ART reviews

MIXED MEDIA Expressions: Scottish

Art 1976-1989

DCA and lvlclvlanus Galleries, Dundee, until Sun 5 Nov ‘i' air it i,

An alternative title for ExpreSSions could easin be Now That’s What / Call Artl. In much the same way as the perennial album series has captured the musical zeitgeist for the past twenty years, this eclectic exhibition sums up an era of Scottish art when shunning traditionalism was de rigueur. Unfortunately, the albums’ annoying habit of leavrng off your favourite artists or selecting the wrong tracks is equally in eVidence here. But you can’t please everyone. And to com a cliche, With over 60 works on show, Expre55ions really does have something for everyone.

This is the third in a series of four shows documenting the work of Scottish or Scotland-based artists from 194372000. Featuring painting, sculpture, photography, prints, the odd installation but curioust no tapestry or illustration, the exhibition spills over into two venues, With the lion’s share h0used at the Mclvlanus, Here we find Ken Currie's 1986 oil Glasgow Triptych, as imposing and technically brilliant as ever. LikeWise, Ian Hughes’ 1988 Oil


Various venues, Glasgow, until Sat 14 Oct r i:

Plano XXI: diffuse and diverse

I don’t know much about Portugal. But then I don’t suppose many people do. So, With Plano XXI a sample of Portuguese contemporary art it’s difficult to know what to expect or what you’re gomg to learn through the works of Portugal's newest generation of artists.

With Plano XXI exhibits, as With much contemporary art, the perpetual themes of communication, institution, modern reality, fear, love and loathing are clearly evrdent. Universal and often beautiful themes are found in Ioao Tabarra’s harsh reality fairytales and in Rita Castro Neve’s meditations on everyday life.

Then there are, of course, works that utilise shock tactics, pieces like Paulo

84 THE LIST 19 Oct 2000

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An era of Scottish art summed up

Consumed By Fire a haunting face dripping with creosote brown paint makes for dramatic vrewrng at the entrance to the gallery.

Familiar works by household names (John Bellany, June Redfern, Elizabeth Blackadder) rub shoulders With lesser known figures such as Ron O'Donnell, whose Witty I985 (ibachrome photo In The Cave Of Rameses details a shabby parlour with wallpaper ripped away to reveal hieroglyphics paintings and text.

Over at the DCA, Steven Campbell enjoys the luxury of two wall slots, With his 1983 woodcut The Hiker Said ’Death You Shall Not Take This Child and 1985

Oil Gardening Barbers Debating A Small

Airplane Garden. Other painted highlights include Alison Watt's I989 Triptych: Horse’s Head, Nose, Mouth, Adrian Wiszniewski’s 1984 My Jewish Brother and Peter Howson's brutal Regimental Ba th,

DaVid Mach's I989 installation Dying For It fills the floor With dozens of paint- filled bottles, some white, some black, the re5ulting image resembling the chalk outline of a dead body. Equally memorable are Glen Onwrn's wooden tanks, filled With tiny grains of salt which slowly crystallise before y0ur eyes.

A greatest hits package Telstar would be proud of. (Kelly Apteri

Mendes’ Kiss Me Stupid/35 Years Of Love allowrng you to peep in on Barbie and Ken misbehavmg -- and Ioao Fonte Santa's comic-strip orgies. Guaranteed a titter, but and y0u can call me a prude such works are superfiCial, all smut and no substance.

What underlie many of the exhibits are ideas ab0ut isolation, power struggle and the diffiCUlty in forging relationships. From a propagandist take on the complex strategies of the museum in Miguel Leal and Duarte Soares Lema's de-centred Museum Of Modern Strategy to Ines Pais' sabotage installation, Revolutionary-Kit, to Ioao Onofre’s Video works, which use body language to reflect the difficulties of communication, these are pOignant works. Particularly when you consider they come from a country that, until the mid 70s, was segregated from the rest of the world thrOugh powerful fasCist dictatorship.

