Absolut Open

Edinburgh: Inverleith House, Botanic Gardens until Sun 9 Jan ****

It is perhaps a case of playing with fire. To put on an exhibition subtitled New Art From Scotland is bound to invite a barometer-like reading of contemporary art in Scotland: good, fair, mildly derivative or just not particularly new. After an open invitation, 30 artists were selected from 364 submissions, many of whom are established names in Scotland. This inevitably means that there were few surprises and today 'new' art tends to be taken to imply not just the latest work by an artist, but something a bit different. There is nothing very different here.

That said, this is in no way a weak exhibition. You do, however, get a sense that the selectors artist Callum lnnes. lecturer Jim Birrell and head of visual arts at the Scottish Arts Council, Susan Daniel-McElroy were conscious of not wanting to appear to favour any one strain of contemporary art. It is a mixed bag.

Not so much playing with fire, but coolly spectating on a burning bush, is the artist collective The Cocktail Party: caught on video, the three artists watch a bush burn. In another video work by Sally Osborn,

Corroboration , two police officers on horseback seem to be passing the time of day motionless in the garden of a tenement block. This sub-surreal thread runs through a lot of the work. Scott Myles appears to be doing some sort of modified form of breakdancing on a gallery ceiling. Meanwhile, the collaborative duo Kevin Dagg and John Hunter turn a visual tease into a pun: Fol/y is a conservatory-like affair made from thermolite blocks and plasterboard. However, there is not a hint of glass or the possibility of gaining entry and taking it easy on a piece of stylish garden furniture. A folly indeed.

More meditative is Louise Hopkins' Europe Map. Here

Christine Borland

Dundee: Dundee Contemporary Arts until Sun 23 Jan it it it it

Pear-shaped glass vases hang from the ceiling Each one contains a bleached, skeletal leaf suspended in watery solution Read the accompanying text, and you are told that the leaves were taken from a plane tree which grows in front of the medical genetics department at Glasgow Urinersrty Apparently the tree was grown from a seed taken from the tree under which

The Ether Sea by Christine Borland

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Jackie by Marianne Greated

she has relieved Britain of its notorious position of splendid isolation. She has extended our island’s A and B roads across the waters to the continent of Europe. Perish the thought and praise the continental drift. And if destructive tendencies are required, Aeneas Wilder is shown on video kicking and sending to the ground numerous wooden structures. Finally, Ross Birrell, who was awarded £4000 to create a work for the Absolut International Art Collection, adds a vital dash of word play. On a sheet of white A4 paper he has typed 'Imagine Yoko Ono - does not exist.’ Now there's a thought. (Susanna Beaumont)

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review ART Jean Dubuffet

Glasgow: Fringe Gallery, until Sun 9 Bhtt*i

woof that graffiti art made its appearance years be‘c'e it hit the walls 3‘ the Nev. ‘i'o'k subway can be found at Cast‘ermk’s i" nge Gallery in t“e shape 0‘ Les rt'urs, a series of "‘.‘~1:'ai>"s :2. the seinnai Frenchman ,iea" fjtJlJ‘JiT’Pi .Juou‘flet, rm» '..:ted "r and out of the a'"... "e business before finally We as an artist, was heavrly by the "most unikely sources. 7: s ser es <iwc..'tter~ts the walls of Paris: .arxia .sed aid nssed upon by 2': _:. a“: " i' ftrthtmgh these works treeteti wth outrage at the time of 1' e" corvp'efion :r‘. 1945, they influenced a wnoe ger‘eratzon to come Another example of Fringe's


cow'” t'rient to mixing important local touring exhibitions of c i". "ter'tationa! figures.

Misty In Roots Glasgow: Fly Gallery until Sun 23 Dec * k * Curators Alex Frost and Alan Michael, who showed together a few months back at Edinburgh's Collective Gallery. Here their intentions are deliberately uriciear and, as a result, the show itself is rust a little elusive

Howard Fried's 1976 film, The Burg/iers Of Fort Worth, portrays a not entirely successful game of golf. Fried, an American artist who falls into the 'impossible to define’ category, milks the moment for its humour and as a metaphor for institutional roles and stnictures. A! the same time its extraordinary visual strangeness and sound have an :iirfefinable pleasure szrrriar to the recent lilms Drumro/l and Above My Head by Turner Prize-winner Steve McQueen

leapeng into the 90s —— 1990 that is - Lucy Mackenzie takes a canvas with the Glasgow City of Culture logo and ouerays it with the sporting colours of Gerrr‘iaiiy Entitled Ku/tura, it might be a ‘.’.'o.'ld Cup memory, a political C’J't‘h'e'ii or Just chance iuxtaposition. Ewan linrie's Video meditates on the ObjE‘Ci of Oliver Twist's desire: the word ‘rnore' Lorin Dawes' text drawings in felt pen, pencil or glitter show that more can indeed be much more: she repeats a sequence of words over and over again. The glitter gives this show a festive feel, which is echoed in Duncan Campbell's work, Christmas paintings on two Christmas plastic bags from Safeway. (MOira Jeffrey)

i6 Dec 1999—6 Jan 2000 THE U8T81