Edinburgh: Royal Botanic Garden, Sat 21 Jun—Sun 27 Jul.
Richard Tuttle is difficult to get hold of. After calls to the States — including a 'sorry, ma'am, I think you've got the wrong number' conversation with a chap in the vicinity of Santa Fe — he's traced to a hotel in Switzerland. But still not directly contactable, save in the form of a couple of messages on the answerphone. ls Tuttle enigmatic, I wonder, or just busy? But enigmatic would be more fitting. It's a word often used to describe his work.
Other words include 'ephemeral', 'modest', ’informal' and ‘inconsequential'. Since the 605, the American artist has been making agglomerations of everyday bits and pieces — polystyrene, plywood, pieces of paper and string - to create 3-D collages that appear to be haphazard. But, rather like a musical score that veers towards the atonal, there is something intriguing about Tuttle's work. You are not sure where it’s going, or how to react to it, or whether it is as ’simple’ as it seems.
But the intrigue goes on. In his solo show, Grey Walls Work, which transfers from Camden Arts Centre to Edinburgh's Botanics, Tuttle has seen to it that the usually bright white walls of lnverleith House are
painted what could best be described as a cross between pavement and pearl grey. Why? Because Tuttle wants to alert us to the permanence of the walls, or what he calls ’universal consciousness', while his arrangements of bits and bobs represent something more specific, yet insubstantial. The connection between the two is all- important to Tuttle. As he puts it: ’The area where the specific and general link is where art can get us.’
To that end, Tuttle's work is somewhat theatrical. The
Russell Crotty's Atlas Of Deep Sky Drawings
Jonnie Wilkes and Russell Crotty Glasgow: Transmission Gallery until Sat 5 Jul. In the best tradition of the space, Transmission takes another surprising turn this month The gallery is hosting a most unlikely two-man show featuring sculpture from local DJ Jonnie Wilkes and drawmgs by Malibu resident Russell Crotty
Crotty IS a tanned surfer who lives on a mountain overlooking the Pacific. He shares a farmhouse With his wrfe and
spends his time watching and drawmg tluastan, VdeeSis Mrnn Nrnthern Ireland, rarer breathes fresh air and probably lives in a tenement ’lt’s only in the last few years that I’ve been Willing to admit riiy lifestyle and let it become part of my work,’ says Wilkes. 'I live and work at night in interior spaces.’ A trained sculptor, Wilkes also DJs in Glasgow dance clubs Nocturnal deck-work keeps him occupied through the week and the show reflects this cultural immersion
For Wilkes, his giant si ulpture of the
Richard Tuttle's Source Of Imagery 1
grey walls are the set, his work the players. The play's mood courses from the banal to metaphysical depths. Which, if we are honest, is what life’s all about. Tuttle once said in an interview, 'You can’t see black and white simultaneously within the confines of life. I enjoy every single moment and there are many, many pleasures in life. But ultimately, life sucks, because you can't get what you want, ya know?’ Yes, we know what he’s getting at. (Susanna Beaumont)
letter ’O’, constructed from thousands of Rizla papers, has 'hallucrnatory’ qualities The well-established trance resonances of the sign, and the repetitive licking and sticking required for its construction are overt references to drug rituals.
'I want to be inVisible,’ says Wilkes, 'but I still hope the work challenges what’s happening in contemporary art. l’m involved in a community that SltS up all night and listens to repetitive music for hours. Although we gather in large groups, we are still isolated. Everyone has very private ideas and a lot of my work is about this isolation.’
The same cannot be said for Crotty. An amateur stargazer for 30 years, he became a painter after graduating in the 805, but switched to drawmg Choosing the universe as his subject, he’s produced a series of enormous star and planet atlases. ’l’ll sit and draw Jupiter for two hours,’ he says. 'Then maybe I’ll swrtch to Saturn rising or some clusters in between There’s paranoid stuff as well' military satellites ~ things like that '
But what actually brings these two diverse artists together? ’We have common ground although the work looks vastly different,’ says Wilkes 'It’s our relationship With the world it's what goes on inside our heads , it's soul,’ (Paul Welsh)
Edinburgh: Collective Gallery, until Sat 21 Jun *‘k‘k
Clara UrSitti's exhibition stinks, and she knows it. But since her art is based on smell, it could hardly be otherwise. Often recognised as our most prehistoric sensory attribute, smell is experienced in the ancient, reptilian part of the brain. Hence its power to stimulate our most emotional and atavistic feelings.
In collaboration with olfactory expert Dr GeOrge Dodd, Ursitti has started a dating agency, Pheremone Link, based solely on smell compatibility. Ursitti probes the personal and cultural connotations of smell and its relation to identity. The agent, pheromone — 8.0. to you and me -- is the naturally secreted odour of our bodies.
Various sample smells are on offer, squirted out from nifty (and wiffy) wall- mounted electrical fans. The smells are taken from volunteers in Dodd's investigations and function as alternative olfactory ’portraits’ of people. An original idea but one that needs to be more clearly worked out as an artistic, rather than purely cultural project. (Marc Lambert)
Edinburgh: Talbot Rice Gallery, until Sun 6 Jul * ** *
In this retrospective, the late William Johnstone proves to be an artist in touch with two worlds: the Borders countryside of his youth and retirement, and the r'nutating landscapes of his own mind. This show to mark the centenary of Johnstone's birth Witnesses these two worlds colliding to reveal a dramatically unique style that’s allied to abstraction and surrealism but also rooted in the Scottish tradition.
His early landscapes are sombre, full of shadows and obscured light. It is the territory of the wandering soul. Human figures emerge from amorphous shapes and seem to echo Dali’s exploration of the subconscrous.
Actively painting up until his death in 1981, Johnstone displayed the full force of his passion and energy in vast post-war landscapes. Explosrve colour swirls like ripples, as in Border Red, which is both majestic and fiery.
Johnstone, who trained at Edinburgh College of Art and went on to spend time in Paris and London, remains a powerful and intensely evocative artist. (Paul Smith)
Johnstone‘s Landscape With Haystacks
13 ~76 Jun 1997 THE U3T87