Dreaming Is Free
Edinburgh: Collective Gallery until Sat 14 Mar * it t *
Fantasy gets the better of Deborah Holland. While others dream of metamorphosing into full-colour gloss and appearing in 'at home’ spreads on the pages of Hello! magazine, Holland goes quite a few steps further. She gets on with it.
On the walls of Collective hang portraits of Holland in ecstatic delight. A pink feather boa is draped over her arms. She's wearing a shiny pink halter- neck dress and holds a shiny gold Oscar. A bundle of curls hangs onto her shoulders — in the three different versions, the Oscar winner is shown as blonde, brunette and dark-haired. Her eyes, lashes heavy with mascara, look upwards. She oozes her thrill.
It is all a play of course. Media- propelled personality veneration, movie iconography and showbiz stardom might excite the masses, but are all- too-frequently out of bounds to the average punter. In another set of glossy images, Holland — wearing a Madonna
Wish - l — Was by Deborah Holland
mask — is shown naked on a roadside verge. It is a tease on the woman who has undergone more reinventions than she has downed hot dinners.
In a more desperate moment, Holland is shown standing in Glasgow’s Argyle Street holding a placard proclaiming 'I Want To Be Famous’. It's tragi-comic to the last.
While Holland explores the cult of fantasy and self-promotion, Kate Daw looks into the case of the mislaid singer. The smooth, tiger-sleek Hollywood star Mario Lanza apparently once visited his relatives in the Scottish town of Wishaw. A sleuth with a mission, Daw put an ad in the Motherwell Times requesting further information. Could anyone recall Lanza?
On video, a Lanza-pretender belts out a hit on Stars In Your Eyes to full orchestral accompaniment. Elsewhere, in a series of video interviews, Daw asks twelve individuals if they have ever heard of Lanza. Some have a faint recollection but are oblivous to his whereabouts. The message is clear: you may be a star but you might not always shine. (Susanna Beaumont)
Glasgow: Glasgow Independent Studio until Sat 28 Feb r: ** ir
In the rafters above King Street in the city’s 'art quarter', the poster for Cupboard Love features a cute little skunk clutching a flower. Bitter sweet. Perfumed stench. Repellent attraction . . . each association is fitting.
Inside artist Leigh French (also editor of Scotland's culture paper Variant) does his best to repulse with Disney iconography. Familiar parodies perhaps but it’s difficult to know how to play them. His eight foot tall Astronaut Goofy is having a hard time. Threatened by three penis-like worms from Planet Weird, French manages to tap into our sympathy for unfortunate creatures. Overhead, a one-eyed
78 THE US'I' 20 Feb-S Mar 1998
version of Mickey Mouse smiles benignly.
Avoiding Americana, Jonas Eggen takes on Miffy in Untitled, a painting of a bunny in distress. Tied to a balloon and let loose, it floats alone, half-way up the gallery wall.
With Kevin Kelly, there is a serious prod at the psyche. In The Violence Of Returning Memory, a plastic elephant stands in front of a speeding car, projected on to the wall. Obviously the child Kelly suffered a traumatic safari experience in Africa many years ago.
Maybe Brigid Teehan's Rainbow will make things better. A lovely plastic horse with a colourful mane, nothing gets Rainbow down. Not even the threat of getting squashed by bigger horses or shredded by Godzilla — both of whom stand menacineg near.
Edinburgh: Collective Gallery until . Sat 28 Feb *‘ttt '- They are a motley bunch. Geekish-looking blokes in specs, women with a penchant for woolly sweaters and men fond of side-partings. In Moyna Flannigan‘s full- length portraits you get a sense of human diversity and selfconsciousness. If the figures were alive, you imagine they’d shift their body weight nervously from one foot to the other.
A year in Rome — on a Scottish Arts Council scholarship at the British School - has given Edinburgh-based Flannigan a sharper eye. Her exhibition at Glasgow's CCA in 1996 was populated by a host of women on the verge of some crisis or other. III-at-ease or sultry, they disarmed you with their honesty. In this show in the Collective's Project Room — the first since her return to Scotland last autumn - Flannigan gives us portraits of everyday Roman folk.
Painted from life. they are a cross- section of the types you might find on every high street. Abstracted from their urban context, the 24 figures stand in isolation, set against a blank white background. A woman with a big hairdo that doubtless required much back-combing and hair lacquer stares out. A middle-aged man wearing a peachcoloured outfit looks comparatively at ease.
As suggested by the show's title — When People Like Us Meet People Like You — you find yourself surveying, eyeing up and sizing up. Lined up along the gallery wall, the paintings are like figures taking part in a slightly different sort of identity parade. They seem anxious for recognition, though they know that full-on friendliness on first meeting may be too much to ask for. (Susanna Beaumont
When People Like Us Meet People Like You: a portrait by Moyna Flannigan
I Love This Life
Glasgow: Transmission Gallery until Sat 7 Mar **
In principle, everyone should want to feel love. By design or folly, this month's offering at Transmission makes this ideal harder to achieve. lLove This Life is the weakest of recent shows in the space. It's a strange, lopsided selection of work by seven artists working in video, painting, drawing, sculpture and text, which means there's no shortage of stimulation.
Jonny Reding's Video Frenzy is amusing. One features Mystic Malc’s telepathic Lottery forecast. In another, Reding's very pregnant wife does a great impression of Salome. Accompanied by the disco track Yes Sir, / Can Boogie, she shows she really can boogie.
Searching for more sparks downstairs, I stopped myself stepping on three cigarette stubs. They were in a neat semi-circular arrangement on the damp concrete floor. My foot hovered for a second. Were they part of the show? On this evidence lLove This Life falls short.
Glasgow: Lloyd Jerome Gallery until Thu 5 Mar tirir
With environment art hoovering up the global plaudits, other departments at Glasgow School Of Art (GSA) must feel genuinely neglected. Digging in and grabbing some editorial of their own making, recent GSA product design graduates have swept off the dust sheets and represented a selection of their final year work. The Lloyd Jerome Gallery — a cool space that doubles as a dentist's waiting room - is the perfect setting for swanky lines and tunkrneister curves.
Sitting side by side are Paul Pearson's Vettura Espresso and Robert Lennie's Chest Drain Fixator. Have graduates from the same course ever shown in such close proximity work so far apart?
Vetturo Espresso is a streamlined coffee percolator designed for speed and comfort - ’like a Ferrari’, Pearson's advertising blurb suggests. Next door, the Fixator could be used in the 'treatment of traumatic pneumothorax' and other dreadful sounding conditions.
With Kirsten Hough's space-age heater blasting nearby - it’s closer in resemblance to R202 than your typical bedsit companion - we must hope the group go further. As Paul Pearson suggests, the world would be a poorer place without the recent redesign of Motherwell's football kit. Exactly. Pearson's kit make-over is on show to prove it. (Paul Welsh)
Umberella design by Kirsten Hough