GROUP SHOW Beck’s Futures
Glasgow: CCA at lecLellan Galleries until Sat 14 Oct ~. ,~
Worthy winner: Roderick Buchanan's Gobstopper
Initiated last year by Beck’s Bier and the ICA, Beck’s Futures is the UK’s largest art pri7e. With the aim of giVing emerging, contemporary artists a leg- up the art world's often unsteady ladder, the work of the ten finalists comes to Glasgow
Picking up a cool £24,000 for his humorous Video piece Gobstopper, Glasgow-born artist Roderick Buchanan is a worthy Winner. Exploring the innocence of childhood games, six children attempt to hold their breath as they travel through the Clyde Tunnel. Tension mounts as the countdown
GROUP SHOW New Work Scotland
Edinburgh: Collective Gallery, until Sun 8 Oct ~
a Love Laboratory's Home & Away
The second instalment of the Collective's programme of exposure for young Scottish artists is a game of two halves. Jonathan Owen’s work centres on ideas and ideals of masculinity. Specifically, he is concerned With the kind of images held up before y0ung boys to differentiate them from the supposedly fairer sex, from prowess in the sporting arena to financial over- achievement and objectification of women
This consideration of the caveman characteristics instilled in the yOuth of today takes the form of intricately worked looping patterns, halfway between computer-generated fractals and confession-box screens, that grow out of and distort traditional boyhood
begins. Taking in a huge gulp of air, the children take up the challenge. One child even sneaks an extra breath. Looking like hamsters stocking up for the Winter, you can almost feel yourself joming in. The sheer relief on their faces when daylight reappears is a pure delight. Buchanan succeeds in leaVing the Viewer With a great feeling of nostalgia.
Equally light-hearted is Hayley Newman's ongOing photographic protect Con/rotations — Performance. With the premise of exploring the role of documentary images in performance, we are presented With a series of fictitious scenarios. From hiding in a bin bag awaiting collection to dressing up as a ghost stealing drinks from Soho's pubs, Newman’s photographs are a good laugh.
As for the rest, well, it's definitely a case of hit and miss. Liz Arnold’s childlike SCI-ll paintings are stranger than an episode of Lost In Space, While Cathy Wilkes presents the Viewer With a table and stripy material — any ideas? Worth mentioning though are DaVid Shrigley’s nonsensical draWings and photo collages which comment on the nonsensical aspects of the human condition; Chad tvIcCail’s new digital print The Fall dOCUmenting the story of the Genesis and Lucy Mackenzie's sporting paintings of yesteryear think Olga Korbut and you’re halfway there,
It \VOUId seem then that the latest crop of up-and-coming artists have got a sense of humour. But are they haVing a laugh at Our expense?
totems. There is a diagram guide to the perfect football tackle, a copy of dad's FITTO/ICIH/ Times and, almost entirely obscured by Owen’s painstaking cut- outs, a cheap porn mag. Rather less subtly, Owen has also produced a wall painting featuring men kitted out in full Action Man military kit investigating the contents of their trousers.
If Owen’s intentions are clear, a Love Laboratory, aka Michelle Naismith and James Thornhill, is a little more obsCure. Their installation, Home & Away consists of two comfy armchairs and a Video protection in a room filled With dry ice A man lies on an old mattress, still and expressronless. Behind him, a woman slowly revolves a Vinyl recording of Wagner’s Ride Of The Valkyries in reverse, which is relayed into the gallery space at ear-splitting volume. This poses many questions. For starters, it is impossible to tell if the images depict some obscure erotic ritual, or a symptom of a compulsive disorder, or a straightforward exposure of the fact that Wagner is rousing and scary backwards as well as forwards. The work, then, is a success in that it pu7zles the Viewer. Unfortunately the main questions raised are ’Why are these people domg this?’ and, finally, ’Who cares?’.
