Visual Art .




CCA, Glasgow, until Sat 29 Oct 0000

Art seems to be going through a period of transition in Glasgow. Like it Matters in the CCA demonstrates that there is a distinct move away from YBA egomania towards quiet confidence. There is an acceptance that even though the world could continue without art, we can’t.

The three Glasgow-based sculptors exhibiting present very different work, but each artist demonstrates significant ways in which the lessons of minimalism and performance art have been learned and developed. By utilising non-art materials such as flour, cardboard, paper and denim, Karla Black, Mike Peter and Michael Stumpf attack the monumentality of traditional sculptural vocabularies, developing new formal lexicons that make the mundane seem poetic.

The anti-formal concerns of late modernist sculptors (such as Robert Morris with his piles of felt) are invoked in the work of Karla Black, who seems to be attempting an ironic ‘feminisation’ of Joseph Beuys. But, rather than shamanism and lard, her sculptural works consist of pink petroleum jelly and the traces of empty ritual (‘Proof of the Cure’, for example). She presents an ambivalent take on feminism, which is always a safer option.

Mike Peter and Michael Stumpf’s works are more recognisany sculptural - although both avoid the charge of sober monumentality. Peter, with his foot still in the ‘art that makes you snigger’ camp, presents a ‘Pig Tanker’, leaking black gold from its mechanised feeding stations. ‘Nope’ is less accessible but breaks Sol LeWitt’s cold grids and frames with its cracking wit: a concrete die/cube sits on a construction that looks like it should accommodate it, but nope. Michael Stumpf continues his heroic journey into a Nibelungen land. Like Peter and Black, he opts for unprepossessing, non-art materials (denim and aerosol-pain in ‘Rock’), yet his sculptures manage to charge the surrounding air with something unheimlich (uncanny - or to give the German word its exact translation, ‘unhomely’).

Transitional periods in art are always difficult to fully comprehend - there is a future-facing element in the work that bars immediate aesthetic judgement, and reactionary traces that could make you view the work too harshly. Look again. .. Michae. Stumpf, Rock (Alexander Kennedy)

PAINTING. DRAWING AND INSTALLATION OUT IN THE OPEN Glasgow School of Art, The Mackintosh Gallery, until Fri 28 Oct

The fresh crop of students arriving at Glasgow School of Art can look forward to a different kind of greeting: an exhibition. Out in the Open. is set to feature work by Alan Currall. John Calcutt. Jim Hamlyn. Francis McKee. Shauna McMullan and Carol Rhodes. all teaching staff at the institution.

'When the new intake of students arrive they hear the fine art staff in lectures. and meet them in the studies. but they don't always know what these people actually do.' says curator David Bellingham. ‘The show is in part an answer to the question. “How do we introduce ourselves as fine art studio staff?“

Out in the Open is more than an introduction for students. though. It provides the public with a valuable glimpse behind the scenes at the School of Art. revealing work by the artists charged with guiding the next generation.

(Jack Mottram)


In the little project rooms on the third floor of Glasgow's GoMA, Jane Topping masterfully and mistressfully invokes the absence of author and playwright Carson McCullers. They Are the We of Me is a portrait of loss. a black mirror reflecting the spaces that loved ones leave when they leave a room. The work is mournful but not gloomy; a wake rendered in charcoal. oil paint and paper flowers.

We are led from the public stage before the curtain of a personal history to behind the stage set. and into a chamber that vibrates with longing. The charcoal drawings in the first room use schematic trompe l'oeil techniques where drawings of notes. photographs and other miscellany referring to McCullers cover walls. tables and pin boards. This could be referencing John Fredrick Pete's 'Old Souvenirs‘. 1881. but Jasper Johns‘ canvases are more likely predecessors. where painted pins and masking tape appear to be fastening papers to the canvas. The Johnsian allusion deepens the atmosphere of Deep Southern torpor that Topping subtly portrays. continuing in the representation of the screen door that Johns also used in his work.

‘Except for the low rumble of the radio'. 2005. offers a brief glimpse of life outside McCullers' study (and the gallery). but the incoming storm calls for hatches to be battened down. The painting sparkles in the half-light.

(Alexander Kennedy)

88 THE LIST (3 20 Oct 2001')