Keeping the Festival in the picture

Americana, 1999-2001


Howard Hodgkin’s renders his life - the people and places, the experiences and memories - in colour. Everything gives off an aura that Hodgkin is able to capture in his magnificent paintings.

Terracotta and blue are Italy, arches of yellowy green with blasts of red are conversations, and hope is a vibrant orange. Hodgkin’s paintings are positive, beautiful interpretations of situations and memories that move between the real and the abstract. His imagination is not confined by detail but freely swoops and daubs paint across the canvas and frame to represent the emotion of the whole experience. The painting Memories - bold, thickly painted with blues and oranges and a sulky grey - shows that Hodgkin's isn’t preternaturally positive. This painting is a prime example of Hodgkin’s ability to emote brilliantly through colour. Memories of Max is a wonderful tribute, representing Max as a white light swathed in blue. This will make you wonder what colour would be used to immortalise yourself.

Hodgkin‘s paintings are so positive because every layer of colour used shines through vying for attention. Even rain is translated as a fragmented rainbow of colour that belies its inherent greyness. Hodgkin's work is a colourful spectrum of delight. (Isabella Weir)


This year‘s festival draws to a close and for the visual arts it has been a disappointing year with the exception of the excellent Hiroshi Sugimoto at the Fruitmarket/Stills Gallery and the vibrant large paintings by Howard Hodgkin at the Dean.

Cy Twombly at lnverleith House and Steven Campbell at the Talbot Rice Gallery both failed to ignite. as did New at the Gallery of Modern Art. the most disappointing of the big shows.

So why such a lacklustre performance? The appointment of Brian McMaster as the director of the Edinburgh International Festival Society a decade ago saw to it that the visual arts were marginalised by

his decision to drop them from his programme. The International Festival benefits from massive corporate sponsorship and a healthy grant from Edinburgh District Council (is local taxpayers' money) in order to sustain its programme.

McMaster, a self-confessed ignoramus when it comes to visual arts. instead of appointing an arts officer or an arts consultant to programme the visual arts. took the momentous decision to get rid of them. Without the corporate support and local taxpayers' cash enjoyed by and lining the International Festival's pockets. how are the visual arts supposed to offer a world class international outing? With attitudes like that, it's amazing we have any visual art at all. Shame on you McMaster.

80 THE LIST FESTIVAL GUIDE 9? Ant; (3 80:) 7’7“)?


The best festival exhibitions

I Howard Hodgkin: Large Paintings 1984-2002 Beautiful interpretations of situations and memories in colour by the celebrated painter Howard Hodgkin. One of the most significant artists working today, Hodgkin paints thoughts and memories of past events which delve deep into his subconscious. See review. Dean Gallery, 624 6200, until 6 Oct, £3.50 ($2.50).

I Hiroshi Sugimoto “Photography was just a second-class medium and I wanted to make it first class.’ Sugimoto certainly achieved that in this exhibition of black and white photographs. Turning his lens to 20th century architecture. the world's oceans and pine trees photographed for a Noh theatre piece, the works are both meditative and powerful. The Fruitmarket Gallery, 225 2383 and Stills, 622 6200, until 27 Sep, £3 (£7 .50).


I Moyna Flannigan: I’m a Stranger Here Myself A solo show of new oils and watercolours of fictional characters made specifically for the exhibition by Moyna Flannigan. Without the direct use of sitters or photographs. the Edinburgh-born artist creates intriguing pOrtraits made from memory. See review. doggerfisher 558 77 70, until 29 Sep, free.

I Bob and Roberta Smith: Artists are a Bunch of Cowards If it‘s a laugh you're after, then head down to the Collective Gallery. From badly painted pictures with the signature of the creator promising never to make art again to signs attacking cultural heroes, Patrick Brill’s hilarious exhibition proves that art doesn't always take itself seriously. Collective Gallery, 220 7 260. until 1 Sep, free.

I Abstraction A stunning combination of the old and the new as relics dating as far back as SOOOBC are juxtaposed with abstract paintings by contemporary artists. Howard Hodgkin, Ellsworth Kelly, Sean Scully. Ian Davenport and James Hugonin feature in the selection. Ing/eby Gallery, 556 444 7. until 7 Sep, free.