ART reviews

Paul Carter

Edinburgh: Collective Gallery until Sat 7 Nov flunk


Glasgow: Gallery of Modern Art until Sat 7 Nov 1* ‘k *

Wonderwall aims to explore the power and inspiration of the written word and its relationship to art. Before those conceptualists among you start salivating at the prospect of Weiner invading the sanctity of this gallery (otherwise known as the Peoples‘ Populist Palace), it should be noted this is a show which pays short shrift to the complexities of language.

It simultaneously provides an area for school-based projects (children Will be producing their own responses to the show) and a varied mixed-media look at Scottish-based artists’ responses to the word. Susan Brind and Jim Harold’s piece Paissert, a video installation, looks oddly out of place. Unashamedly cerebral, its slow, fractured narrative unwinding on two monitors above a close-up of a man’s chest requires patience and attention. In a gallery which frequently goes for the jugular, it’s a welcome interloper.

Amanda Munro’s Flicker Book provides an amusing, timeless piece of advice in bite-size form. Flicking through, the message ’use your loaf don’t eat your words’ reveals itself behind a rapidly vanishing loaf. Through the associative power of the word, it reminds one of Arthur Scargill Snr’s advice to his son: 'read the dictionary everyday, your life depends on it'. (John Beagles)

As kids, we all raided mum’s supply of bed linen and clothes pegs to construct DIY tents in the back garden. Harking back to these early survival instincts but with a decidedly 90s, middle-youth edge Paul Carter's The Modern Babylon offers some hints for surviving today’s spiritual wasteland.

Concerned with the role of art in contemporary society, Carter’s first major solo show is a real hands-on affair. With an eye on some unknown impending upheaval —the dreaded millennium perchance? charts and diagrams on the wall advise the viewer on how to construct a survival shelter

which is physically, spiritually and culturally sound. It could be a military tent or a B&Q shed.

In one camouflaged tent, twin record decks play the Judas Priest album, Stained Class, which, with its subliminal ’just do it’ message, allegedly led two teenage American boys to attempt suicide. In another hut you play detective, using equipment to play The Beatles' White Album backwards, searching for the lyric cited as inspiring Charles Manson's 70s killing spree.

Housed in another survival shelter is an 'extra-terrestrial radio transceiver' which enables you to have a go at opening up communication with God or other life forms from beyond the stratosphere. And, handy in times of crisis, is a roof-rack adorned with the

,, ., I).

Paul Carter in the spiritual wasteland

message ’Speak to Me’ in red neon. With everyone allegedly scrambling around in search of 'meaning' with which to fill their lives, Carter raises some interesting and tOpical issues. He doesn't attempt to offer a solution, rather he retains the distance of an impartial observer, probing various possibilities. Yet the exhibits don’t quite gel into a coherent whole. You are ultimately left feeling strangely dissatisfied by the randomness of his commentary. The lasting impression is that there is an answer somewhere out there. All very X-Fi/es . . . (Claire Prentice)

l I T | I I s sin-,1 w‘ - “v.

was {T t. k. E‘Ui. K

Eurocentral: do you really know where you are?


Glasgow: Transmission Gallery until Sat II Nov Ham

In this showcase, where seven artists variously articulate their relationship with the physical and mental architecture which surrounds them, Chad McCail's piece appears to have jumped straight out of an MIS investigation room.

Hung on the wall by bulldog clips are photographs of plan drawings of a city, accompanied by an objectively typed narrative of social disturbance. Within this concise, amusing tale, the regulatory, standardised procedure of a social system unwinds. With textural references to archetypal riot scenarios, the work is an engaging tale of a futuristic dystopia with sounds uncannily familiar.

Perhaps significantly for an exhibition

90 THE UST 22 Oct—5 Nov 1998

concerned with architecture, Orla Ryan's piece utilitises physical space most successfully. Her installation fusing sound, slides and Video is a highly evocative trek through the dead zones of a modernist City. Cinematic in scope and tone, the projection of spaces, such as the interior of multi— storey car park, are accompanied by a filmic soundtrack which whispers alienation in its every discordant piano tinkle.

Illuminated by the pUiitari glow of white walls and fluorescent strip lights is Manfred Pernice's cobbled-together installation. An unsightly erection of chipboard and off-cuts, this mutant edifice cruelly exposes modernism's conceited dream of regeneration through rationalisation, logic and order - technical incompetence married With obstinate persistence. Who needs a masterplan? (John Beagles)

Hideo Furuta

Edinburgh: Talbot Rice Gallery until Sat 7 Nov 1* air it it

Granite is a true heavyweight. Notorioust stubborn to carve, it does not give itself up lightly to a sculptor’s intentions. Interestingly, for this reason, the Scotland—based Japanese sculptor Hideo Furuta favours the stone: 'I like the slow progress of working with it . . . [it] slows down your thinking. This is more important than thinking too quickly'

The floor of the Talbot Rice is strewn with granite spheres. Like a collection of giant full-stops, Furuta delivers a work that does demand you slow down, if not stop. The spheres are casually arranged and interspersed with steel boxes. Space circulates the shapes and, importantly now that the Talbot Rice has been cleared of its messy partitions, the space breathes. Furuta’s play on the fact that form is not just defined by the space it occupies but also by the space that it doesn’t, may be familiar ground; but here it is effectively trodden.

(Susanna Beaumont)

Hideo Furuta's Groups and Sets

New Visionaries & Art Extraordinary

Edinburgh: Bellevue Gallery until Sat 31 Oct 1%

The title 'Art Exti‘aordinary' suggests something beyond the ordinary a separate sphere of creatiVity that deserves speCial recognition Art Extraordinary or Outsider Art, as it is also sometimes called, is 'clifferent’ in that its practitioners have not gone through 'orthodox' art training and have frequently suffered ill health or mental health problems.

Yet today, when professional artists are frequently employing the naive look and discernible 'skill’ is underplayed, you wonder where the difference exactly lies. It’s more to do With who plays the gallery scene; and

Angus McPhee's grass boots

so yOur artist With an agent, who is getting media coverage, is iii a different position from someone who works outside this world, whose priorities are


In Bellevue's show of the Scottish Collection of Art Extraordinary, there are boots made Out of grasses by the late Angus McPhee, intricate pen and ink drawings of weird underworlds by Judith McNicol, and a mesmerising kinetic sculpture by Glasgow artist Eduard Bersudsky. It makes for good vievving, along With tickling at our ideas of how we categorise art practitioners Interestingly, Edinburgh's Stills Gallery is currently showing work by members of Artlink, an arts and disability organisation. Perhaps integration is the way forward. (Susanna Beaumont)