GROUP SHOW THE GREAT DIVIDE Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sat 27 Jul .00 The Great Divide attempts to illustrate the schism between man and nature. Named after the Great Divide in the Rocky Mountains, the exhibition runs with the metaphor to reveal how man has reversed the trends of nature and to explore the division between old and modern traditions. It presents the work of sixteen artists in various forms from photographs and wooden sculptures to multimedia and film. All strive to articulate their understanding of the environment. Alison Hayes investigates the swarming patterns of midges and starlings, photographing them in funny and inventive ways: the three dimensional video of attacking midges is any outdoor lover's nightmare. But, as entertaining as her work is, she provides no explanation of cause and effect to explain if man and pollution are creating adverse effects.
The issue of pollution is highlighted through the work of Judy Spark who is hot on the trail of electro-sensitivity and the electro mist that surrounds us. Although her maps and diagrams are
WORKS ON PAPER DAVID CONNEARN
doggerfisher, Edinburgh, until Sat 27 Jul 0000
This stunning new show from this gifted artist is a meditative joy. Like Paul Klee. Connearn believes in taking a line for a walk and then perhaps losing it in a geometric forest. This beautiful gallery space is left unlit for the exhibition to allow the huge framed pieces to draw the available iight into their dense Surfaces. It's a device that works well and leaves the viewer strangely haunted.
5 Drawings is an ongoing project that presents the first two of these 200cm square drawings. They each contain an inked square in the middle of a large cream sheet. The square is etched in thin black lines. There is an aesthetic working here that is both sensual and poetic. All the art here is a measurement in time itself. an autobiography of the moment and in some (particularly ink on paper) there is a sense of never knowing what the pen will do. Of the larger pieces embossed on paper is the most desirable. a white
negative of the previous works.
confusing, they do illustrate a curious phenomenon that is affecting people often without diagnosis.
Alexander Hamilton’s digital work on air pollution is funky. His microscopic photographs of petals with air pollution are perverser pretty, but they are anodyne in terms of impact. More thought- provoking is the singed wool ‘carpet’ by Andy Goldsworthy that mocks the sheepskin rugs back in vogue by raising the spectre of the foot and mouth crisis and the failings of modern farming practices.
The Goldsworthy piece adds
Still from Ian Seller’s 1989 film Venus Peter
extra poignancy to the photography of Werner Kissling, which documents the old traditions of farming from the 305 onwards. Juxtapose the two works together and naive nostalgia for the old ways starts to creep in. The beautifully handcrafted furniture of Nigel Bruce and the ecologically sound work of the Woodschool reinforce this nostalgic craving even more.
Although the exhibition has a political bent it does not dictate ideologies nor does it raise pertinent questions. It merely articulates some of the blemishes and relationships that exist. (Isabella Weir)
It's well worth checking out the works in the office: 24 Hours is a sublime taste of artistic clock watching in
miniature and Chesil (part of a collaboration with Harry Gilonis) is a reinterpretation of the naturally round pebbles that can be found on Chesil beach. Don't miss the projection which allows a computer to bounce two lines off each other: the re8ult looks like the missing link between Sanskrit and ancient archaeological drafts. (Paul Dale)
lnverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, until Sun 28 Jul .00
Painting in Three Parts
Alan Charlton's world is grey. from light grey to slate grey to dark grey. How dull, you might think. to take yOur inspiration from a co|0ur synonymous with boredom and gloominess. to exclude all the other colours of the spectrum and stick with a rainbow of pigeon greys. But once you view
Charlton 's minimal. seemingly bare canvasses you
understand that grey can be a peaceful and contemplative colour. Charlton also only uses rectangles with a module of 4.5cm. the depth of the paintings.
These two constants of grey and rectangle have obsessed Charlton since his student days when he started to paint in single colours to achieve direct. no nonsense. simple and abstract paintings. Grey had more of an impact on him than any other col0ur. satisfying his desire to produce lilll‘llilal images that collude with their enVironment to produce a harmonious atmosphere. lnverleith House is a tranquil space that conspires nicely with Charlton's work to produce a silent. meditative vibe. The walls are hung With rectangles varying in size from railway sleepers and thick fencing to single bed dimensions. They are obviously
painted in varying shades of grey. Although the work is not overwhelming in its originality. it does illustrate that blank canvasses can be as compelling
those filled With colour and movement. (Isabella Weir)
In our regular column, a team of mystery artists give their thoughts on the current art scene.
WHAT’S IN A NAME? Wordsmbug B
Drawing and painting, tapestry and sculpture are the titles given to the faculties within an art college. Art schools use these words to differentiate between departments and they also provide a guide for students to help them choose their artistic direction. For those of you that visited the Edinburgh College of Art degree show this year. I imagine like me. you found that the parameters of these departments have crumbled away. In the tapestry and SCUIpture department you will find no tapestry. but you will find installation and SCUIpture; there is more installation and sculpture in the painting department: and. granted, in the sculpture department. some excellent sculpture.
It is still possible to ‘break down the barriers' within the medium while still celebrating the medium for what it is. The skill and beauty of a hand-made tapestry and the knowledge of how to manipulate oil paint on a surface in a new and innovative way still has much scope. The D&P catalogue states that Edinburgh's strength “is the originality of direction' and that work ‘puts demands on the audience as it is much more difficult to package'. Why bother?
Wouldn't it be far easier to view the work under a collective title of fine art? After all, once you have left college the title becomes irrelevant and you are simply the holder of an art degree. I feel they are doing themselves and the students a disservice by keeping these archaic titles. How can you expect to be taken seriously when you come out of art school with a degree in a subject that you didn‘t study?
If you closed you eyes and forgot which department you were standing in some of the work was fantastic and stood out on its own. Therefore please stop trying to discredit it for whatever pigeonhole it doesn't slide into.
4—18 Jul 2002 THE LIST 95