With such a huge quantity of works on show at a number of venues, the curators of Plano XXI, AntOnio Rego and Paulo Mendes, are reflecting the way Portugal is no longer insulated and contained but diffuse and diverse. And traversing across rainy Glasgow gl\'€S you time to mull over what y0u have learned ab0ut this interesting, yet neglected culture. (Claire Mitchell)

SCULPTURE Invisible Republic: Kenny Hunter 3,.

Glasgow Print Studio, Glasgow, until Sat II Nov *irakir

In I963 Andy Warhol advocated a ’machine-like art' and this Pop machine {:5 aesthetic certainly informs Kenny

Hunter’s newest works. But the thing is, that the flawless, effortless, factory-line Surfaces of Hunter's reinforced plastic sculptures actually veil months of hard manual labour.

It seems that Hunter’s works, from fatted calves through to Monica Lewinsky, balance perfectly on a knife edge between the machine and the human t0uch, between fact and fiction; between high art and mass media. These are sculptural hybrids.

Whereas much of Hunter’s earlier work came in Fisher-Price colours, these newer works are mostly pure white. And whereas, before, Hunter saw himself as creating classical SCulptures that looked like cartoons, now his works are closer to being plastic cartoons that take on the marble grandiosity of classical sculpture.

The exhibition also contains a set of two silkscreen prints, which again take us back to Warhol’s machine aesthetic and the ambigu0us author. ’tvlodern Roots' and ’Modern ROutes’ Sit somewhere between where we’ve coine from and where we're headed.

All of these works seem to be full of harmonious oxymorons, tainted purity and sinister beauty, held together in strikineg classical postmodernist art, (Claire Mitchelli

PRINTS Nono Reinhold: The Stairs

Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow, until Sat 27 Jan xv air it

The spiral staircase occupies a peCUliar position in popular consCiousness. From Hitchcock’s Vertigo to classic cat and mouse, slash and stab horror flicks, it is the perfect Site for psychologically loaded confrontations. The architectural plummet into the abyss promised by gazrng into the mid is strangely compelling and attractive. I don't know anybody who w0uldn’t want to live in a house With a spiral staircase.

Nono Reinhold shares my enthusiasm and she has made a series of prints that explore the terrain of this peculiar vortex. Adopting non-naturalistic colour, selective compositional cropping and formal variations, she seeks to transform and heighten our perception of the spiral staircase. In many of her prints the rhythmic flow of colour, line and tone fuse to give the hard-edged architectural forms an organic, shell-like character. In other works, the use of acrd yellows and blues and abstract forms give the illusion of the steps metamorphosing into shimmering lakes of water.

Using a simple vocabulary of formal elements, abstracted from a concrete s0urce (pardon the pun), Reinhold has produced an evocative, occasionally hallucmogenic depiction of a powerful cultural motif. (John Beagles)

PAINTING Philip Braham: Border Crossing

Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sat 4 Nov i: it 4: ii

The lustrous landscapes of Philip Braham’s Border Crossing exhibition are enigmatic evocations of the power and beauty of nature and its sOurce of fuel: light.

The Visual narrative immediately conscripts the Viewer. It triggers feelings of familiarity and calmness but also respect for the portentous edge that nature possesses. Braham elevates his work beyond the pastoral With his use of light making it a universal signifier of good, hope, realisation and revelation The paintings resonate With meaning, and although Braham uses the familiar climes of Scotland as his source material, he does not want geography to hiiack meaning.

The paintings Pillar Of Light and Empty Road are domestic scenes transported to the extraordinary by the luminous trajectories of light that imply the presence of a celestial being. In Atlantic and Trembling Light there exrsts inteinpei‘ate undercurrents that are allayed by the power of light

The exhibition incorporates a surte of fourteen paintings entitled Agustowska, the name of an ancrent forest Where Polish Victims of war disappeared It is akin to looking at a grim fairytale Where 'their stifled vorces are echoed in the silence of the forest'.

A captivating and porgnant exhibition. (Isabella Weirl

Kenny Hunter's sculptural hybrids

Hallucinogenic cultural motif

Enigmatic evocations of nature