ART REVIEW Glass «ewe


Fall by Minako Shirakura

More akin to a treasure trail than your average art show, Glass takes you on a tour, Indiana Jones-style, through the lush, leafy environs of the Royal Botanics glasshouses. With a brief to produce site-specific work relating to botanical science, twelve artists have provided a rich diversity of interpretations.

Plant and animal life is presented in both recognisable and abstract form, as in Inge Paneels contribution, where tall, thin stems sit alongside glass plaques displaying simple opposing states, like 'life’ and 'death’. In Tree Scaffold, Anna Norberg has created a fairytale world in the undergrowth, while Colin Rennie's gorgeous stem-cum-tentacle like forms come bursting out of a pond of giant water lilies. Particularly stunning are Minako Shirakura's intricate glass flowers in Fall, while A'c'sa Bjork Thorsteinddttir presents 42 cast glass hammers, suspended from the ceiling as if cascading drops of water. Meanwhile Mai Orstead's Paphiopedi/um looks at how natural shapes inspire man-made creations.

A group show like this can tend towards the status of ‘mixed bag', but there are some good pieces here which show that glass can be a cut above the usual. (Claire Prentice)

u The Glasshouses, Royal Botanic Gardens (552 6550), until 27 Sep, lOam—Spm.


Hooded. Bared


The trick is to keep breathing. Walk into Smith/Stewart's world and the chances are you will feel a tightness in the chest.

In White Noise, a double video projection, the collaborating duo are shown face down on pillows. They catch shallow breaths and toy with suffocation. Elsewhere, a head is shown hooded in black. There's an air of menace - and a lack of air - in Smith/Stewart's orifice-obsessed, claustrophobic world. On two television screens, they kiss but it reaches savage proportions. A soundtrack amplifies the hit of fervent lips on flesh. Here desire more than trespasses onto a dangerous, violent terrain. A kiss is more than just a kiss and this is no easy, spectator sport.

In Vent, they have placed a camera in the mouth of one of the pair. Teeth rise and fall like a vicious portcullis. The mouth has become a cavernous dungeon with vicious overtones. Or an eye hungry to ensnare. Most effective is Inside Out: here, in a darkened room, the only light comes from the moment the mouth is open. One feels lodged in a dark place and only on inhalation do you get a notion of sweet, life-giving breath.

If anything there are too many orifices and too much heavy breathing. It could become a metaphorical cul-de- sac. (Susanna Beaumont)

a Hooded. Bared, Smith/Stewart, Fruitmarket Gallery, 225 2383, until Tue 15 Sep, Mon—Sat 10am—6pm,“ Sun noon-5pm, free.


Small Miracles

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Sacrificing her studio for the duration of the Festival, artist Rose Frain has put on a group show, fittineg described as an artists' initiative.

Frain’s diptych the discovery of life energy (bions) looks back on the psychoanalytical theories of Wilhelm Reich, and is part of a continuing body of work examining both Reich's research into life energy and issues of freedom of speech and thought.

Claudia Pilsl, the first artist permitted to photograph Rome’s Vatican Museum, explores spatial relations of grandeur. Edward Fellows has crafted a small lightbox onto a model train track,


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Claudia Pilsl‘s Museo Vaticano

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Who is he? Thomas Baker.

Who's he when he's at home? A 17th century, minor English squire immortalised in a marble bust who is known for his foppish good looks. And his abundance of curly hair Yes, Bernini, the big boy of the Baroque era, is the man behind the bust. Keen on decorative excess, with a penchant for caricature and eye for detail, Bernini obviously enjoyed fashioning hair, Apparently he was even keen to show his Sitter’s five o'clock shadow.

Where can I catch curly-locks Baker?

‘Effigies And Ecstasies’ at the National Gallery.

The ecstasles bit sounds intriguing A little elusive in this show. Bernini could do a good ’ecstasy‘. He caused a stir with his sculpture of St Theresa shown enjoying more than your standard heavenly delight. People were shocked at her orgasmic

looking, pleasured face.

Can I see the good saint? Afraid not. You need a weekend in Rome for that. But if you can't spare the time, poo into the National Gallery for an hour and get a

gist of what Bernini was all about.

Well. Bernini sounds a bit of a card A sort of more gifted Peter Mandelson of l7th century Rome who did politics and more than just domes. (Susanna


a Effigies And Ecstasies: Roman Baroque Sculpture And Design in The Age Of Bernini, National Gallery (Venue 63) 624 6200, until Sun 20 Sep, Mon-Sat

lOam~5pm,' Sun 2—5pm.

referencing the train journey from London to Edinburgh. Meanwhile Annie Cattrell’s glass replica of heart and lungs, entitled Access, casts both light and shadows through its delicate convolutions.

In Kjell Torriset's diptych, body themes continue with work incorporating body hair; while in the work of Mikey Cuddihy, monochrome paint strokes are played against the artist's notes and scribbles. The wandering line at its most abstractly decorative.

(William Silk)

a Small Miracles, 5 St Stephen Street. 225 2294, until Sun 6 Sep, Sat noon—6pm or by appointment.



Blokes are so predictable. Sex, beer and a few expensive toys are guaranteed to hit the spot every time. Tongue firmly in cheek, in Slattern Anne Russell presents the various objects of their affection.

Forget the new man: beer guts and Y-fronts abound in these vibrant paintings which also include assorted alcoholic 'Stimulants’ and a girl suffering 'Hickey Shame'. In Thwarted Desire the tragic lucky Y's are the stuff of every girl’s nightmare - a heart of sequins adorning the crotch and a variation on the Playboy favourite sees a scantily-clad geezer posing before his flash car in The Resp/endent Beauty Of Man And His Vehicle. Meanwhile, no exploration of mankind would be complete without the mobile phone here stuffed full of condoms and

surrounded by witty text.

Delightfully playful and cartoonish, Russell's cheeky creations are akin to the bastard offspring of Beryl Cook and a Viz comic strip. Phooaar . . . the unreconstructed man. (Claire Prentice) a Slattern, Anne Russell, Negociants (Venue 76) until 30 Aug, Ham—10pm.


William Gillies

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He was a good, honest flirt. William Gillies - who was born 100 years ago this year to the east of Edinburgh eyed up enthusiastically the style talent of such contemporaries as Braque, Matisse, Bonnard and fellow British artist Paul Nash. In turn, his paintings range from moody, angular landscapes to charming, intimate interiors filled with bright light and patterned tablecloths.

The trouble is this show of over 200 works needs pruning. Indifferent landscapes jostle with very good landscapes, and there is one charming interior too many. Shame. Gillies is a painter of verve, but here, ironically, he is served up in diluted form.

(Susanna Beaumont)

g William Gillies, Royal Scottish Academy (Venue 64) 225 6671, Mon—Sat 10am-5pm (from 9 Aug 10am-6pm); Sun 71am-6pm, £4 ([2).


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