VICTORIA MORTON, CAROL RHODES and GRAEME TODD are not a rare breed.
Artists who paint. they are going from ? strength to strength.
Words: Susanna Beaumont
Take three artists who paint and ask them the = question ‘Is painting dead'.". The chances are you will i get short shrift. The question is as tired as old socks.
(iraeme Todd. Victoria Morton and Carol Rhodes
are three Scotland-based artists who paint. While
preparing for an exhibition at lidinburgh’s Talbot Rice. they debate the hanging height and position of
their paintings — ‘up a little. down a little’.
(’onversation kicks off with the old-timer: the death of painting. A few years back. it was an art world obsession. What with the rise of ‘new media’ and other threatening arrivistes on the art scene. painting was deemed a rare breed. Now all the silliness has calmed down. Artists paint —- end of story. As Morton puts it. ‘the idea that painting is dead. is totally dead.’
Morton. Rhodes and Todd are a diverse trio of
painters. They have shown in London and abroad and are now receiving deserved. high-level attention in Edinburgh. The show. curated by the gallery’s curator. Pat Fisher. is titled lntc/ligiblc Lies. The phrase is lifted from Milan Kundera’s novel. The Unlwarublc Lig/mwss (If’lieing: ‘On the surface an intelligible lie. underneath. the intelligible truth.’
For Todd the words are particularly apt. His
‘The idea that painting is dead, a is totally dead.’ Victoria Morton
Limbo land: Carol Rhodes' Picnic Site
paintings have a beguiling lushness. Heavily varnished. they hint at lacquered furniture of the Far East. Rich reds and a discernible landscape of trees and dwellings initially seduce. but there is a hint of something more menacing. ‘There is a potential for narrative. You feel people could be hiding behind the bushes.’ says Todd. ‘I suppose I am trying to get someone to spend time looking. The stare is repaid.’
In the work of Carol Rhodes there is a more intense psychological drama. Her paintings are a kind of birds eye view of the landscape. a limbo land between the urban and the rural — here a factory. there a field. ’There is absence of any ears.’ says Rhodes of her paintings which have the knack of teasing the viewer‘s sense of perspective and space. ‘I am getting away from any narrative. The scenes look as if they are actual places but they are made-up.’
Whereas Todd’s and Rhodes’ work is intriguing for its suggestion of sedated drama. Morton’s
paintings are vibrant. There is
heady sense of abandonment. Full-on shapes of colour crash and collide. but this is no crazy world of chance encounter. ‘ldeas of representation interest me.’ Morton explains. ‘there is no theme behind the work but the idea of nature.’
The artists also talk about how their work ‘fits’ into the Talbot Rice: how their work relates. how a sort of dialogue is established between the various paintings. With three artists involved. the exhibition hardly amounts to a ‘group show’. for it is more intimate than that. ‘l have found it awkward in a way.‘ says Morton. ‘but it’s interesting as there are visual similarities.’
Intelligible Lies is at the Talbot Rice Gallery. Edinburgh Sat 27 Jun-Sat 1 Aug.
Putting the artworld in the frame.
REAL-LIFE BABES are two a penny these days, but what about the plastic ones of yesteryear? Pippa, the leggy, long-haired doll that was big in the 705 is having a comeback with Viva Pipa. A photo- documentary of the life and times of this once ubiquitous chick, it's been created by artist Lara Russell. Catch the retro show at Edinburgh‘s Filmhouse. See listings for details.
SCOTLAND'S CALLUM INNES has won Britain’s largest art award. the £26,000 NatWest Art Prize. Innes. who removes paint from the canvas with the use of turpentine to produce pared-down abstracts, had a solo show at Edinburgh's Inverleith House in 1996. He is also to feature in the inaugural exhibition of the Ingleby Gallery. which opens on Wednesday 1 July. Edinburgh's newest commercial art space. it’s run by Richard Ingleby, art reviewer for The Independent. Setting out to offer an alternative to the 'white cube' space, the Ingleby serves up sofas as comfy viewing platforms for their shows of contemporary and 20th century British art. For info call 0131 556 4441. Artist Rose is also flinging open the front door of her home to host the occasional exhibition. In her first show, Miracles, the line-up includes the work of Edward Fellows and Annie Cattrell. For info call 0131 225 2294.
FURTHER AFIELD, CURATOR lain Irving is putting on this island earth at the recently refurbished An Tuireann Arts Centre on the Isle of Skye. Dalziel 8: Scullion, Roderick Buchanan, Douglas Gordon and Ross Sinclair are some of the artists taking part in a show that's billed as ‘focusing on concerns of location and identity by artists working in Scotland . . .'
EDINBURGH'S CAMEO CINEMA is continuing its art programme with an Open Exhibition during this year's Festival. Submissions are welcomed. For info call Duncan Ganley on 0131 228 9311.
Winning strokes: Callum lnnes. winner of Britain's largest art prize
25 Jun—9 Jul 1998 THE U3T 75