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()nc of a few art galleries tapping a wealth of talent emerging from Scotland's an schools. the Edinburgh Gallery is assured enough to call its showcase exhibition (irml [iv/recruit}ms.
lts choice is the work of three l graduates from Glasgow School of Art. who display a strong facility for drawing. technical skill and a confidence that belies their age. The show is impressive proof that the new
generation of young artists is more than , capable of building on the success of its
predecessors and sustaining the school's reputation for producing talented newcomers.
Michael Fullerton is inspired by researching the biographies of historical and scientific figures. Humphrey Davie is depicted as an adolescent boy half hidden behind his invention of the Davie Lamp. .\'1'e!:sr/ie Willi Cancer is equally weird. showing a bedridden. sickly and hairless boy looking like he‘s just had a huge dose ofchemotherapy. Fullerton‘s
pubescent nephew is his nmse. enabling;
him to explore his twin obsession with the development of the body and a historical period when the conflict between Rationalists and Romantics was at its height. l:tlllL‘l1t)ll‘.\' muted colour schemes. scraps of antique gold lettering and sparing rise of paint creates a translucent surface. complementing the frail. strangely angelic quality of his figures.
Johanna Logan‘s charcoal drawings and paintings are an intensely personal
attempt to come to terms with the death of her mother. who died of Alzheimer‘s disease while Logan was at art school. .-\ large painting of the artist and her sister has each holding personal reminders of their mother. What appear to be insignificant objects to outsiders
l are comforting references for Logan.
that trigger memories. A barely
discernablc shape floating in the
background turns out to be a brain scan.
Above is the graffitied scrawl of her ill mother‘s signature. Logan‘s
fascination with personal relics is also : evident in the small charcoal drawing of her mother's wedding dress.
hovering upright and empty like a ghost.
With velvety black pastel and
j charcoal. Suzannah llarper creates
drawings of claustrophobic and oppressive interior landscapes. Larger ;; than life sharp objects and parasitic insects threaten to pierce the skin or
Great Expectations: showcasing graduate talent emerging from Scottish art schools. The exhibition includes Johanna Logan’s Self Portrait (left) and work by Suzannah Harper (right).
suck the blood of a beautiful but catatonic young woman with huge
Bambi eyes and swollen lips. Sex.
3 guilt. religion and the narrow margin between pain and pleasure are symbolised by spiky underwear. spontaneously bleeding stigmata and swimming sperm. Suzannah‘s work has the strongest narrative but although exquisitely executed it is ultimately less intriguing because it fails to leave anything to the imagination.
The first year out of college is often a dodgy transition period with many young artists failing to make the leap from student to professional. This exhibition shows distinctly individual approaches to representational work — it looks as ifthese three young artists have a good chance of realising their potential. (Gill Roth)
(ireul [iv/m'mlirms is (H The [Silt/112111341 (fuller): Edinburgh until 25 Marc/i.
Plundering urban wastelands
Jock McFadyen’s etchings and lithographs depict an unglamorous landscape of tower blocks, disused factories and barbed wire. A small island in the Firth of Forth, a Berlin strip joint and seedy London alleyways are all typical McFadyen settings for images reflecting a fascination with cities blighted by industrial dereliction, war and politics.
The east London-based Glaswegian has been an established painter for more than fifteen years. The exhibition at Edinburgh Printmakers’ Workshop is the culmination of his experimentation and investigation into printmaking techniques at the fine art print studio, Pauper’s Press in Hackney, London.
A set of prints entitled Canal was inspired by McFadyen’s daily cycle ride to Pauper’s Press, taking him along a canal towpath frequented by
lonely human derelicts, glue-sniffers
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‘Leninalee': one of Jock McFadyen’s grim i depictions of urban brutality
g and winos. There’s Trevor, a snarling nutter with a naked lady tattooed on his chest and a demented, distant look in his beady eyes — the kind of loser that sits close to you on the night bus. Boss is a down and out who has really 3 lost the plot: a total spaceman drifting in a wasteland of rubbish. Donald Duck shows a bloated female figure smoking a fag against a wall baring the traces of a hastily graffitied cartoon.
Many artists tend to romanticise their attraction for low-life but McFadyen refuses to soften the blow
for his audience. There is no avoiding the stark reality of this urban scrap- heap and there is nothing sentimental 5 or noble about the economic status of ; his characters. The physical decay of g the surroundings is well matched by a ‘ depressing poverty of spirit in l Tosspots and Honces, where two ugly l yobs mouth racist obscenities against } a backdrop splattered with National Front signs, Union Jacks and football slogans. A reminder of the negative flip-side to multi-cultural London constantly in yer face in Saarf London shopping centres, the terraces at Millwall or a bus stop in Bennondsey. Admitting to a degree of ignorance about printing techniques, McFadyen is free to be inventive with the medium. His dynamically drawn figures against broad gestures depicting the layered textures of fly- posted walls, show he hasn’t let the conventions of printmaking dictate the results. However bleak the subject matter, it does not detract from the beauty of images that at their best combine the social comment of a Grosz print with the painterly surface of a Basquiet. (Gill Both)
Jock McFadyen’s prints are at the Edinburgh Printmakers’ Workshop and Gallery until 25th March.
Glasgow artist Ken Gurrie’s bold, figurative images of working class life elevated him to the status of local hero and internationally recognised artist. Some of those images are showing in a major exhibition of contemporary printmaking at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. He has come a long way since the heady days of the late 19803, but few realise it. Here, Currie describes the revolution which has since swept his canvasses clear of idealism.
‘The kind of work I was doing before, the emphasis was very much on drawing heavily delineated, almost graphic images. My work moved into new territory in 1989, when I began to paint through the line and it made the work more atmospheric. Before, the line round the figures represented a certain confidence - l was very sure of myself and what I was saying. You get older and become more cynical. It was a process of self-criticism I went through and the work began to become much more fragile looking.
‘It never ceases to amaze me that I’m always associated with socialist- realist work. I think it’s because the most public manifestation of my work has been in Glasgow’s People’s Palace. I wish the public was aware of‘ how far my work has moved on from those heady days. It’s now much more in terms of the individual mind as opposed to the collective thing.
‘lt’s only when you experience more of life you realise some of your ideals are delusory. There’s this myth I went to Berlin and was unhappy with the Berlin Wall coming down. i couldn’t bloody wait for it - seeing everyone chipping away at this horrible, monstrous thing. The questions I began to ask myself after that were a reaction to the triumphalism of the right wing, saying socialism is dead. I felt really down after that, but it wasn’t because of the Wall coming down, but a sense of failure at the whole predicament that began in 1917. l’ve come out of that.
‘l’m looking at the darker side of human nature, from domestic violence to war - the rise of xenophobia in the new Europe. What we’re seeing is the whole exhumation of all these old hatreds that have been buried for so long.
‘A lot of the human beings I’ve painted recently appear to have been through hell. I want to heal the wounds of that experience now — I want to paint a picture that’s positive, but not sentimental.’ (Kathleen Morgan)
Ken Gurrie’s work is showing in Contemporary British Art In Print at
the Scottish National Gallery of t Modern Art, and Prints From The t Paragon Press at the Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh.
The List 10-23 Mar “"5 51