MIXED MEDIA LAPLAND - TEMPLE OF
THE SENSES St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow until
Wed 26 Jun O...
Lapland is a region with no borders. Lapland, the Glaswegian art collective, certainly showed it was interested in blurring boundaries and invigorating the gallery space. In 1994 the original Temple of the Senses show took six new artists (including Lapland founders Hugh Pizey and Patrick Macklin) six senses and 21 days in an art gallery. There were water coolers full of lobster and mint pizzas made up to look like an artist’s palette delivered daily. It was a landmark show that, if you look at press cuttings from the time, reacquainted many a Scottish art critic with the garrulous fun to be had from the avant-garde. For Lapland however, it was a financial disaster, so it started doing weird Christmas shows to make some dosh from its art and became moderately successful. Now it’s back with a quasi-sequel to its original show and it’s more fun than a pocketful of Mexican bouncing beans. Residing in St Mary's Cathedral, the exhibits have been placed on the broad sills of the stained glass windows. The only thing linking them is the canary
yellow boards they sit on.
There is so much to enjoy here but Lisa Gallacher’s homespun mutant objects Rules Becoming Variables are stunning. So too are Yvonne Twaddle’s bell jar flytrap flower drawings. Opticski’s Yes and No, a strange mobile phone messaging service is inspired. As are Martin Howse and Stutterer’s Sonibuff - little sonically chipped devises that look like dog toys. Hugh Pizey’s Standing Stones -
Opticski’s Yes and No website
monolithic hunks of rock water jetted into folly sculpture - and Stephen Skrynka’s Goose Eggs, with their carved quotes from Galileo and Hugo, are clever, impressive and very collectable if you are a buyer.
Some of the hi-tech stuff doesn’t work, but on the whole this show once again proves that Lapland is the most interesting group of artists currently exhibiting art across the disciplines. (Paul Dale)
Art Gallery & Museum, Kelvingrove, Glasgow, until Sun 30 Jun 00.
Less than a mile away from the teapot-warming. fine-wine drinking corporate consumers of Buchanan Street lies the infamous Barras. home to Barras people. But who are Barras PeOp/e? The title suggests yet another photo- documentary depiction of ‘the working class'. invariably made up of Hogarthian rakes. Dickensian pickpockets and Orwellian proles.
Thankfully. this exhibition avoids such irritating stereotypes by treating its subjects as people rather than characters. What could have been a toe-Curlineg patronising study of otherness is. in fact. an engaging visual record of the market. its traders and customers. The portraits are often accompanied by an in-depth interview and the sitters are shown as amused rather than defiant.
As much social histOry as art. Martin Gray's vibrant large- scale images aptly convey the anarchy and hum0ur of the area. Eccentricity is a common theme. but Gray demonstrates that there is no such thing as a typical Barras person. At times the composition is staid. but images such as Willie Charles ‘Spiel'. the white-suited Tony Soprano and the ladies of Betty's Seafood more than compensate. The photographs and interviews with the traders are the highlight here. but Gray does not shy away from the more unpleasant aspects of the area. staying true to reality with images of vomit. Buckfast. and. perhaps worst of all. sports socks. (Susannah Thompson)
1.3.. The ladies of Betty’
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84 THE LIST 0-20 Jul} 200?
FACING THE LIGHT: DAVID OCTAVIUS HILL AND ROBERT ADAMSON
National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sun 15 Sep 0000
Automatic cameras and one hour processing have made capturing and possessing the moment quick and easy. Imagine then striking a pose and saying cheese for over two minutes as daylight etches your likeness onto paper that is developed into a grainy photograph called a calotype. That is exactly what Hill and Adamson would have asked of you in the 19th century. Adamson working mainly on the chemical processes while Hill focused on the technical aspects. they would coax your better side into suspended animation with his genial personality.
Hill was introduced to calotype photography by Adamson and was immediately struck by its potential; together they made photography an art form and an important method of social documentation. Their partnership began at the emergence of the Free Church and covered the building of the Scott Monument and the industrial revolution. This combination of skill and talent is emphasised in the photographs where the subjects have dressed up. one even shaving his head to pose as a monk and another. a judge. dressing as a fictitious beggar. Photographs like these are technically astute. creating characters in an era when usually only stiff templates emerged.
Their pictures of the Newhaven fishing community are believed to be the first social documentation of this type. A group of young boys ordered into silence around a boat. the promise of a photograph enough to stifle their fidgets: burly fishermen standing proud in front of their boats and fishwives sitting in their cliques. Hill and Adamson managed to gain this community's trust and captured its essence.
This exhibition quietly impresses with the subtle technical and artistic merits of the artists. (Isabella Weir)
The Morning After by David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson
in our new column, a team of mystery artists will be giving their thoughts on the current art scene.
SELLING THE STUPID Words: Artbug C
Being a visual artist in Scotland means saying: ‘Fuck it. I'll just get a job.‘ approximately every six months. before realising, again. that you are probably unemployable for anything else. The trick is to try not to blame anyone else for the low income and the fact that you. as an artist. help to subsidise the culture of a whole nation. When it's going well, being an artist is a dream job. We are an amazing resource. and most of us who are up and running. can turn our hand to almost any art related business (we have to).
Perhaps the best thing about making the stuff is the not knowing exactly how it's going to turn out in the end. That and reaching a really big. unlikely and enthusiastic audience. Now that's the really tricky thing.
Selling art is OK. Dead useful, but strangely unfulfilling. The trouble is. most people in Scotland. if they do buy original art. buy really stupid art. And thus encourage artists to make more of the stupid stuff. Gilt- framed and fits nicely above the mantle piece. Guilty of underachieving, of not taking risks. of loosing ambition. Guilty of believing that that is enough. just to get by.
Most curators and arts administrators are unnerved by assertive and challenging artists. Except when they are dead because then they don't answer back. question the hanging of their work or quibble about the crap written about them. Give us braver curators now and you'll get better art from the wonderful. living Scottish artists of all ages who need creative challenges in their own lifetime. Or is it the other way around ’?
I Disagree? react@/ist. co. uk