lNSTAl lATlON/PAINTING LARA RIVERA/SIMONE
LANDWEHR-TRAXLER Tramway. Glasgow, until Sun 18 May 000
Both Lara Rivera and Simone Landwehr-Traxler graduated from Glasgow School of Art's MFA course in 2001 and their respective work in the degree show of that year precipitated the invitation to return to Tramway for these debut solo exhibitions.
Landwehr-Traxler’s Waldgeschichten (Tales from the Woods) draws on both personal memories and German fairytales such as those by the Grimm Brothers. From the outset, however, it is clear that Landwehr-Traxler’s take on these themes is less than cute nostalgia. There is something doubly disconcerting about her use of miniature, plastic toys to illustrate the dark undercurrents of these stories because, as everyone knows, many of today’s soothing bedtime tales originated as cruelly didactic, sexually charged horror stories.
It is this element that comes to the fore in the animation Queen of the Frogs, another take on The Frog Prince and just as unsettling as the original. Alongside, Lady in 3 Plant is a plastic ‘happy-meal‘ version of John Millais' Ophelia, while A Hunter's Mobile Hide-Out, is as much the Snow Queen's chariot as a hunter’s hide. Essentially, this is 21 st century Arthur Rackham in 30.
In Lara Rivera's paintings seemingly innocuous subject matter
again takes on a sinister bent. Based on photographs from the artist’s family album, the paintings appear technically na'ive. But is this the case or does the imagery itself create the impression of a sophisticated paint- by-numbers attempt at photo- realism?
Rivera says she want to turn her work into a “mechanical process, like the photos they’re based upon’, an approach tried and tested by painters such as Malcolm Morley. Like Morley's cruise ships, Rivera’s
Work by Lara Rivera
subject-matter is so mundane and banal that it becomes almost bizarre, a point eloquently articulated in Francis McKee's accompanying essay. He points out the peculiar resonance of these works and the sense of alienation produced by intense focus on overlooked objects, as in the still-life tradition. As he remarks, ‘isolated from any framing narrative and stripped of their original context the images become disconcerting, sometimes surreal'. (Susannah Thompson)
PAINTING INKA ESSENHIGH Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sat 24 May om
As soon as y0u spy Inka Fssenhigh's work you are sucked into her crazy cartoon world where humans and animals have morphed into molten, gooey blobs that are almost indistinguishable in their abstract narratives. Think of a toy horse or an Action Man pulled apart and then the limbs and torsos melted and dropped into a surreal cartoon and you're almost there.
As macabre and disturbing as this sounds. Essenhigh's work is actually completely inoffensive. With the Violence diluted by her humour and artistry. Her large Oil paintings have been likened to Bali influenced Japanese animation With a strong dollop of popular culture. All this is immediately obVious as you scan the large colowful images trying to make sense of the story. Unlike comic strips. Fssenhigh doesn't split the image into a consecutive narrative but allows it to flow arOund the canvas. as in Super Being and Sudden Arrival of Morning, which can be slightly confusing.
But. as Essenhigh explains. Super Being is her comic hero who spies a baddy. flies in to destroy it and then flies off again - nothing complex there then. Sudden Arrival of Morning is particularly funny as it captures the fragmentary pain of a c0uple trying to get up in the morning as the alarm beeps thrOugh their distorted. dismembered bodies. The painting Arrows of Fear looks like Essenhigh's ghoulish interpretation of Ghostbusters and Western Print resemble a knackers' yard for bucking broncos.
So although it's very dark hum0ur, it's also very good art and
\ very entertaining. Blue Wave, 2002 (Isabella Weir)
so THE LIST 94 Apr—8 May 90m
not familiar, her textile designs
TEXTILE DESIGN LUCIENNE DAY
Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, until Sat 10 May me
Even if the name LuCIenne Day IS
are. From the cup-like. Miro-
The famous Calyx design
inspired deSign of the now iconic Calyx to the spidery form of Graph/ca.
Lucienne Day epitomises 508 style. The retrospective at Glasgow School of Art perfectly domiments a long and successful career at the forefront of
modern desrgn. On one wall, small mounted panels
chronologically reveal her patterns from 1950 to 1975. each decade defined by LuCienne's deSigns. Long lengths of her classic fabrics hang beautifully in the space. all of which have been digitally reproduced to a very high standard. On another wall. there are black and white photographs of LuCienne in her studio. and an image of Che Guevara in a Cuban museum With Calyx in the background - Such was the success of this deSign.
As well as the classm fabrics. there is a selection of Lucrenne's srlk mosaics from the 705 onwards. Compared to photographic doarmentation. seeing them in close-up
reveals their intricaCy. Constructed from small rectangles of
varying tones of coloured silk, hand-sewn together, they are
beautiful works of art. Circling the Square employs a palette of delicate pastel shades while the Vibrant Three Daughters of Mexico mixes fuchSia pink With black.
This is a very well-deSigned exhibition which certainly
befits one of the greatest names in textile deSign. (Helen Monaghan)
l’AlNTlNGS S SOL ll l‘llllll ZOE FOTHERGILL AND JO GANTER
Talbot Rice Gallery.
Edinburgh. until Mon 5 May 0..
Since its inception .15; .in experimental prorei‘t spare the, round room has housed some innoxatixe exhibitions; foe l ottlerqr’r'u use of it is one of the'n l-rom the cupola. hangs .i series of delicate organu woven torrns. inrreasinti in sire. as they spiral If Nulltltl a black reflective tloor \i ii] gain a teeling of lieirig completely enr‘irr‘leil within the space at; the translucent spheres float ettortlessly arouan you
'Art should tie a least for all the senses] lotherrrill sairl in her recent talk and she has; certainly rl(‘ll|t‘\.’l*li "Ht; here [xllllilllll] the liquirl [)ll.tf‘.(?.‘; of growth. she has also (realeil a f;()llll(lii(ir’tllt‘ generated from the DNA sequence of a growth hormone lhe combination of sound anrl the tluirl structures creates an extremely sensory experience where olilertt; appear to lie (‘()Illlllll(l”y growrrig.
Zoé Fothergill’s installation
In the main gallery is a substantial amount of new work by .Jo Ganter comprising prints. paintings and lightworks. Interiors and space is primarily her concern. USing a palette of greys. the smaller orls are much freer than the prints restricted behind glass. You get more a sense of the process as pencrl marks reveal the artist's hand.
But in another larger canvas. Ganter applies more frenzied crayon markings to the Oil. The re5ult is less subtle. Upstairs are a series of lightworks in which a collage of square paper- pieces have been illuminated. Here. she creates a completely different mood. bringing something new and excrting to a fairly well explored Subject.