GROUP SHOW Red Marauder
Tramway, Glasgow, until Sun 5 Nov ****
Eclectic mix of bright. young art
It is difficult to aVOid, when you walk into Tramway’s dark, industrial space, the instantly eye-catching glint of a million red sequins. Neal Beggs' Sleeping Bag is a mountaineering sleeping bag encrusted With ruby-like sparkle, the anomaly of back to nature glamour. In another two works by Beggs, he continues to look simultaneously at sublime adventures in nature alongside the triViality of urbane culture, scaling an unimposing wall at the side of a busy motorway or looking down from the summit of an inner city tower block.
Beggs, alongside Ian Balch, Kevin Kelly, Alan Michael and Mary Redmond, graduated from Glasgow School of Art's Master of Fine Arts course in 1998. All five artists were
awarded with Tramway’s Dark Lights CommisSions, and asked to produce new work for the gallery. The result is Red Marauder, an eclectic mix of bright, young art.
While Beggs' Sleeping Bag is glitterineg obvious, Ian Balch's six-part work Is she forever seeking, even though she does not know it, something he has lost skirts around the periphery and almost Silently punctuates the centre of the exhibition space. Balch’s work, despite militaristic implications, is a beautifully unfolding elegy to the notions of memory and brotherhood.
Alan Michael’s paintings mix figurative fine art With popular tabIOid culture, a comment on the cultural jumble found in today’s image- saturated lifestyles. Mary Redmond surprises the viewer by reinventing new space through the reframing of everyday materials, with crude materials sitting effectively in the Tramway space. And KeVin Kelly's Monkey Palace cages the Viewer up with a mass of monkey paraphernalia and memorabilia — from funky gibbons and ape portraiture to PG Tips chimps — and certainly makes you think tWice about the ideals of DarWinian theory.
Red Marauder brings together compelling, yet very diverse works, under a slightly ambiguous title as there doesn't really seem to be a continuous thread weaving through the works. But perhaps the pillaging of distinct contemporary ideas and cultures found in them is the reason why they seem to sit together so effectively. (Claire Mitchell)
MIXED MEDIA SSA Contemporary Art
Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh until Sun 5 Nov. it * a: ir
Marie-Louise Blaney's metamorphosis
into mermaid The prospect of trawling through 200 diverse artworks is daunting to say the least. Artist upon artist fighting for wall space along With your attention. But at this year’s Scottish Sooety of Artists Contemporary Art Open, the VieWing experience is pleasurable rather than painful.
Housed in the RSA’s extensive galleries, the show is grouped thematically by style, subject matter and colour, offering a comprehensive slice of the Current trends, new developments and existing practises in contemporary art. Immediately ViSible as you enter the space, is a collection of works by seven inVited artists.
Craig Mackay questions the ethics of blood sports in a series of thought- provoking photographs. An Ruaig 7 8r 2 Juxtaposes a dead fox, oozmg red
blood, With an image of a red-haired female. Movmg on to painting, Christine Milne’s canvases convey a strong sense of movement as the swell, undulation and sheer power of the earth’s covering is perfectly captured.
The ’dark room' of the gallery is akin to stepping inside a fairytale grotto. Amanda Couch prOVides the scenery with Untitled (Sets For A City), a large- scale paper reconstruction of Edinburgh. Coupled With Diane McLean's mesmerising Optic, a tear- shaped metal sCUlpture underlit by changing fibre optic lights, both works brighten up an otherwise miserable, rainy day.
And there are plenty of works which raise a smile. Archie Webb's paint- splashed Jackson Pollock’s Boots; Shaleph O'Neill’s Utopia, a skeleton carved out of a world map sits snugly in a SUitcase; and Kate Dawes (one of this year's Winners) presents Dysfunctional Hybrid Series, a series of doll's house-sized office furniture gone wrong. Taking on an almost human form, the legs of the desks are shown crossed over, in a resting position and in a state of collapse.
