PAINTING AND DRAWING INTIMATE FRIENDS Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow, until 1 Apr 2003 .00
If imitation is the sincerest form of ﬂattery then Intimate Friends veers towards obsequiousness. In the gloomy environs of the Hunterian Art Gallery’s print gallery an extensive range of oils and watercolours by the four Scottish colourists - Cadell, Hunter, Peploe and Fergusson - shine brightly. In each themed section, though, the references to inﬂuential precursors are overt, with some paintings approaching pastiche in their similarity.
Undoubtedly, the reason behind the colourists’ signiﬁcance in Scottish art history lies in the way they diverted the prevailing Scottish landscape tradition away from high Victoriana to a resolutely modern approach.
The impressive diversity and range of Fergusson’s work in particular, is nevertheless a study in late 19th century/early 20th century French art. The sketchy, loose pointillism and dappled shadows on flesh are those of Renoir and Monet; the interest in Cloisonne-effect patterned backgrounds is reminiscent of Bonnard and Vuillard’s Intimiste
belong to Seurat, Gauguin and Cezanne while the satire and caricature of bourgeois cafe culture is Toulouse-Lautrec’s.
The Scottish colourists may be the bright stars of Scottish art history but on the basis of this work they appear inventive but ultimately eclipsed by the French artists who inspired them. Regardless of their debts, though, much of the work is admirable — the
Royan, 1910 by J.D. Fergusson
rich, startling use of colour in the still lives and interiors appears brilliant and jewel-like. The landscapes demonstrate an expressive handling of paint and the portraits of women convey character and depth rather than mere aestheticism. The biggest ﬂaw within Intimate Friends, however, lies not with the works themselves but with their overrated reputation.
works; the stylised, ﬂattened forms
THOMAS JOSHUA COOPER
Mount Stuart Visitor Centre, Isle of Bute, until 30 Sep .0.
~ .‘ ‘3.
The Sound of Rate and Scalpsle Bay
On a island not so very far away. there has been a quiet. unnoticed contemplation in print occurring. At the Isle of Bute's new visitor centre at Mount Stuart there is a small collection of works by Thomas Joshua Cooper.
Traditionally associated with engendering spiritual connections between the earth he perceives and the prints he develops. Cooper has recently forged a relationship with Bute. His silvery prints. often gazing far off into the sea. offer a distant acknowledgement of legendary explorer and Bute's patron saint Brendan the Navigator who first discovered its shores.
Clarity — the sharpness of stones or seaweed - is set against a more brooding, incomprehensible and abstract sea. The Sound of Bute and Scalpsie Bay has a powerful sense of elemental forces pushing and pulling against each other in a moment when ebb and flow are simultaneously dragging under and crashing down.
With titles such as A Quality of Dancing and Guardian Gathering. Cooper lays bare his desire to evoke a visual lyric transcending the frozen necessity of a lens opening its eye on a moment in time. For him, the images are a departure from time where the mind can apprehend a sense of the elemental spirit.
Take your time. it's all there — land, sea. sky, prints — a fine chance to see Cooper's work in its organic setting and inspiration. (Ruth Hedges)
84 THE LIST 5-19 Sep 2002
(1983—98) is two
. in the glass cabinet like elevates the status of
' this seemingly ordinary
culture in a light- hearted yet ironic way.
MIXED MEDIA WARI-IOL TO KOONS: INTERNATIONAL
CONTEMPORARY ART National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, until early
In the upstairs galleries of the National Gallery of Modern Art is a small. but significant collection of works on long- term loan from a private collection. Jeff Koons. Gerhard
» Richter. Joseph Beuys, Bill Viola. Anslem Kiefer and others
feature in this line-up of work by seminal international contemporary artists.
In Bill Viola‘s hi-tech vertical video diptych Surrender (2001). a man and a woman in their separate frames seem locked in anguish. With no sound. their faces distort and mouths are agape. As the piece continues. they are reflected in a pool of water. Their bodies fragment and
writhe both visually and emotionally as they hit the surface.
Like much of Viola's work. there is a strong sense of
universality. serving as a metaphor for the tears of
In a more traditional medium. Gerhard Richter's Abstract Painting (809-3) (1994), part of a series of works. is stunning. Using a rich palette of blue. green. yellow and black, he has dragged the paint across the surface of the canvas leaving a lasting presence like a shock-wave. Based on enlarged out-of-focus black and white photographs. 'nis brushstrokes obliterate any previous
Jeff Koons' quirky Encased — Two Row
towers of Michael Jordan-endorsed basketballs. displayed
a museum exhibit. He
object into a relic of modern consumer
With some great works on display here. Warhol to Koons is definitely worth a visit.
(Helen Monaghan) Surrender, 2001 by Bill Viola
DOMESTIC DESIGN INSPIRATIONS Hill House, Helensburgh, until Sun 27 Oct 000
This exhibition to
celebrate the centenary
1 of the foundation of
Macintosh's Hill House proves that the great
man's designs can i occasionally be matched but are rarely
surpassed in quality. The
designs are far from
. but from where the
actual 'inSpiration' is derived is not clear. Whatever the source. Jane Wooten's Chroma offers a rather weak pastiche while Chris Holmes' inspired irony in How yew can personalise IKEA
:r‘. KL N SMITH
Alison Kinnaird's Bride (pictured) stands out in a display of decorative glass works. Hints of lace are etched across a transparent brick. which features three figures rather than a wedded pair — perhaps hinting at the ambiguity of relationships. Keiko Mukaide shows what the best in domestic design can aspire to: a duality of purpose. Not only is her Spheres an elegant piece of art but it draws the viewer's attention to the house itself. The clear balls bring adjacent leaded glazing and slate roof into sharp focus. Similarly her sculpture outside the drawmg room retracts colours on the gravel paying as well as on the ceiling inside. COinplementing its environment rather than snnply (éXisting Within it.
Still. as Willi any exhibition at Hill House. the magnificent. ageless pile with details by CRM and partner Margaret Macdonald tends to steal the show.