Bruce McLean Edinburgh: Talbot Rice Gallery, Fri 21 Jan—Sat 26 Feb.
Bruce McLean has long enjoyed taking conventions by the scuff of neck and giving them a bit of a shake-up. Over the decades, the Glasgow-born artist has challenged many an art world sensibility. In the 605 he made a series of landscape paintings; these actually consisted of photographs, taken on Arran, of photographic paper soaked with paint then thrown onto the land. His aim was to puncture the pomposity of ‘land art'. Later, in collaboration with that famous double act in sharp suits, Gilbert and George, McLean mimicked works of art. He then parodied the work of notorious American art world superhero, Julian SchnabeL
‘Bruce McLean is always performing; he sees everything in life as worth challenging,’ believes Pat Fisher, curator of an exhibition of McLean’s diverse work at the Talbot Rice Gallery. ’He has refused to do only one thing, and that is one of his strengths. I think we have to defend the right of the artist to challenge everything.’
Born in 1944, McLean trained at Glasgow School Of Art before moving to St Martin’s in London. Here his parodying began. While other artists were making floor- based sculptures in fibreglass and steel, McLean was placing pieces of junk in decorative arrangements on
Mary Little's Binita‘s chair
Man and his art: Bruce McLean with Signal Of The Tortoise, 1999
the pavement or on his bedroom floor. For McLean, no art practice was untouchable or worth leaving unchallenged.
In this part-retrospective exhibition, the various strands of McLean’s work from over the decades are to be shown. Ink jet photographic prints by the Dutch photographer Dirk Buwalda will chart the two artists' collaborative work made since the 605. From the 805 there is Gucci Girls, a painting that parodies the power- dressing, label-obsessed era. There is also documentation of the various public art projects McLean has worked on in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Bridlington. But perhaps the greatest visual impact will be delivered in a vast model of Lawthorne Primary School.
The school was commissioned by North Ayrshire Council for the town of Irvine, with support from the Scottish Arts Council Lottery Fund, and has been designed by McLean in collaboration with his architect son, William, and the art critic, Mel Gooding. 'lt's a challenge to conventional school architecture,’ believes Fisher. 'lt's a holistic approach and very child-centred. The school desks are also measuring instruments and the whole approach is very sensory.’
McLean, who is now in his 505, looks set to continue to tussle with convention. 'It is very refreshing,’ says Fisher. 'He is unchanged from his 205 and there is a sense of eternal youth about him and that is part of being creative.’ (Susanna Beaumont)
furniture designs were shortlisted for the 1999 Jervvood Applied Arts Prize, and her work, along with other shortlisted designs, is on display in the Crafts Gallery of the Royal Museum. Since it was established in 1995, the Jerwood has set out to celebrate furniture design and its making. This year's line-up is not hugely avant-garde in its design — no Barcelona chairs here - but is very approachable. Habitat could easily stock many of the designs.
Mary Little’s work is the most unusual. Her Bin/ta is a small and curvaceous armchair covered in rich silks. Maximil/ian is a asymmetrical chair while the central leg of her small round table is swathed in fabric. The overall winner is the London-based designer, Michael Marriott. He has
Jerwood Applied Arts Prize: Furniture
Edinburgh: Royal Museum until Sun 12Mm***
Jane Atfield has made chairs out of white plastic chopping boards - not that you would dare dice a couple of onions on them. Named RCPZ — Mother And Chair, they are clean-cut and coolly stylish. You could imagine
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them furnishing a fresh-air, bright white minimal interior and they are definitely chairs not to be messed with. Atfield is clearly one to source unusual materials: a further set of chairs are made from aluminium and, yes, recycled crisp packets. Angular in their looks, these chairs would look very at home in a design-conscious boardroom.
Atfield is one of six designers whose
delivered furniture in easy lines - clearly he sees the need for straight- forward furniture. His tall chest of drawers is constructed from melon boxes while his ’fast flat pack' shelves are made from oak and MDF. But it would be handy to know just how fast ’fast' is? As anyone who has tackled self-assembly furniture has found out, speed is not always the name of the game. (Susanna Beaumont)
Who the HM do you think you are? Glasgow: Bulkhead, until Sat 8 Apr.
The charming in-yer-face greeting of the title serves as an introduction to four artists, who will be taking turns to occupy the Bulkhead Gallery's window until April. While in recent months this particular site has been home to installations, this project emphasises ’the work of art', including painting and drawing.
In this pristine glass-fronted space, Daisy Richardson's small portrait has real impact. It will be followed up at the end of the month by Jane Topping’s blown-up, pixelated drawings of furniture. From 28 February, Gitte Griffith will show her images of kinky boots; and the final slot will be filled by Douglas Morland, whose blurred and sprayed abstract paintings have a real cinematic quality. Most of these artists will be new to visitors and passers-by alike. The window, available for viewing day and night, is serving as a showcase in every sense of the word. (Moira Jeffrey)
Edinburgh: College Of Art, until Fri 28
Jan mink Beverley Hood’s prints are low key but
quite charming, and it's a shame that this quiet corner of Edinburgh's College Of Art doesn't do them full justice. There’s a range of media on show, including polaroids, and digital and inkjet prints, with themes frequently touching on the subject of intimacy.
Hood’s series of Loveseats (inkjet prints on graph paper) juxtapose design classics like a steel and leather Le Corbusier chair with traditional Japanese erotic prints. A witty riposte to the modernists much professed love of Japan, these anatomically explicit lovers would play havoc with the expensive upholstery.
A series of Anonymous Drawings record the movements people made with their mouse as they navigated an online artwork in a Budapest gallery. All that's left is a squiggly line and a note of the date and time the record was made. Theresult is a kind of etch- a-sketch from cyberspace — a curiously moving trace of the human hand. (Moira Jeffrey)