Circling the highways
From castles in the air to the great American outdoors. Yoko Terauchi and Lisa Milroy’s work is about life at home and abroad. Susanna Beaumont looks at the art of exploration.
First impressions are all-important io Yoko ’l‘erauchi. 0n arriving at the Fruitmarket she wandered around the gallery space and the surrounding streets. lt's crucial. she says. to do such a rcccc. to gauge an atmosphere and to check out the environs. Once the space is sussed she sets to and creates Air ('usI/r’.
The work occupies a corner expanse at the Fruitmarket. A stretch of graphite applied to the walls and ﬂoor ol'the gallery. it l‘orms two discs of metallic gun-metal grey that spreads up from the wooden ﬂoor to rise tip the walls. reaching a little way tip a girder column. to disappear at the point where the wall becomes ceiling. This is an incomplete circle of graphite.
‘lt's only part of what‘s beyond.‘ explains ’l'erauchi.
the Japanese. London-based artist. 'We can see only a tiny bit ol‘ the world. so here l don't give all the information. it may sound negative. btit it's
Urban setting: one of lisa Milroy’s london paintings
enjoyable.‘ says 'l'eratichi. in an adjacent room hangs a print of an elephant by the lls’th century artist llokusai. accompanied by an ancient Buddhist text. ()n the walls in large uppercase letters are a collection ol‘ words: Spike. Cable. Column. llcap . . .
This is 'l'erauclii's seventh Air (‘us/lr'. Each tailor- madc to the space she is working in. it's ati on-going dialogue with the ways ol‘ seeing and believing. Tcrauchi is not into giving explanations ol~ her work. .-lir ('usl/c is meant to be a provocative question mark. ‘This is not a w oi'ls' which represents any idea. it's tip to the viewer to realise what they want.‘ ’ct Tcrauchi does say that since coming to Britain in W79 she has been constantly caught by the tlll'lL‘l'CllCCs' between Western and Eastern ways of thinking. For 'l‘erauchi. the West is more dogmatic and judgemental and set on ideas ol‘ right and wrong. But everything is not always what it seems. l‘ccls Terauchi. and beyond there is probably more. Air (its/lo is what you make it.
l.isa Mili‘oy‘s 'I'rut'r'l l’uurlmgs. likewise hint at something more. Sometimes it is a slight brooding. an intensity ol' vision or intrigue. But taken slowly.
" her paintings ol~ London. Tokyo and the US are
extraordinary painted essays on thoughts on the familiar and the different.
.‘llllt'l'lt‘tlll Halli/try. comprises 28 small-scale paintings. Hung close together. they utter a panoramic picture of travel on the wide open American road. Like a road movie frozen in vibrant light. h'lili'uy catches a multitude ol~ views from the passenger seat: a sprawl of landscape. a curve of a bend. a camper van on the road. a car park empty save for one motor. Yoti sense that. enthralled. Milroy absorbed a near-iiiesiiierising collection of images as she cruised the highways. But though in the main the mood is resoundineg tip-beat. there is the occasional 'I'n-m l’r'riks-ish menace. Always tree of people. these landscapes are silent and unpopulated. yet evidence of the human hand is everywhere. One wonders what lurks beyond the railway sidings.
Milroy‘s Tokyo paintings utter a different mood. The brushwork is looser and faster and here what caught Milroy‘s eye were shop windows. Japanese calligraphy. shoes lel't iii a doorway. There is a sense of visual intoxication by the colour and the shapes of life in the Far liast. Whereas the paintings of London — Euston Station. Finsbui'y Square — have an intense painterly hyper-reality to them. Again no people appear. even the roadways and pavements show no sign ol~ human life. there's no litter. no gral‘liti. This is a stark picture of urban architecture.
Yet Milroy's paintings demand scrutiny. Everything from the size of canvas to the differing brushstrokes contribute to a sense ol‘either the mundane or the thrilling. These are far from scratch and snil'l‘ travel paintings -— bttt you do get the sense that alter viewing the show you have done a bit of travelling.
xlll' Cris/Ir and Travel Paintings are (ll l/lt’ I-‘ruilmurkr'l. Edinburgh ruilil .S'ulurrluy 27 July.
Flowers and waves
Air, water and change are important to Canadian photographer Michele lazenby. Graduating from Glasgow School of Art in 1994, she is now based in the city, has spread her wings and lived a little. Once a dancer and filmmaker, for the last eighteen months Lazenby has studied shiatsu,
clouds from Glasgow, waves from
Air, water and change: a photograph by Michele Lazenby
image but always contrast size, scale
more ‘blatantly political . . . with a very strong feminist bias.’ Although issues of sexuality and gender are still important, investigating an alternative route from oppressive classifications has been a positive move for Lazenby. ‘I am certainly not rejecting my politics,’ she insists, ‘but I am trying to deal with these issues in a less painful way. Previously, my approach was the equivalent of headbanging. This caused a lot at pain and frustration without necessarily showing a way forward. At the end of the day, fuck it! air and water exist. I don’t know an intelligent way of explaining this, but it feels more
and an exhibition of new work at Sheet Level clearly signals a new direction. I
‘For years I have been interested in complementary medicine and healing techniques - the Chinese understanding that physical, emotional, spiritual health are bound up together,’ says lazenby. Her work in a variety of formats - from large scale panoramas in black and white to tiny colour studies - fills the gallery with
Troon, flowers and bogs from Milngavie and, rather oddly, penguins from Calderpark Zoo. Grainy and atmospheric, each image can be treated as distinct, but lazenby hopes the mix of styles will have one very particular affect.
‘Changing formats helps draw attention to the way people scan images and interact with them,’ lazenby explains. ‘I try to work out what is appropriate tor each specific
and colour.’ Combining this with Chinese philosophy, which emphasises elemental forces and continual change in nature, a number of very small objects appear extremely large in this exhibition. “in a gentle way I am tricking people,’ she reflects, ‘but this gives the viewer access to a universe they normally could not reach. that is my intention.’ Guietly surprised by her new found attraction to the outdoors, lazenby describes previous work as
Something else Lazenby has Ieamt from Chinese philosophy is the importance of humour. ‘My work can be pretty serious but I like to sprinkle a few jokes around as well. When I was a kid, I wanted to be Jacques Cousteau. For my next project, I’d love to do some really wacky photographs
at the zoo.’ (Paul Welsh)
Michele Lazenby Is at Street level,
Glasgow until Sat 6 July.
The List 28 Jun-l I .lul I996