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The new Glasgow Boy is back. And this time Steven Campbell has a Hitchcock fixation. Words: Helen Monaghan.
hen Steven Campbell
won one of the l—l
Scottish Arts Councils Creative Scotland Awards in 2()()l. it was amid a certain amount of controversy. Campbell. along with other seasoned professionals such as Peter Chang. Will Maclean and George Wylie. were selected over the younger generation of artists. Many of them felt that they had been excluded and the SAC's choice was a predictable and safe bet. But subsequent CSAs have allowed the younger artists to come to the fore and. in the case of Campbell. his remarkable vision has been brought back into the public arena after several years absence.
Campbell‘s forthcoming show. The Caravan Club. at lidinburgh‘s Talbot Rice Gallery is his first Scottish large—scale. one-man show in almost a decade and gives audiences the opportunity to see a new body of paintings created through the SAC award. The Glasgow-born artist. who was part of the group dubbed the New Glasgow Boys which reinvigorated figurative art in Scotland in the 1980s. has produced an incredible amount of work for the exhibition. encompassing large oil paintings. works on paper and a three- dimensional installation.
'This is a remarkable collection of new work in terms of quality and vision.~ says Pat Fisher. assistant curator at Talbot Rice Ciallery. ‘There are some very dark images. but we live in challenging times.~
Campbell's paintings. strong in narrative. embrace a wealth of ideas and a huge cast of characters taken from all aspects of life and fiction. His early work at Glasgow School of Art in performance art has brought a sense of theatricality and filmic qualities to the paintings. Much of the new work is in part a homage to the film director Alfred Hitchcock. taking the film classic l’vscho as a starting point. Viewing Campbell’s paintings can be puzzling when every inch of the canvas is animated. It feels quite claustrophobic. You can just imagine Campbell locked away in his studio. painting every fleeting moment of thought. He creates what at first appears to be absurd and surreal worlds. unreal and dream—like. But as you spend more time with these paintings. realitv begins to creep in. '
In the painting l'iiiirleet with lll'U things in
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‘There are some of torsos washed up on but we live in
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Four feet with two things in common . . . gardening and killing
eiiinmim . gardening and killing. the detailed pastoral scene of a gardener tending his plants is interrupted by the image of a boy on swing. The
ropes are about to break. There is a strong sense of
impending doom. Hidden in the foreground. but just visible. is a half-buried naked body.
In another work. [it the glitter the smells l'llll (ii-rims the way. the viewer is presented with a scene of carnage: a body whose lower legs have been severed lies on a rail track as a tightly-packed group of bystanders look on.
Campbell is not painting the extraordinary: things happen in everyday life no matter how absurd they may seem. The news reports
beaches. horrific rail crashes
buried bodies are becoming more and more commonplace. "l’he work stuns up so many examples of human folly and the confusion of the way we live.‘ says Pat Fisher.
The viewer will no doubt find Campbell's images a challenge. raising questions about contemporary life and how we experience it. We are faced with all sorts of horrors on a daily basis. whether it’s through our TV screens or first-hand experience. Campbell explores the layering extremes of life. pulling all the disparate strands together to create a series of fascinating and thought-provoking images.
I Steven Campbell.- T be Caravan Club is at Talbot Rice Gal/em. Edinburgh. Thu 1 Aug—Sat 7 80/).
or the grim discovery of
News from the world of art
ARTIST ALEX HETHERINGTON has produced a new CD-rom compiled from gathered responses and research where he asked people ‘what is harmony?‘ Using a number of 3D animation programmes, he has created a portfolio of ideas, animation characters and narrative in the form of clip art, typefaces and a web browser project. To get a copy of this limited edition CD, email hetheringtonalex @hotmail.com
AN INTERNATIONAL CENTRE IN creative glass has been set up in Lybster. Caithness with the Support of 9100000 of Scottish Arts COuncil National Lottery Funding. Hetised in a former schoolhouse. the SlllCllO provides a state-of-the-art glass workshop and studio. providing a wide range of facilities for hot and cold glass working.
Alex Hetherington’s response to harmony
SIR TIMOTHY CLIFFORD’S 26m find - a sketch by Michelangelo discovered by chance in the back room of a New York gallery - looks set to be exhibited in Edinburgh next year as part of a show on the life and work of the 16th century artist. The drawing was bought by the Cooper- Hewitt National Design Museum in New York for £40 in 1942 and had been placed in a box of lighting fixture designs by unknown artists. Browsing through the collections, Sir Clifford said he recognised the piece ‘as you recognise a friend’.
RUBENS' THE MASSACRE OF the Innocents was estimated to sell fer between WM and mm at Sotheby's In London last week. The bidding started at £73m but reached a staggering 83. m. The work was acquired on behalf of a private collector by Sam Fogg. a dealer in medieval illuminated and oriental manuscripts.
AND FINALLY, CHARLES Jencks’ Landform, the dramatic earthwork sited in front of Edinburgh's National Gallery of Modern Art, opens to the public on Saturday 3 August. The sweeping, stepped mound and three crescent-shaped pools of water have been inspired by patterns in nature.