Degree of Success

As the current Light/ram the Darkroom exhibition at the RSA shows, Scottish photographers played a fundamental role in the development of the medium. Along the road at Stills, it is the turn of recent graduates from our four art colleges to strut their stuff. Robert Montgomery takes a look.

The way things are in the art world right now you might expect sotne work about youth culture. some installation or video pieces from a crop of twentysomething graduates; instead this a pure photography show. Fergus Burnett's prints have a fortnal elegance - subtle compositions that tend towards deep black. Robert Johnston‘s photographs of photographs underline the medium‘s ability to ‘obiectify' memories to define them and perhaps even distance us frotn them.

When looking at still photography now. it's likely that we draw on our collective memories of cinema. Dominic Clark uses this to her advantage in black and white compositions that recall fragments of grainy old film stills. Being almost


Beaten to the punch: Closed Wards by Scott Burnett

abstract these are able to communicate the visual atmosphere offilm mn'r without the narrative baggage.

Edinburgh graduate Ruth Hurley presents large acid-coloured prints ofa domestic environment that carry a sense of panic. Patrick Jameson’s intimate studies of a student flat suffer slightly frotn untidy presentation. Hector Pottie‘s images of horses tend towards commercial illustrations.

Six small black and white prints by Scott Burnett stand out. These record the interior of two empty psychiatric hospitals near Aberdeen and eloquently

communicate the melancholy the anist

; has found in these spaces. These simple

prints provide the most memorable images from the show.

David Cowling has a deconstructivist approach in common with Robert Johnston who studied with him at Glasgow School of Art. Cowling has taken found photographs from an old album and reprinted them. turning a deep scratch into a graphic feature.

Watren Sanders has produced a monochrome pastiche of the colour spectrum. where all the variants are black but still marked ‘red' and ‘blue‘: neatly stacked jars of yellow oil obscure the images of his other photographs. Sanders' work is the only flirtation with ‘installation' in the show.

New Stills director Kate Tregaskis says it was important to make a survey of what was happening within photography as a distinct medium. She has noticed. since her move from Zone in Newcastle. that the influence of figures such as Victor Burgin -- widespread in England isn‘t as tangible up here. The possibilities for the development of the medium itt Scotland might be wide open. Stills has a role in this development not only as a gallery space but as an information centre and darkroom facility for independent photographers.

Bang: New Photography from Scotland at Stills Gallery. [Edinburgh until Sat 5 August.

All that


For most of us, an excessive display of

gold jewellery means little more than an acute case of more money than taste. For occupants of the 20,000 Malaysian, Indonesian and Philippine Islands that comprise South East Asia, however, jewellery went beyond decoration, and often dictated the way a person lived. Wealth, power and prestige were all reflected by the quality and quantity of adornments. Not to mention the extensive healing

and supernatural properties thought to .~.

exist in certain items, such as the Celang Sarung bracelet from Ilorth

Sumatra, decorated with appliqué gold 1

thread, spiral designs and gold balls, used as a protective amulet by men to rid them of bad dreams.

0n tour from its usual home at the Barbier-Mueller Museum in Geneva, Power and Gold consists of 250 gold ornaments each playing a different and vital role in the lives of those who wore them. A curved, snake-shaped brass head decoration which when polished supposedly reflected back the weapons and evil influences of attacking warriors is a good example

I I of this. I i

Cold mamuli from East Sumba

Apart from the obvious trade uses of gold, in societies where marriage was seen more as a political than a

l personal alliance, the exchange of

! gifts was paramount in demonstrating appreciation and respect. In a complete reversal of the Western

: dowry scenario, in East Sumba the

t bride herself was seen as a gift and

the groom responded accordingly with gold chains, horses and other items associated with masculinity. For the ceremony itself, a gilded Serial! composed of several gold and red ornaments, mounted on red cloth, would be worn over the head dress,

t often with small metallic spangles

t hanging down over the bride’s forehead, shielding her eyes on either side, reminding her to keep her attention fixed firmly on her husband and not let her gaze wander.