But Winning the SOCiety's coveted award for innovation is Glasgow School of Art student Marie-LOUise Blaney. Fish Tale is an intricate garment, crafted entirely out of real fish skins, complete With shoes and a garland of small salmon bones. The accompanying video footage reveals Blaney's metamorphosis into mermaid as each skin is individually attached to her naked body. (Helen Monaghan)
AUDIO INSTALLATION Nonambient: Alistair
Changing Room, Stirling, until Sat 18 Nov t -
There’s not much to see at Alistair Gentry’s exhibition. Just a wooden chair, a bare light bulb and four speakers. But if you are Willing to iettison yOur preconceptions about art being solely a Visual medium, then Gentry is offering an intoxrcating sonic landscape.
Gentry, who is also a writer of some repute icheck out his impresswe website: wwwgentry.btinternet coukl, is basically a sound sculptor. The exhibition’s soondtrack is a collage of sowids sampled during his recent residency in Stirling, which have been digitally manipulated and reassembled on a computer.
Entering the cell-like space, in which the chair and speakers are located, your overriding feeling is of listening to the soundtrack to a particularly damaged life. The sonicscapes are layered and dense. Electronic pulses and beats slip into the mix, as do more recognisable soonds, such as helicopter blades and chiming bells Warping and mutating, the cacophony of sound lurc'hes and loops, from slabs of cohesion into pools of chaos
The Cumulative effect is akin to listening to fragments of lives overloaded With audio pollution, If you close your eyes you’ll see a world as dark and alienated as any Visual depiction of COntemporary woes ilohn Beaglesl
PHOTOGRAPHY Garry Fabian Miller
lngleby Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sat ll Nov * * i‘r 1'
An intoxicating sonic landscape
Garry Fabian Miller dispenses With the USUal photographic paraphernalia, even the camera, to develop magical, abstract photographs of light.
It might seem that Miller is transgressing the laws of photography but he is merely returning to its basic premise which is the chemical reaction of light on photosensitive paper to create an image. Just as the technique is primitive, so too are the images and it is this duality which makes Miller's work unique. He manages to capture the agent of Vision in its raw, naked form and tame it into performing Subtle movements Witness the Petworth Windows series, pictures pulsating With the electric energy of light
You have to charge yOur imagination to work in (OITJUITCIIOH With Miller's Thoughts Of The Night Sea are landscapes etched by light. Through the gloom, y0u can make Out ghostly banks of cloud, the outline of the shore, the stillness of the water. These pictures are testament to Miller's dexterity and ingenious creatIVIty.
The third series included in this exhibitiOn, Towards A Solar Eclipse, are Miller’s Optimistic, Vibrant interpretations of the eclipse, a phenomenon that usually drains nature of light and colour. Miller shows that light in itself is a very photogen:c subject tlsabella Weirl
In The Interest Of Hygiene
Mounted Gallery, Edinburgh, until Fri 27 Oct t r
If the pristine, airbrushed publicity of the cosmetic industry is anything to go by, then you \VOUld think that personal hygiene never involves fishing hairs out of the plughole while hunting for clean underwear. It is this sanitary model of beauty propagated by the mass media and advertising that Edinburgh- based artist Keri McGowan seeks to subvert
Focusmg particularly on the bathroom, McGowan employs photography, painting and ceramics to explore the processes by which we construct and consume a purified image of personal attractiveness Sketches of the artist's beauty routine accompanied by the words '80, and single, stained indistinct photos of bottles of shampoo and perfume, serve to disclose what is concealed beneath a sanitised ideal of femininity Perhaps the most interesting works explore the theme of dressmg up Layers of tracing paper, advertising imagery and seWing pins revealing the fabrication of the concept of female beauty
In spite of some challenging ideas, however, the sense that McGowan is struggling to find a Visual language suitable to her themes is suggested by the uneven quality of the work, The overwhelming array of media used (]|\'(‘S an unsatisfying impression that the beauty myth Just hasn’t been scrutinised quite enough. (Donna Conwell)
Abstract photographs of light
Subverting a sanitary model of beauty
19 Oct— 2 ‘\lo\. 2000 THE lIST 81