One of Britain's most accomplished artists, Callum Innes talks to Susanna Beaumont about colour and turpentine.
For all the world it looks like a tide of tol'l’ee has poured across the canvas and set. ‘But it's tablet.‘ jokes Callum lnncs. referring to the sweet Scottish counterpart. Actually. it‘s neither. lt‘s shellac. a resin. all shiny and golden. that has washed over the canvas. Speckled with tiny globules ol' blackish paint. the picture resembles an aerial shot: a constellation of islands oil a golden coastline. surrounded by a syrupy-coloured sea.
Callum lnnes‘s paintings are exquisite. Waiting to be hung. they lean against the white walls of Edinburgh‘s lnverleith House. The works are rectangles ol‘ intense colour on otherwise naked stretches ol‘ canvas. or streaked. rippled fields of colour.
Innes ol‘ten drips turpentine onto the canvas. to course through the paint. eat
away at the colour and leave a hairline crack ol‘exposed canvas or a faint residue ol‘ colour. In other paintings. rich colour is scared by drops of traps. The technique gives lnnes‘s paintings at l‘risson of tension - brilliant collisions of bold colour contrast with clean canvas or a whisper ol' diltrtcd colour. ‘This is the centre of the painting.‘ says lnnes. pointing to the meeting of a block ol~ bright orange with a faint wash ol' colour. l'ringed with a dark tidcmark and an expanse of bare canvas. ‘This is what holds it together.‘ Shortlisted ltil' last year's Tttrner Prize. as well as the more consciously conservative Jcrwood Prize.
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‘ Callum lnnes in situ
Edinburgh-born Innes is enjoying career success. And he holds his own. inhabiting the divide between traditional painting and contemporary art. yet he‘s not one to waste his breath on art deﬁnitions. ‘I am an artist.’ he declares. leaving the politics aside.
But he is keen to talk about beauty in art — currently a tad unl’ashionable. ‘I see no harm in using the word. Some things can be beautiful. and trying to achieve that is very important. But that beauty can be hard or tense.‘ He has achieved: his paintings have beauty.
I Callum lnnes lnverleith House. Royal Botanic Garden. 552 7 l 7 I. ll) Aug—(i ()ct. Mann-5pm.
Bronzing the spirit
Sculptor Jimmy Boyle makes no apologies tor his past. liow better known in America and Europe tor his art than his criminal record, one of Britain’s most debated artists is currently staging his tirst Fringe exhibition tor twenty years.
Boyle’s Bronzes: In Praise 0! The Iluman Spirit is the result of a reunion with Richard Demarco, curator of his tirst show in 1974. It teatures The Streets Where I live, inﬂuenced by Glasgow’s Gorbals, and War Zone dedicated to the memory at those killed in Bosnia. With titles including The Welder and In Times 0! Conflict, Boyle’s work is unambiguous: strong on emotion and muscular expression. ‘You know exactly what you are getting,’ Boyle explains. ‘lt hits you between the eyes.’
For Boyle, circumstances have
ranged irom serving up some hard treatment in Glasgow’s gangland back in the 60s, to co-tounding Gateway Exchange Trust in Edinburgh and working with people with HIV. In between, he was convicted tor murder in 1967 and released trom prison in 1982. Always the outsider, Boyle never
Bronzed emotions: No by Jimmy Boyle
received a tonnal art training but since encountering art in Barlinnie Prison’s Special Unit, he has continued to produce and transtorm.
‘ltrt was so tar from my lite, it was unbelievable,’ Boyle reﬂects. ‘Suddenly a damn burst, and tinding this creativity led to protound change tor me - a step up the ladder. Art opened up my masculinity - my violence - all oi that, but it was a long agonising process.’ So should people be reminded where today’s artist has come trom?
’l have moved on but it might still be
important,’ says Boyle. ‘We are living in a troubled world and there are ditterent ways at dealing with troubled situations. I hope to be a symbol at change. Things can move positively it people are allowed to develop their skills and talents. l have come through. I don’t apologise to anyone - I don’t whinge about the situation - I get on with my lite - but it we want to change this world, tirst of all we’ve got to change ourselves.’ (Paul Welsh) Boyle ’s Bronzes, Jimmy Boyle, The Demarco European Art Foundation ( Venue 22) 557 0707, until 31 Aug, Mon-Sat Ham—6pm; Sun 2-6pm.
I Callum lnnes A stunning setting for a show of early and recent paintings by Edinburgh artist lnnes. shortlisted for last year's Turner Prize. See preview. lnt‘et'lettlt House. Royal Hntantt‘ Garden 552 7/ 7/. until Sun 6 Oct. I Giacometti Celebrated creator of the bronze walking ﬁgure. this show charting Giacometti’s works from his early years to later life. is a blockbuster ol’ an exhibition. See review.
Scottish National Gallery Of Mmlern Art. 556 892/. until Sun 22 Sept. [4 (£2.50) .
I Jimmy Boyle Recent works in bronze by 80er that set out to ‘Praise The Human Spir'it‘. See preview.
The Deman'o European Art FUll/Irltlllmi 557 ()707. until Sat 3/
I llelen Chadwick A poignant show in the light other sudden death earlier this year. Slilletl Lit-es. shows Chadwick's exquisite photographs exploring the process of invitro fertilisation and a series of phorographic portraits taken in medical museums.
Portfolio Gallery (Venue 42) 220 /9II. Tue [1’ Aug—Sun / Sept. [/50 (75p).
I Reckoning With The Past An illuminating show of contemporary painting by ﬁfteen artists from China. Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Furl/market Gallery 225 2383. until Sat 28 Sept.
I Barbara Ess Debut Scottish showing for this New York artist. Involved with the post-punk music scene. Ess's large-scale images. made using a pinhole camera. are a haunting record of the everyday landscape.
Stills Gallery 225 9876. until Sat [4 Sept.
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