Most of the objects on display originate from the late 18th and 19th centuries, and despite their delicacy, were definitely built to last. Passed down through generations, the motifs and decorations reflect the lives of those who made them, and it is this originality that the curators hope local designers will pick up on. Equally inspirational are the twenty or so ceremonial textiles on display, all hand-made and embroidered using silk, cotton, sequins and beads in intricate detail.

At present, there is nothing resembling Power and Cold anywhere in the UK and as such this is a unique opportunity not only to view some impressive craftsmanship, but to gain insight into some of these lesser known cultures. (Kelly McMenamin) Power and Gold at The Royal Museum t of Scotland, Edinburgh until 12 1 November.

Exhibitions are listed by category, then alphabetically by city and venue. Please send details to our offices at least ten days before publication. Art listings compiled by Kelly McMenamin.

I ART EXPOSURE GALLERY l9 Parnie Street. 552 7779. Mon—Sat I lain—6pm. Summer Show Fri 28 Jul—Until 23 Aug. New work by gallery artists based on the theme of summer. featuring Campbell. Borland. Bain. Farrelly and many tnore. Also an exhibition of ceramics. jewellery and sculpture.

Art Exposure at Central Station Until 26 Aug. Mon—Sat 10am-6pm. Unit One at the station plays host to the line selection of glass works produced by degree students at Edinburgh College of Art.

I ART GALLERY 8t MUSEUM, KELVINGROVE 221 9600. Mon-Sat 10am—5pm; Sun Ham—5pm. Cafe. [D]. Voluntary guides are available free of charge to conduct parties or individuals round the main galleries. Ask at the enquiry desk.

Bonnie Prince Charlie: Fact And Fiction Until 27 Aug. Commemorating the 250th anniversary of the Jacobite Rebellion is this display of weapons. costumes. paintings and documents. dispelling some ofthe myths behind the legends.

Out Of Mind, Out Of Sight Until 3 Sept. Bringing mental illness out of society‘s shadows. this multi-media exhibition examines attitudes to mental health in Scotland l790—I995. from the days of quack remedies to today‘s care in the community policies.

Drawn From Wild Places Until 26 Aug. Original art work from the TV series by Derek Robertson.

Young People’s Art Competition Mon 7 Aug—25 Sept. This annual event draws around 3,000 entries of considerably high standard from budding young artists in Strathclyde and Central schools.

I ROGER BILLCLIFFE FINE ART I34 Blythswood Street. 332 4027. Mon—Fri 9.30am—5.30pm; Sat l()atn—lpm.

Mixed Exhibition Until I Aug. Two memorial exhibitions chronicling the works of Sir Robin Philipson and unique Scottish painter James Cunttning.

Trends Until I Aug. Recent developments in contemporary applied arts using glass. ceramic.jewellery. metal and wood. Mixed Exhibition Tue I—-3l Aug. Mixed media exhibition by gallery artists.

I BURRELL COLLECTION 2060 Pollokshaws Road. 22I 9600. Mon—Sat l0am—5pm; Sun I lam—5pm.

Jean-louis Forain: The Impressionist Years Until 3 Sept. A selection ofwork by the painter and caricaturist Jean-Louis Forain. a colleague of Degas. This exhibition focuses on the Paris high life of the l870s and 80s with it‘s cafe society. balls. opera and ballet.

I CCA 346—354 Sauchiehall Street. 332 752]. Mon—Sat l lam—6pm (Thurs/Fri until 7pm). Cafe. [D].

00 It Until 29 Jul. An innovative touring exhibition featuring the work of twelve artists. involving Glasgow SClIOOlClilldfCll. ajeweller. a doctor and members of the CCA's own audience.

Ansuya Blom Sat 5 Aug-16 Sept. Paintings. drawings. sculptures and films make up this Amsterdam-based artist‘s extraordinary exhibition. which covers such wide-ranging ground as suffering. death. dreams. phobias. fantasies. control. obsession and ritual. See lectures.

I COLLINS GALLERY University of Strathclyde. 22 Richmond Street. 552 4400 ext 2682. Mon-Fri l0ani—5pm; Sat noon—4pm. [D]. Closed l4—l7 Jul.

The List 28 Jul- l0 Aug I995 51