Global issues. Local concerns. In EVOLUTION ISN'T OVER YET, artists tackle the time-honoured evolution question.
Words: Moira Jeffrey
It is a painful part of growing up to realise how incomplete the evolutionary process is. Emotionally and politically. it often seems we just aren't there yet and. sometimes. it‘s just hard to look at the whole thing with any kind of distance. We often , ,f , seek refuge in self-obsession. In a nation where the natural self- «v I reflective mode may have ' s become stuck at the 'on‘ position. " .1 we perhaps lack the ability for critical self-analysis and outward engagement. Scotland‘s artists. however. are happy to throw a barrage of question marks at that old chestnut called evolution. Evolution Is”? Over Ye! is the result of a collaboration between the Fruitmarket Gallery and the
Collective Gallery — two Edinburgh institutions with
markedly different histories. Graeme Murray. director of the Fruitmarket. recalls that the show took off because he and Sarah Munro. director of the Collective. 'had the same brainwave at the same time‘.
According to Murray and Munro. the show is neither a survey of contemporary art in Scotland nor a theme show. With a dozen different ‘emerging‘ artists working in many different media. it is hard to envisage just how it might hang together both physically and philosophically. Taking its title from a line in Mike Leigh‘s 1993 film Naked. where political and social dysfunctionalism are shown as an insidious post-'l‘hatcher ailment. the exhibition will cast its eye not only on evolution but on the pertinent issue of devolution and. aptly in the politically sedate 90s. revolution.
The twelve chosen artists number. in fact. closer to twenty people: the show includes two duos and a six-person collective. Henry VIII Wives. Arguany they are all at different stages of ‘emerging‘. The complex and challenging pencil work of Edinburgh- based artist (‘had McCail has received domestic and international interest for some time. while the prankster pairing John Beagles and Graham Ramsay exemplify ‘high humour art‘. As Graeme Murray points out. Scotland is enjoying a ‘very creative time‘ and the artists have been chosen for their innovation as well as their ‘flexible artistic
72 THE LIST l —l‘) Apr 1999
The exhibition casts its eye not only on evolution, but on the pertinent issue of devolution and, aptly in the politically sedate 90$, revolution.
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Agrarian devolution: Chad McCail's Rich Men Give Land Back To The People
For livo/utimi lsn '1 ()l't’l' Ycl. Glasgow artist Janice McNab will show two new paintings. .\'lc.\'ab is giving every indication of an artist really coming into her stride. Her work. recently seen at the Collective Gallery and at Glasgow‘s lily. deals with the subject matter of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and those people who are literally allergic to the chemical overload of the modern world. l’ividence enough that evolution is
late 20th century living conditions? Having spent two months in New Mexico on research. .\Ic.\'ah has returned to work in her Glasgow studio. ‘ln finding this subject.’ she says. ‘I've found something that pulls together a lot of strands that I've been interested in. It seemed important enough to make significant pieces of art.‘
Another artist. (‘lara l'rsitti. addresses science. technology and the possibilities that today particular human smells can be chemically replicated. Arguably. after thousands of years of sniffing each other out. our sense of smell has been dulled into submission by the likes of perfumes and after- shaves. Perhaps. however. the scratch and sniff era is returning.
Evolution Isn’t Over Yet is at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh Fri 2 Apr-Sat 29 May.
lagging behind the reality of
Titbits from the artworld
EDINBURGH'S COLLECTIVE GALLERY has received good news. In the latest round of awards from the Scottish Arts Council lottery fund for capital projects, the artist-run space has been awarded £180,000 to transform the Cockburn Street premises and a further £18,700 to secure equipment. In a refit, to be carried out by Reiach and Hall Architects, the space will be fitted with disabled visitor access and a resource facility, which is to be called The Lounge. The gallery will close after this year’s Festival and is due to reopen in January 2000.
ANOTHER EDINBURGH VENUE is currently in the final throes of refurbishment: The City Art Centre is to reopen on 8 May with a group show celebrating Scotland’s art talent. The selection panel included the London-based curator Kim Sweet and the artists include Chad McCail, Moyna Flannigan and Paul Carter. News is also out on the Talbot Rice Gallery’s June show, In The Summertime, with artists selected from WASP studios throughout Scotland, including Andrew Mackenzie, Keiko Mukaide and Abigail McLennan.
A NEW ARTWORK for Darnley by Glasgow-based artist Jacqueline Donachie has been unveiled. On the southern outskirts of Glasgow and after research within the community, Donachie planted monkey puzzle trees at strategic points and made The Disc, a monument to lost community facilities. In addition, she has produced a book documenting the eleven months spent working on the project. Entitled Kenny’s Head, it’s available from Visual Arts Projects on 0141 552 6563.
AN ARCHITECTURE AND design conference is to be held at Glasgow’s SECC from 27-29 May. One of the largest events of its kind to be held in Europe, the intriguingly titled conference, From The City To The Spoon, will feature architects Richard Rogers, Robert Venturi and Gordon Benson of the new Museum of Scotland, and Enric Miralles of the Scottish Parliament building, currently in the making. For details call the RIAS on 0131 229 7545.
Dancing in Darnley; celebrations on the unveiling of Jacqueline Donachie‘s new artwork