Edinburgh: Bellevue Gallery until Sat 13 May “at ‘3: are
You know the type. The sort of person who can’t rest easy when there is a momentary lull in conversation. They come over all frantic as if the sound of silence was the work of the devil and proceed to Spit out inane chit chat. There are of course others who feel no such obligation to fill in the conversational gaps.
Paul Keir is the artist equivalent of the latter. This is a man for whom the adage 'less is more’ was invented. On a stretch of linen is painted a slender line of white paint. And that is it. The remainder of the linen is left bare. This is minimalism at its most minimal and it’s exquisite. And it is brave. To just paint a slender line of paint and not feel the need to fill in the gaps does require a degree of restraint. In another work, however Keir has painted a stretch of linen completely white. Over this expanse of paint hovers a slight quiver of a pencil line. Keir, as you can probably tell, does not deal in visual fripperies.
The Edinburgh-based Keir has just returned from a residency in Germany and he is, without doubt, one of Scotland's finest painters. And in this show at the Bellevue Gallery, an appropriately clean-cut, light and very white gallery space, Keir's work is shown alongside paintings by three other Edinburgh-based artists, James Lumsden, Raymond Mulligan and Andrew Mackenzie.
Raymond Mulligan’s work speaks of fragility. Sneeze and they might blow away. Small rectangular pieces of paper are mounted on to glass and then propped up on thin strips of wood. The paper is filled with just a gentle
Mininalism gets minimal: Paul Keir's Untitled
hush of colour. Colour comes stronger in the work of Andrew Mackenzie. In Untitled (Atlantic) series he has painted intense, oval-shaped blasts of colour on a cool grey background. Sunburst yellow. Lurid green. Sharp orange. Inspired by pieces of flotsam and jetsam picked up on the west coast of Ireland, Mackenzie usually goes in for delicate colours and pencil lines. This new injection of colour, however, needs to be tamed a little.
In a show where the bulk of the work is untitled, James Lumsden paintings seem strangely opinionated. Called such things as Blind Faith, here mottled splodges of colour appear seamlessly frozen on to the canvas. Strangely arresting. (Susanna Beaumont)
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Edinburgh: New Street Exhibition Space until Fri 12 May a». k
Remember the days of the social documentary? When everything was black and white and super~neo-rea|ist? When singing ’The Red Flag’ at the Labour Party Conference wasn‘t considered indecent? Well, somewhere out of view, tucked away from today's
Sinclair records the Liverpool dockers strike
prime time, spin-doctored, gloss and glitz, the social documentary survives. Take Dave Sinclair’s photographs of the 1995—97 Liverpool dockers strike, or Keith Pattison’s portraits of Easington Colliery in County Durham during the 1984 miners strike. Or Rob Hoon’s documentation-of the poll tax demonstrations in 1988. These three sets of photographs hang side by side and speak volumes about how notions
of solidarity are largely discarded. But worthiness is never enough in itself. Here, it’s the faces that do the talking; the faces of women sitting in the pub an hour after the Liverpool dock strike was abandoned.
The Medecin du Monde collective's contribution moves away from the cut and thrust of white, male, working- class meat-and-two-veg politics to the oppression of Afghan women living under the rule of the Taliban. Forced to hide behind a veil, they fetch and carry for their lords and masters. A text reveals how a ten-year-old girl was sentenced to having her hands amputated for the crime of wearing nail varnish. And in a harrowing portrait, a woman is shown with both legs removed. You can only speculate about what she did to deserve this.
With Owen Logan’s photographs of Nigeria's oil industry, the Kohoutek collective's video footage of the recent IMF/World Bank meetings in Washington and Chad McCail's sci-fi like cartoons pointing to the link between child rearing and sexual repression, Creative Resistance is a show which needs to be viewed.
News and views from the work! of art HAS THE BUBBLE burst? Charles Saatchi's new show at London‘s Saatchi Gallery has been near-universally panned. Titled Ant Noises, an anagram of Sensation, Saatchi's 1997 hit show, it has found little favour among the critic. Work by Saatchi's favoured band of artists - Hirst, Hume, Saville, Whiteread and others - have failed to impress. As Time Out puts it: 'Are the 905' enfants terrible now too mature to allure?’ OBVIOUSLY lT IS time to consider artists of the let century. Glasgow's Roderick Buchanan is one of them. Buchanan has just been announced the winner of the first Becks Future Award which, at £24,000, is the UK's biggest art prize. Buchanan’s piece Gobstopper is a video work showing several young children sitting in the back of a VW van trying to hold they breath as they travel through the Clyde Tunnel. Catch Buchanan‘s work at his solo show this November at Dundee Contemporary Arts. THE CLYDE TUNNEL has been getting quite a bit of attention of late. Glasgow artist Stephen Skrynka is creating a site- Specific sound and light piece for the tunnel. With help from internet users, Skrynka is to employ 100 speakers and the world's largest globally activated sound mixer to produce a vast sonic landscape. The installation runs from 28 May to 29 June and for information call 0141 576 7956 or visit www.clydetunnel.org THAT OLD CHESTNUT, the nature of ’Scottishness’ is once again being thrashed out, this time by artists Tracey Mackenna and Edwin Janssen. The duo have been commissioned by Glasgow's CCA as part of their Capital Development programme 1999—2001 to work on a series of publications — and they need you. Let them know who your national hero is and how you would recreate Scotland at their website \Mchhannelorg.uk/ofallplaces/scotland.h tml. GOOD TO SEE that Edinburgh College Of Art’s students can bite the hand that doubtless serves the drink that quenches many a student thirst The British Beer Show, as their student mag has dubbed Edinburgh's British Art Show, was awash with drinkers. As organiser Lotty Boozay reportedly commented to the magazine: 'Everyone had a great time, it was good to see people chatting and drinking although there were a few troublemakers intent on looking at art.’
Identity crisis: Mackenna and .lanssen
get to grips with the nature of Scottishness
27 Apr—ll May 2000 THE USTTI