. 0 art sc tool and the pressure to get llls charcoal images of tortured . v . . i . , , . . V y _ ‘ _ . . ﬁgures ‘8" the 0th" ha" 0' Howson,s complement [hc work 0t project i frongate Studios prov ides a sale and results. Here everyone starts off at the widely_publicised story . Ability. a multipurpose ill-[5 i supportive atmosphere for creation same point. it‘s about self motivation Mcco" and "owsonrs Bosnian work is I organisation whose mum is to make an ' through experimentation. it‘s a bit like not getting a degree.‘ . being shown side by side tor the ﬁrst E more accessible to people I a continuous art l‘t)tlli(lilll()li year. Sean is verydisparaglng of the way time in a muting Show beginning a‘ 3 disadvantaged by ugc‘ disability and ; There s loads of rrralerials. trips to an education is taught. with it's Kilm'amock,s nick Immune. some 0' social circumstances. While working exhibitions and visiting artists‘ I emphasis on churning out .‘cynical, Howsonrs most powem” war images I with project Ability. Scan saw the need 1 workshops. ‘l bcllec everyone is young entrepreneurs wrth instant , ? to provide a place for people with l creative and has the potential to be an messages.‘ At Trongate, people are are there, but McColl s work easily , r , . a H . . g .I ‘ . 1 mental health problems [0 commuc i (lltlsi, says Scan. ()nee‘ they 16 eneouraged [0 experiment and make . . - . . a - - I ui‘k; dlioi‘tt.' ' ‘ e ‘ 3ming in a Glasgow cam, Mcco" member at Trorrgate. Asa sculptor and I <1 L .m. O ~ O ~ ‘ produced the-re isnot a product ofart recalls his feelings when he mam", cx-an teacher mm no [rmmng in any : At present Trongate Studios is funded therapy and refrains from talking in stepped into another world with medical capacity he is very clear about by the Scottish (mice but it‘s hoped those terms. ‘lt's a model of good
that the Greater Glasgow Health Board mental health practice bill also a model will contribute as many of their clients of good an practice.‘ benefit from the scheme. ‘The medical Artt'stsfmm Trmlgate Studio will be
the parameters of what he can do. ‘There are people with manic depression. clinical depression.
lloswon, who was on his second visit to Bosnia. ‘Peter was actually quite prepared,’ he says. ‘lie had for years
been working with citrcenue addiction problems, and personality profession keep tabs on the people taking part in Out OfMt'nd Out Of disorders and we‘re getting more and here. They say it is an essential Sig/it until Sept 1995.
deprivation. In a way he had that sort of language already. I hadn’t a clue
what I was going to do. I decided I r
I would just draw, but I didn’t know i
Leaving the war-reporting to the r media, McColl concentrated on conveying the intense, confused ; d emotions which fired everyday life in 0 s the war zones. In one memorable charcoal drawing, the muscular bodies if you regard the world of toys as one
good always triumphs and bad guys are always killed.’
Levintbal turns that idea on its head in his often disturbing images - in Mein Kampf, powerful figures hold the lives of others in their plastic hands and Desire smacks of sexual slavery. Speaking of the Japanese sexual fantasy dolls, he says: ‘I wanted the
of father and son are entwined, but of innocence and childish playfulness, View" to he h°ttitied and tahmtlsed pulling in opposite directions. ‘This think again - flew York artist David at the same tlme- These are physically war is about families,’ says McColl. Levintbal has dragged them out of the heftutitUI images, but 0t something ‘You’ve got intermarriage between closet for good. qmte h0ttlhl8-’ . .
Orthodox, catholic and Muslims, so In the first British exhibition of his - . The tinal irony Is that levmthal is the you do actually get fathers and sons, work, oark light, showing at Tovinri with power: An image from manipulator. creating a fantasy world
brothers and uncles fighting against Edinburgh’s Portfolio Gallery, "3"" “mm” mi" “amt” '07 htmse't and his atldtehce- The?“
each other. l can’t see them forgiving levinthal explores an adult world of curvaceous dolls manipulated into something about this that ""993 hi
themselves after the war. There will sex, cruelty, racism and stereotyping. l model-like poses and in Desire, 3" 0t "3” he 5818- ‘lt’s to do With a
have to be, I suppose, a period of Using tiny plastic figurines frozen in ' Japanese sex fantasy figures are sense 0t conttht- "1 3 W0!“ 0t this You
entrenchment.’ timeless photographic statements, he ' shown through a blurred lens. 3'9 the conttotlthﬂ “"08, You are the Visiting Bosnia has undoubtedly left reveals a dark domain characterised Levintbal has been photographing 0" Who 9"“ them the. V0" 3'9
its mark on McColl. Whether he will by manipulators and victims. dolls for twenty years and has a BmPOWBtihg that"-
return to commenting on life in Drawn to the shadowy realms of ’ conection oi his own_ He dismisses ‘Toys are not benign, They are
Scotland, its people and architecture history, Levintbal plays on the style of the notion of toys as benign objects Sitth'S 33 "WCh 33 the Plastic
through his sculpture remains to be film noir, using dolls to mimic and linked solely to childhood. ‘Toys are tehﬂthus "ﬂutes 009 8888- YOII Wt 80
seen. ‘I was thinking: should I just dramatise reality. Mein Kampf ' not as innocent as we portray them to “"10" 0t 10"? 0*" emotion 'hth thOm
PtCK Ill! Where I left off?’ he says. ‘I portrays the chilling power of Hitler’s be,’ he says. ‘To me, they have always that they "00"? "W9ch Shhptf have a big difficulty with that. Bosnia reign - uniformed dolls point toy guns been a way that society socialises its P'aSttc Ohlttcts- has changed all my reference points.’ at figures lined up against walls and children. A lot or the toys I remember Ptepate to 500 Action Matt and
(Kathleen Morgan) flesh-coloured plastic is splayed from my childhood were a re-creatlon Bath“ “1 a dmemht "th- (Kathlatm Message From Bosnia: Peter llowson beneath the gaze of tiny, brutal of society’s history. The military sets MOTH“)
3"“ '3'" meet)" '3 at "'9 nick Wtdtefs- ht Amettcah Beautlasr always had the US winning, of course. Dark light is at Portfolio Gallery, lh8ttt|lt0r Kllmathoc" lint“ sat 4 Mi“- cosmettc beauty '8 captuted by There is the sense of a world in which Edinburgh until 25 March.
64 The List 24 Feb-9 Mar 1995