Birgir Andrésson

Edinburgh: Collective Gallery, until Sat 1 Mar. Birgir Andrésson’s Portraits: Icelandic Colours perhaps puts a new slant on life on the Atlantic island, a country renowned more for its landscape of lava and geysers than colour. In the Collective's Project Room, the Icelandic artist has created a colour- rich installation. Stretches of flat colour have been painted directly on the walls. They appear to be giant paint colour-sample cards - there is even a reference code in the left hand corner. Andrésson calls them ‘colours of Icelandic culture.’

An affable wolf of a man, with humour that could melt any Arctic glacier, Andrésson was born on the volcanic Westman Islands, off the south coast of Iceland. After studying art in Reykjavik and Maastricht in the 705, he worked primarily as a designer on Iceland’s only fashion magazine.

Always fond of colour, Andrésson was further inspired to get colour- conscious by reading up on colour supremo, Jackson Pollock. 'I realised that it is possible to have Icelandic colours and to make something count for Iceland,’ says Andrésson. However Andrésson admits that his paintings are not always compatible with his fellow Icelanders. 'They are not the sort thing that goes down well in Iceland, where people are not well informed,’ is the way he puts it. Yet he won the accolade of representing Iceland in the 1995 Venice Biennale; and this is his first solo show in Britain. Could he be the Bjork of Iceland's art world?

Growing up in a fishing community with little exposure to television, Andrésson found the landscape around him was the crucial influence on his work. His unmodulated

Icelandic Colours: offering a new slant on a landscape of lava

expanses of paint mossy green, orangey reds are portraits of the landscape, the ultimate in a distilled essence of mood and place. The screenprinted text panels that accompany the colour blocks are a written-word equivalent. 'They show what happens when you stand in front of a person and describe them as clearly as possible,‘ says Andrésson. 'Maybe it's a little old- fashioned . . .'

Far from it. 'He is boorish in build and plump faced . . . ' is one line. Another reads, ‘He chews tobacco a lot and

spits on the floor, and takes pride in how far he can spit.’ With a line like, 'As the day progresses he’s invariably l drunk,’ you clearly get the picture. (Paul Smith) I

Th. «mum's. is discovered Only at the posh? of boloncl between the {areas of concurrent»! lddrspcru'on:

Hands on: one of Davie's monochrome drawings


Davre has almost reached that status of grand old man of Scotland he has been billed as Scotland's greatest post- war artist. But, though he was born in Grangemouth in 1920, and trained at Edinburgh College of Art, it would be foolish to abstract a Scottishness from his work. Besides, Davre is a traveller —. a hunter, gathering ideas and for years has lived in Hertfordshire.

One thing is for sure, he’s prolific. He says he has to produce a dozen drawmgs a day. And on show are many drawrngs not seen before, pulled apparently from the depths of cupboards. Yet though drawing is no longer seen as just a warm-up process before tackling the canvas, a bit of judicious pruning would have made the show more hard-hitting. Some dreams can drag their heels.

Influenced by American Expressronism, Davre's work is also touched by Klee and Miro. Some of his most successful works are the pencil and coloured crayon drawrngs from the 505. Fluid lines describe fantastical, cra2y figures with both busts and wrilies.

His later work, however, can be overcrowded. Drawing on imagery from the hieroglyphic evrl eye, Aboriginal decoration, Prctish forms and the

I i


Alan Davie

Edinburgh: Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art, until Sun 20 Apr.

Wander around this show of drawings by Alan Davie and you may feel you've strayed into a monochrome, surreal dream world. Room upon room IS filled

88 TIIELISI’ 21 Feb—6 Mar 1997

With Davie's black gouache drawings on white paper, making a bizarre landscape of figures and forms, decoration and doodles. Some are grotesque: necks are stretched and breasts hang large. Others seem calmer, including a kaleidoscopic vision of a middle-eastern township of higgledy-piggledy

occasional dash of Spanish text, the work can be indigestible: a melee of eclecticism.

The exhibition includes a room filled with Davie's paintings. Large scale, with curving broadstrokes of colour, they are a breath of clearer, brighter air. (Susanna Beaumont)

The Lost Ark Glasgow: CCA, until Sat 8 Mar.

The Lost Ark is the latest incarnation of that highly desirable art world commodity. the themed group show Curated by a hired gun, Featuring the work of a gaggle of artists, collectively taking a gander at the relationship between humanity and nature, it is the offspring of the highly-evolved scholar, Francis McKee.

The Lost Ark isn't a show b0i|rng over with rage at trans-national corporate acts of eco-destruction. Instead, it aims for a reflective, thought-provoking approach, meditating on how representations of the animal world allude to 'deeper concerns about sooety and nature '

Unlike McKee's prevrous CCA package, Phenomenon, many of the works in The Lost Ark avoid the pitfall Of Simply illustrating his schema. Coupled With the siriiultaneous showcasing of animal-related vrdeos by other artists (William Wegman is the highlight) and a season of mainstream monster blockbusters at the GFT (Jaws, Piranha and others), this ensures that The Lost Ark is a show worthy of the attention of Scottish primates. (John Beagles)

Delphine Charazac Glasgow: The Lloyd Jerome Gallery, until Thurs 6 Mar.

Hanging in the gallery on Glasgow's Bath Street which incidentally doubles as a dental practice ~ is Inso/rinia, a collection of paintings by a

French seventeen-year-old Delphine

Charazac. At times she uses a striking palette of colour and some simple, effective drawrng, while other works betray her age and lack of experience. She, has apparently decided not to go to art college.

Atmospheric portraits like What Do You Want? and In Books He Reads Of Violence wander through adolescent anxreties and attitudes. Charazacs cubist-Iike figures, on the other hand, are less attractive, lacking focus and technique.

But the venue itself is high on novelty. Recently relocated from its old Virginia Street premises, rt offers cool music, CD-ROMs to play on and an

abundance of comfy couches. Only the occasronal WhIZZ of a dental drill prevents one from being completely enamel/ed by the setting. (Paul Welsh)

Young thing: Charazac's portrait of an adolescent