marm— DEEP

Portfolio Gallery, Edinburgh until Sat 9 liov. Clement Cooper photographs people oi mixed race. Over the last three years he has worked in Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool and Cardiii, beiriending potential sitters ior his black and white portraits. A young girl with her bicycle, a young boyin his school uniiorm, a mother holding her small daughter: they all catch the viewer’s eye with a cool gaze.

cooper sets out to counter what is often viewed as an identity or cultural no-man’s land, frequently caught in a crossfire oi prejudice irom both black and white communities. Aiming to

iiead shot: one oi Clement Cooper’s photographs irom Deep

assert through his photographs the presence oi mixed race people, he

enters a politicallyWnsitive terrain."

Documentary in style, the portraits show children, adolescents and the occasional adult, oiten by themselves and in an urban setting. They appear detached and caught on the side-lines of lite - perhaps this is why Cooper’s photographs let you down. Stereotypes can be tricky to tackle, but Cooper doesn’t appear to tackle at all.

These technically good portraits are set in the race-conscious arena - the catalogue essay accompanying Cooper’s photographs explores the issues oi racial identity. But along with the label at mixed-race artist, Cooper rejects the need tor a political agenda and so tails to take a stand. (Susanna Beaumont)


Talbot liice Gallery, Edinburgh until Sat 2 Nov.

They used to brand them with the diagnosis ‘Monomanla oi suspicion under mesmerlc iniluences’ or ‘Furious mania with delusions and ambltlons’. To a modern audience then, it is perhaps no surprise that patients in mental asylums had something creative, and even extraordinary to say. But in the mid 19th century, the curative power oi art was only slowly being realised.

inner Necessity traces the history oi art therapy back to 1841, paralleling intriguing pictures irom that era with work by contemporary therapy patients. The exhibition’s core, however, is given over to Art Exhaordlnary, involving work by untrained artists based mainly in institutions and producing highly creative work without the aid oi art therapy.

Most striking are the curious socks, waders and halters made of grass and leaves which their creator, Angus McPhee, hid in the vegetation of the hospital where he spent most of his liie. The clear connection with work by establish!!! meta-notary artists _ like Andy Goidswortmlialienges the statusoiartistswithaiormaiand

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i r " .. l 1 r. Art as therapy: artwork on show In Inner iiecessity theoretical training. Yet Joyce laing responsible ior ‘discovering’ remarkable Scottish artists like McPhee, Adam Christie and Antonia .labloner, establishes a reverse art hierarchy in which only the truly ‘untainted’ artists quality as Art Extraordinary.

Even ii ‘extraordinary’ is in the eye of the beholder, much oi this exhibition is a tribute to the creativity oi many individuals. These paintings, drawings, comics and carvings, oiten inspired by illness and isolation, ofier iood ior

thought. (Tanya Stephan)


F rrrr'tmarker Gallery. Edinburgh tutti! Sat 23 Nov. Louise Cattrell paints landscapes. in fact. she and the Fruitmarket Gallery go to great lengths to ensure the viewer reads her works as such. leaving no room for the audience to draw their own conclusions. Cattrell‘s large canvases are an abstract. meditative response to landscape rather than an actual representation. it is a completer valid approach. brrt one that has as much to do with the genre of abstraction as with landscape painting. Painting the Scottish landscape from memory Cattrell grew up in Scotland but now lives in London - she explores ‘the defining qualities of land. sea and sky revealed by the transience of light‘. Her most recent painting Crawick

skilfully achieves this end. With the use of luminous blues and greens and an absence of any horizon. it makes for an atmospheric. all-enveloping musing on landscape.

Cattrell's place in the Scottish landscape tradition is made clear. The downstairs gallery is given over to 19th and 20th century landscapes painted by the ‘greats‘ ofthis tradition: Alexander Nasmyth. James Cowie and Joan Eardley among others. Selected by Cattrell as paintings particularly important to her work. it gives a historical. but perhaps limiting context in which to view her own paintings.

However. many of Cattrell's paintings are not as successful as Cruwick. Her brushwork and sense of light may be assured. but the exhibition as a whole falls short. Many of Cattrell's early works lack the qualities of light she aspires to reproduce. (Brock Lueck)


Glasgow School at Art until Wed 30 Get. What a hoot! What a gas! It’s lians iiichter time at Glasgow School oi Art’s iiewbury Gallery. Painter, iiimmaker and uninhibited artist ior the duration oi his lite, liichter was the archetypal modernist who sprinted through the 20th century in a whirl oi experiment, abstraction and surreal jokes.

iiis colleagues and collaborators over the years might have included Duchamp, Max Ernst and Cocteau, but ior playing with pure and corrupted ionn, layers at symbolism and sheer cheek, liichter is up there with the

best oi them.

Part oi Glasgow’s iiew Visions festival, this exhibition oi stills, illustrations and documentary photographs gives a good taster oi the Berlin-born artist who died in 1976. Viewing this exhibition oi liichter’s work in various media, undoubtedly the clearest message that comes across is his BIG personality.

The work shows an eye ior drama - in tact iiichter’s eyes repeatedly appear throughout the show - and his vision reveals an acute appreciation of how things are, whether he is commentating on social ioibles or physical realities. lie might have helped spawn the end of art as granny loves it, but he remains a style king. Many have iollowed his lead. (Paul Welsh)


Fringe Gallery, Glasgow until Sat 2 ilov.

People value objects for all sorts oi reasons. Susannah Silver’s Treasures - a collaboration with 56 local residents at Castlemilk’s Fringe Gallery - emphasises these difierences.

During her summer residency at the gallery, Silver asked people to turn up with their favourite possessions and be photographed. She recorded each individual’s story explaining the reason ior their special attachment to their chosen object. The result is an eye-boggling mix oi colour prints in

Favourite thing: a treasured belonging on public show at the Fringe Gallery


gold frames, proving there’s ‘nowt sae queer as other folk’.

United only by locality, this otherwise random cross-section of the population appeared with jumpers, football tops, a Mr Blobby collection, Russian dolls, ilike trainers, badges, jewellery, iabric and antiques. Visitors hear the recorded voices speak loudly and frankly of their cherished belongings. All very normal stufi perhaps, but exhilarating nonetheless.

The show goes beyond the realms oi aesthetic judgement and features a iew good ‘documentary’ photographs. Optimism is my personal vice, so no matter how dodgy the show looks, i’m there cheering the sentiment. (Paul

76 The List 18-31 Oct 1996