In The Summertime
Edinburgh: Talbot Rice, Fri 18 Jun—Sat 24 Jul.
Summertime, and the living is easy. Or that's the theory anyway, though Scotland's volatile and somewhat inclement climate invariably pisses on that particular parade. One could always take shelter in Edinburgh's Talbot Rice Gallery, where their In The Summertime exhibition should recall golden days of peeling skin, droughts and dodgy Mungo Jerry records forever at Number One.
Well, maybe not, but there is a decidedly 'up' feel to proceedings. Drawn from the network of WASP studio spaces across Scotland, the eleven artists on show were selected from more than 200, which proved to be a fascinating task for curator Pat Fisher.
"There were two trains of thought going on when we first thought about doing the exhibition,’ she recalls. 'Firstly we were interested in doing a group exhibition, but we also wanted to pull together the resources of WASPS and make them more visible.’
WASPS, which re-appropriated old factories to supply much needed studio spaces for working artists, was set up in 1977 with the primary remit of keeping artists in Scotland. Even now this
isn’t an easy task, as Fisher explains. 'For every art student coming out of such a protected set-up, with access to materials and their own studio, to be suddenly thrust into the big bad world can be pretty daunting,’ she maintains, having witnessed this first hand when she sat on the Visual Arts panel of the Scottish Arts Council. '50 it’s important that spaces such as WASPS are found, and now especially it's important that we take pride in our indigenous culture. It's also about making a community of
None of the artists are flavour-of-the-month household names, and its emphasis on painting over other forms - combined with a loose sunny-side-up feel
Sea Fan by Abigail McLellan
shock of the new. 'I wouldn't be too offended if it were described as old-fashioned,’ Fisher admits, 'but I have to be aware of the ambience of the gallery here. A lot of the time there are very intellectual discourses going on in exhibitions that wouldn't be right for the summer. With this I wanted something that was immediate and
Fisher is at pains, however, to point out that In The Summertime isn't all cow pats, green pastures and little fluffy clouds produced by shiny, happy people. ’I
wouldn't want to dumb it down as being "about
- may sound somewhat staid to anyone in search of the
happiness",' she insists, 'because there's an awful lot more going on in the work on show. It's not all about pretty pictures, you know.‘ (Neil Cooper)
Travelling Gallery, various locations until Sat 31 Jul ';=:'
Detail from Budda and Kids (Traveller Series III) by Tom Hunter
The Travelling Gallery was founded in -
1978 and aims to provrde greater oppOrtunity for communities thr0ughout Scotland to View a variety
74 THE “31' 10-24 Jun l999
of contemporary art at first hand. The converted double decker bus is currently home to Threshold, a show examining the idea of the ’home', and featuring the work of Kate Belton, Nathan Coley, Stephen Cooper, Tom Hunter, Gary Perkins and Zoe Walker.
Of all the exhibits, Hunter's photographs seem ideally suited to the unique circumstances of the Travelling Gallery. The images come from his Travel/er series, which documents the lives and homes of friends and travelling people he encountered while touring Europe in a double decker bus. His photographs of the cramped and colourful interiors of his nomadic subjects' homes also lack the mediated quality of the other work in this exhibition. While it is obvious that Hunter has made certain aesthetic deCiSions regarding lighting, framing and choice of subjects, these photographs still have an authentic and engaging quality lacking elsewhere.
For example, in Coley’s ’Waiting On
The Scottish Parliament' and ’Reading Burns To The Scott Monument', the Significant buildings referred to are deliberately omitted from the photographs. The figure of the artist and his ironic reflection on themes of nationality take visual precedence in the work. Zoe Walker’s ’Nesting’ consists of drawings and a video of her approaching, touching and contemplating an inflated gold PVC cottage anchored on the crest of a small hill in the Cotswolds. This work is also heavin laden with parody, so much so that it is difficult to have a personal reaction to the piece. '
The complex idea of 'home' is treated differently by each artist, and the Travelling Gallery provrdes an interesting setting to see each varied interpretation. It wrll be at several Sites in Glasgow until 26 June, thereafter Visrting Sites in Aberdeenshire, South Ayrshire, East Lothian and Stirling. (Sarah L'owndes) are For venue details. see art listings or call 0737 529 3682.
Victoria Morton: Decapoda
The Changing Room, Stirling, until Sat 10 Jul at w it: sis
ln psychedelic terms, the road to higher consciousness requires the traveller to pass through an inner door to the world beyond. Climbing the stairs into Stirling's Changing Room, you reach an open doorway and face a wall. Before you enter, the first thing you see is a shadow: a hanging image against the white gallery space. Is it human, a plant form, or perhaps something more monstrous? Cross the threshold and here, indeed, be dragons - as well as flowers, foliage and psychedelic rhythms. Victoria Morton’s exhibition Decapoda explores Visual images on the cusp. Taking her cue from her major work Winter Painting; After, All Friends Together. The Friends Turn Into Flowers - a homage to Max Ernst — she uses a variety of materials. Video, paper and fabric works echo the painted forms. Morton's hanging sculptures utilise a technique that would be familiar to anyone who spent their childhood making palm trees out of rolled-up newspaper; vinyl is folded and fringed. The act of repetitive cutting has a rhythm of its own which mimics her inturtive painting. The forms are fluid and organic. Like all good children’s stories — step through that door and you reach a secret garden. (Moira Jeffrey)
Missy by Victoria Morton
What Is Is, What Ain't Ain't Nothing
Glasgow: Fly Gallery until Sun 27 Jun 3,, a.
The art gallery as building site 'Marie Celeste': grey concrete-block walls, metal roof, black pipes, hardboard partitions, Virtually in darkness. Glasgow-based artists Torsten Lauschmann and Michael Wilkinson have no desire to use this space as a conventional display area for their work. Instead the five pieces here force the viewer into a hypothetical collaboration with the artists in regard to the purpose of the objects and their potential use within this environment. The 40 tiles of Wilkinson's Yellow Collection, propped upright near the entrance, ache to be laid out on the floor or on the wall; while Lauschmann’s F/oorpiece — an inverted table. set diagonally against the lines of the room — loses its traditional functional essence (and traditional meaning) through the Simplest of manipulations. There is no beauty here, no easy answer; only a series of questions that are site-specific rather than original. (Alan Morrison)