ART reviews


Edinburgh: Caledonian Hall, Royal Botanic Gardens until Sat 1 Aug rite

Everyone has been mesrnerised into imagining freaky happenings in the fireplace. And, no, we're not talking some drug-induced, hippy trip, In his first solo exhibition in Scotland, Edinburgh College of Art graduate Oliver Marsden draws us into his world of 'Virtual 3-D IigUicJ sculptures' where nothing is quite what it seems With a lingering gaze, the simple shapes metamorphose and take on new forms.

Drawmg influence from science and the technology of our age, as well as from club Culture and its music, the large-scale paintings -- in peppermint greens and powder blues —- seduce the viewer's eye and, by skilfully eprOiting our focus, force us to confront the SUbJC‘CIIVIIy of reality As such, what was simply a canvas of blurred bluish dots or agua blotches takes on the form of a liVing, movrng object of nature Indeed life breathes from beneath the smooth surface of every painting They suggest the swell of the ocean, the pulsing of a plant in bloom, the dancing of the clouds or the shifting of dunes.

Artist Oliver Marsden in his studio All natural life, be it the vast expanses of galaxres or the minuscule detail of the indiVidual cell, is placed under the microscope as in the ordered chaos of Monomorph, which could equally be the representation of an organism on the sea-bed or a vapour trail in the sky Complemented by the lush setting of the Botanics, Marsclen's OT()<JTII(_ abstract envuonrnent makes for hypnotic and fascmating vrewmg, more akin in substance to a nature documentary than to your traditional still life (Claire Prentice)

Little Sparta

Edinburgh: National Portrait Gallery until 29 Nov a as a:

A show of prize blooms and a couple of gnomes are about as creative as most of the lesser green-fingered ilk get. Not so for renowned artist Ian Hamilton Finlay, whose modern verSion of a neo-classical garden, lying to the south of Edinburgh, is studied here in a series of monochrome prints by Robin Gillanders Taking us on a gtiided tour Of this carefully constructed wonderland, observed over several years and through the changing seasons, Gillanders takes up the artist’s preocmipation with the relationship between nature and culture

Close-ups of minute details of plants, flowers, trees and the loch at the back of the garden are combined With

84 THE “ST 23 Jul 6 Aug 1998

Untitled from the series of photographs. Little Sparta by Robin Gillanders

humorous pieces. These include the series of headstones and milestones inscribed With messages like ’Fragile', 'Bring Back The Birch' and 'Way Faring Tree', while flagstoiies before the loch display the words 'Order' and 'Disorder'. Other shots explore the inside of the house like the evocative 'Summer Afternoon' and 'Boatshelf' Heightening and compleriienting the themes evulent in his subiec t, Gillanders proVicles an iriiaginative and rrieditative study of an envuonrnent in which man is at one With, and yet encroaching on, the work of nature In his portrait of the artist, Ciillanders has created a metaphor of how the artist tries to marry the two And while in conflict, the work celebrates the way the two coeXIst and harmonise (Claire Prentice)

How To Build A Universe Glasgow: Fly until Sun 26 Jul as :s us as An art post in Glasgow's East End, Fly's fifth exhibition to date presents work by eight artists. They're gathered together under the parachute of 'a lost section of the original plans, including overlooked protects, unrealised proposals and docornentation of unav0idable errors in the final construction’ of the universe

A nostalgia for sci-fi futures and modernist ut0pias is looked at by Toby Patterson His ldyl/ic Chalet is a personalised IiVing space With a take on architect Le Corbusier. With all you need to hand, the sinister flipside is that it would also be an 'ideal' cell or bunker Alongside sits Rick Gtiidice’s AC76-0628, Interior OfA Large Spherical Space-Habitat For 70, 000 People Produced for US space agency NASA in the pre-computer-aided design era, it looks dated but garisth gorgeous

Former Glasgow and now London dweller, Eva Rotlisc hilcl, shows Black Hole For Earth, where the planet's size is reduced to the size of a two pence piece In Di'sappmrec/ (The House Is The Woods), Rothschich gives a wuik and a nudge to master-wrapper, Christo Here the house is effectively camouflaged It all adds up to a good DIY guide to universe building (William Silk,‘


House Of Discourse by Marlene lvey

The House Of Discourse Glasgow: Collins Gallery until Sat 25 Jul

Marlene lvey returns to Collins to subrrierge us in a grave, watery installation Water's inherent metaphors of life, nature and autonomy reflect our experiences of the placid and the torrential

A perfect temple of glass slips effortlessly into the existing architecture of the gallery Using water scrunds, whispered snippets of thought and projected ripples, the Viewer can contemplate, Narcissus-like, in this reflective haven Outside the structure, cupped and gesturing hands emerge from the walls

Scattered With gilding and text, this aspect of the show lacks the simplicity of the glass house Ivey's coastal childhood has clearly forged unbreakable links between her and the elements Her work attempts to communicate nature to the urban envuonrnent It touches upon water as a comiriodity and a finite resource Even in the title she takes the word 'ecology' and goes to its roots' 'oikos' meaning house and 'logos' meaning discourse (William Silk)

Summer Madness Glasgow: Independent Studio Project ,l Space until Fri 31 Jul -' Running through July, Summer Madness sgueezes four shows into four weeks Pulling together artists from the BO-strong Independent Studio and from further afield, the shows set out to highlight the strengths of the art-run space Biiilding on the success of Niall Walker's show of digital and photographic based work, Heroes Of Our Time and Hometown, which kicked off the season, the third instalment Aint On Canvas brings together artists from Glasgow and London The nine artists Will tackle 'painting and drawuig and its continuing relevance'.

With a take of label culture and a A drawing ofa London nest by Kevin Kelly finger in the eye of the FHM male, Poor Hom/ries se s up shop on Saturday 25 July With an installation of wry c'orisurrier goodies by Sam Marsh and sound works by Danyelle Boily Opening hours, however, are far from Iiiin street arrangements, It's worth making an appointrrient (William Silk)

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