In the end, Jonathan Owen might lose a couple of pomts for tackling his chosen issues head on, presumably as a result of all that conditioning, but his half of the show is infinitely more satisfying than Naismith and Thornhill’s boring endeavours. (Jack Mottram)
PAINTINGS & MIXED MEDIA
Deus ex Machina
Glasgow: Lloyd Jerome Gallery until Wed 4 Oct * at
There is a strong visual contrast between the work of Jan Hoogenboom and PM. Laura, currently on show at the Lloyd Jerome Gallery. Hoogenboom’s paintings and mixed media works brim With references to Greek and Roman narratives, Whereas PM. Laura’s layered-up, clean-lined, airbrushed paintings evoke slick advertising imagery.
Deus ex Mach/ha, or ’god from the machine’, is the phrase used to describe that moment in ancient Greek and Roman theatre When a god or goddess would appear from above to rescue everyone from their moral bind. This spectacle informs the work of both artists and, Just as their works are Visually different, their Views on Deus ex Machi'na are similarly opposing, Hoogenboom relies on a romantic notion of anCient deities, While PM. Laura is more cynical, focusing on the ’machine rather than the magic’.
But While the idea of the duality of concept and belief is interesting, it seems to get lost in practice. Hoogenboom’s mixed media collages succeed in conjuring up the fantasy of an ancient world, but her paintings are ineffective in their childlike expression. PM. Laura’s Pop-influenced works are striking, but the familiarity of their format detracts from the mint he wants to put across. (Claire Mitchell)
SITE-SPECIFIC I up INSTALLATION " Lawrence Weiner TIME + PLACE
Edinburgh: lnverleith House until Sun 29 Oct "r iv a is
Lawrence Weiner is indifferent to aesthetics. He thinks words should make up the Visual element of his work. He likes his Symbols to be read. In this installation by the American conceptual artist, Single art objects are out, language and ideas are in.
Onto the white walls of lnverleith House, Weiner has written stencil-like charcoal phrases — ’FOUND ALONE’ and ’FOUND DUE TO PROXIMITY’ — which find themselves alongside the constant statement ’AFTER ANY GIVEN TIME’ and a number of simple Circle-plus symbols. For Weiner, language has formal importance. It is both material and SUbJE’CI. In that sense, his phrases become sCulptural as they fill the gallery space.
The installation allows the ’ideas’ to flow freely from room to room, almost as if the artwork is in the ether. But then you realise that it’s all in your own head. You are What Weiner would call ’the receiver upon the occasion of receivership,’ and the work is yours to do With as you please.
I would adVise anyone to Visit the calm of lnverleith House themselves, to contemplate their own reading of Weiner’s super pragmatic work, as -- to quote Barthes — ’a text’s unity lies not in its origin but in its destination’. (Claire Mitchell)
Writers Of Our Time
Edinburgh: National Portrait Gallery until Sun 25 Feb fr t it
The adage ’every face tells a story’ takes on new meaning When applied to the Writers Of Our Time exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.
The exhibition, a collection of paintings and photographs, creates a who’s Who of faces from Scotland’s literary scene. MacDiarmid to Gray, tintchison to Galloway, Banks to Rowling are celebrated for their indiVidual achievements and for collectively enhancing Scotland’s national identity.
Central to the exhibition is Calum Colvin’s Kelvingrove Eight, commissioned as a west-coast c0unterba|ance to Sandy Moffat’s east-coast Poet’s Pub. Moffat’s painting depicts a tryst between the older generation of Scots writers, while Colvm creates a modern equivalent. In Colvm’s photopiece however, the setting is a IIVing room, Alasdair Gray is the central character, surrounded by writers of both sexes and clever product placement.
Also on show is Jennifer McRae’s award-Winning portrait of Robin Jenkins and DaVid Williams’ diptych of AL. Kennedy.
Ir. a feW years, it is hoped that another piece of art Will be commissioned to showcase a new generation of Scottish talent as rich and diverse as our culture. (Isabella Weir)
Illustration by PM. Laura
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Single art objects are out, language and ideas are in
Every face tells a story: Calum Colvin's Kelvingrove Eight
2] Sep»S Oct 2000 THE lIST 75