THE SURREALIST AND THE PHOTOGRAPHER: ROLAND PENROSE AND LEE MILLER
Dean Gallery and National Gallery
Of Modern Art, until Sun 9 Sep 0”.
Shedding light on one of the most fascinating artistic partnerships of the 20th century, the Penrose and Miller exhibition is a must-see. Two galleries have been dedicated to the life and work of the English surrealist artist, exhibition organiser, collector and
years in France, mixed in surrealist circles which not only shaped his style but led him to champion this artistic movement. He organised the International Surrealist Exhibition held in London in 1936, and you can just imagine the sensation it must have caused. Along with the many paintings, including
writer Roland Penrose (1900-84) and Penrose’s first his wife Lee Miller (1907-77), the
American photographer and former
guide which accompanies the show, is an indication of the sheer amount of work to be visually digested. Housed in the Dean Gallery is a cornucopia of paintings, photographs, sculpture and personal memorabilia charting Penrose’s friendships, loves and lifelong commitment to the promotion of contemporary art in Britain. Sitting alongside paintings and Pop-style collages by Penrose, a surrealist artist in his own right, are works by Magritte, Dali, Ernst, Miro and
Penrose, who spent his formative
SCOTT MITCHELL: 2470/360°
Ink Tank, Edinburgh, until Fri 20 Jul 0.
Scott Mitchell undertook a road trip across California. Nevada and Arizona taking over 170 photographs of people, places and objects. This exhibition showcases just thirteen of them. Mitchell has tried to capture the essence of the America that we all know through films and television. America. the great metropolis of popular culture. that litters our minds with the detritus from its symbolic foundations. As such, we can all construct our own token America from empty Coke bottles. molasses and popcorn.
Every time Mitchell takes a photograph, he is careful to include the stereotypical image that will lead the viewer directly to their honeyed version of America be it the large pick-up truck. the contemporary cowboy or the iconic Coca Cola symbol. It's all too easy. a little too contrived. lacking the naturalness that evokes emotion in the viewer.
Unfortunately, these photographs do not rise above the level of good holiday snaps taken with a decent camera. Admittedly we could not all take photographs of a cluster of condiments and make them look interesting but when the backdrop is a diner in America there is instant added glamour. It seems as though Mitchell was too busy trying to build the perfect shot rather than living. (Isabella Weir)
A little too contrived
90 THE LIST 7-21 Jun 2001
purchased painting by Picasso Female Nude Vogue model. But prepare yourselves: Lying in the Sun on the Beach, the just one look at the broadsheet-sized visual and textual documentation reveals a photograph of Dali, clad in the diving suit worn to his infamous lecture which led to his near
Shortly after the exhibition in Paris 1937, Penrose met the beautiful American photographer Lee Miller and the couple married in 1947. Her work is celebrated at the National Gallery of Modern Art, and with only one solo show in her lifetime, this is the largest retrospective of her photography. From her early photographs taken in Paris in the Picasso. early 19305 while a student, model, assistant and lover to Man Ray, to the Monaghan)
Picnic (Nusch and Paul Eluard, Roland Penrose, Man Ray, Ady Fidelin), Mougins, 1937 by Lee Miller
images as a wartime photojournalist, the show is full of striking and stunning photographs.
Miller showed an extraordinary talent for the medium and her work, in particular as a war correspondent, puts her on a par with the great photojournalists of the 20th century. In the aftermath of the war, Miller continued to photograph, capturing the full extent of the atrocities. The harrowing image of a child dying and the stock-piled emaciated carcasses and bones, the only remains of human life taken at Buchenwald concentration camp, leaves a lasting impression on the mind. (Helen
Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee, until Sun 24 Jun 0...
All at sea: Deacon’s ocean of undulating sculpture
On entering the current exhibition at DCA. you may well feel at sea as you stand amid an ocean of undulating sculptural components flooding the gallery and your field of ViSion. These apparently abstract forms. of steam-bent ash and aluminium ties. recall sweeping and rippling waves. highlighted in the SMS-style title UW84DC (run it all together and say it out loud). UW84DC threatens to immerse and wash you away as you weave y0ur way through.
Coming up for air in a small room to the rear of the large gallery. you are again surrounded: this time by SOund. Ummh revolves around one man's futile attempt to recapture a “train of thOught’. By turns hilarious (when a random but recognisable word is spoken) and mildly embarrassmg (as we wait and wait for that one word). Ummh WI” remind you of your favourite old college professor, a forgetful relative or the incomprehensible posh guy from The Fast Show.
In an adjacent gallery lies a viscerallooking, cayennered glazed ceramic work entitled Tomorrow, Tomorrow. Tomorrow (K). Coiled on the floor like a giant Bockwurst. this wet-look intestinal work is slick. smooth and shiny but seems too raw to touch. In contrast. UW84DC appears invitineg tactile but we are prevented from running hands along the curving Surfaces due to sharp screws perforating the wooden panels. Similarly, Deacon's manipulation of the gallery space makes plain his deSire to control the way in which the work is experienced. (Susannah Thompson)
Dee": oat: stem EYESHINE: SU GRIERSON Streetlevel Photoworks. Glasgow. until Sat 30 Jun
Simplistic and gaudy
In the itlt‘iit; tllll ‘1. near ;1\.o|lo\.'.’ lxidge ‘.'.:th a red sun’f‘ lilt- phrase 'iit.<:l(‘:ai pot-.t-i. no thanks' iiiaj, have slipped from our vocabulary over til»- years. but the issuer. surrounding nuclear DOV/til l'Clliitlil frightenineg pertinent. Scottish artist Sii Gi'iei‘son's new solo exhibition renovates this neglected leftist theme by way ()l (ll(]ll£l”‘/ enhanced photographic prints of power stations.
Many of the power stations in Grierson's (acid-coloured prints are local: Torness. Dounreay and Cocken/ie. easily recognisable despite the scarlet skies and pink smoke that surround their vast chimneys. Grierson's colour schemes owe an obwous debt to Warhol's screenprinted celebrity portraits. notably the IWin video stills Acrd Works which replace Monroe‘s smile With lurid sulphuric factory emissions.
Her subject matter is obvmusly highly emotive. and it is difficult to view these works Without the word 'cancer' passing through your mind. The Video work Vi/addammanna, composed of frantic tracking shots through a TaSmanian power Station and its bush environs. COTTlDOUlldS the sense of panic. But a controversial subject matter does not a great exhibition make. and Grierson's handling of her theme remains simplistic and gaudy throughout. (Sarah Lowndesl