Sketches from the local visual art scene.
JUllAll SPAllllllG’S courtship oi controversy continues apace. The director oi Glasgow Museums is now under iire ior planned staii restructuring, which could mean reduncancy notices tor 55 people. Meanwhile, the stall under threat are putting up an counter-attack. The antl-Spalding camp has drawn up a list oi questions they want answered, together with suggestions tor alternative ways at saving money, and Is now distributing it among councillors. The battle lines are drawn. For lull story, see Agenda,
IF MUSEUM EMPLOYEES don’t get the answers they’re looking tor, they might try going to the GSA on Wednesday 19 February at 7pm. Here, at the Glasgow Visual Arts Forum,
Spalding and others, including Amanda Catto oi the Scottish Arts Council and Pauline Gallagher oi 1999 City of Architecture will ‘talk brietly about the lunction oi their organisation’. Could be interesting.
MOTUBWAY SERVICE STATIONS are not just a place to catch a cuppa these days. The Annandale Water Service Area on the A74M at Junction 16 in Uumiries will be unveiling a temporary artwork by Jan llogarth on 20 Feb entitled Dislocation Formation.
MEAllWlllLE Oll TllE M8, artist duo louise Scullion and Matthew Dalziel are doing their best to enliven the Whitburn stretch oi the Edinburgh—Glasgow artery. They are working on a 71ft stainless steel horn, which will emit a musical soundtrack. Guaranteed to prevent ialling asleep at the wheel, it might also put an end to the silent reverie oi goliers intently putting on the nearby course.
Julian Spalding: questions to answer
Rnyu/ Ila/ante (Jun/en. Edinburgh until Sun /6 Mar:
The media are becoming tiresome in their portrayal of the ‘science bofftn' as someone who‘s seriously sexy. but potent stereotypes such as the stodgy physics master live on. But science can prove unusually stimulating. even if it is an intellectual mineﬁeld. Consider the physics of light. We know that light can either illuminate space. reveal form or elevate the prosaic. And artists who use light as a medium often explore the
Light setting: a work by Adam Barker Mlll
mysterious symbiosis between perception and psychology.
l’ltotnsynthesis at lnverleith House is seriously sexy. and features the work of Adam Barker-Mill. widely acknowledged as one of the most interesting exponents in this field. Anyone who has seen the Fruitmarket‘s current show Nari/tern Ugh/s will be familiar with his sparse. abstract. light- based works.
This solo exhibition is the culmination of five years‘ work and contains a diverse selection of 22 pieces. demonstrating how an astringent economy of means can heighten our understanding of the visible spectrum. He adopts a minimalist approach. using both natural and luxuriating coloured light to create something profound and often sensual
The exhibition centres around a brooding installation. A room within a room. the dark space envelops the viewer in front of a slender aperture that ebbs and flows with colour. while an aural avalanche of electronic music ﬁlls the air. The work oscillates between the serene and the scary.
The subtleties of such a complex work cannot be absorbed by the casual viewer who drifts in for a few minutes after lunch - it demands serious attention. An amalgam of cerebral and conceptual. optical and spectral physics creates an ethereal ‘other‘ world. which at times transgresses boundaries between the real and the imagined. (Mark Cousins)
IEEHEEIIIIIIIIIIIII m GLUSE
Jam Internet (are. (ilusguw until Sun 9 Feb.
Java’s latest show should be retitled In 'Iim ('Iuso. All three artists display such levels of self—absorption that the viewer could be forgiven for thinking they'd gatccrashcd a private party.
Wendy Wilmun’s abstract paintings are formulaic and conservative. Displayed on distracting. see-through polythene walls. their worked surfaces rehearse tired allusions to ‘organic and natural objects'. Academic and introspective. they make no attetnpt to communicate to the viewer. Instead they are content to talk among themselves in a painterly language tnore appropriate to the 50s than the 90s.
Neil Cadoo‘s installation mimics the look of conceptualism: serial photographs of the sky. a stone displayed on a shelf. and a telescope focusing on an illuminated section of the wall. His aim is. ‘to draw attention to the similarities between the interior and exterior landscapes‘. The result. unfortunately is a sterile. bland environment. which only muter communicates these similarities.
Derek Sawer's work is ‘a response to what the industrial town of Clydebank
Rough Sketch: a drawing by Wendy Wilmurt
once was. and what it is now‘. His assemblages of found industrial objects are no doubt intended to communicate and commemorate the lost life of areas like Govan. However. by turning thetn into decorative an objects. he only manages to rob them of any sense of their previous social value. Like ancient relics in a museum. they become dead silent obiects.
This is a disappointing show. The understanding of the triangular relationship between artist. artwork and audience is tellineg absent. (John Beagles)
Collins Gallery, Glasgow until Sat 8 Feb.
While the experiences oi the majority at women have been trivialised in 20th century art, the experience of Glaswegian, working-class Catholic women has been systematically excluded. Patricia Macllinnon Day’s exhibition Shroud seeks to redress the balance.
Fascinated with the materials, smells and textures oi everyday liie, Shroud iinds her using the associative properties oi soot and carbolic soap as a visual and mental trigger to explore ‘the roles played in women’s lives by the work ethic, class and community’.
Entering the space, what is initially striking is the large monumental sculpture Shroud. An arrangement of
soot-encrusted sheets hanging irom beams above a rectangle oi white tiles, ior Macllinnon Day it is loaded with symbolic and metaphorical allusions. This precarious oppositional system represents both the never-ending battle tor a woman to keep domestic contamination (the ‘eternal enemy dirt’) at bay and — more abstractly - the notion oi iilth masquerading as sin, eager to corrupt the ‘gleaming white soul’.
In an artistic climate where it’s easy to believe women artists have achieved iull emancipation, it’s instructive to be reminded that the ‘bright young iemale stars’ oi today articulate only a traction oi women’s experience. While Macliinnon Day’s work shares their interest in the construction oi identity, she oiten seems to squeeze signiiication and meaning into her iorms. The result can be overly portentous, and at times slips into cliché. (John Beagles)
Wax lyrical: part at Patricia Maclllnnon-Day’s installation, Shroud
58 The List 7-20 Feb I997