Visual art, Reviews

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First of the Summer Wine

10 Aug 20113 stars

Group show featuring Joan Eardley, Vanessa Bell, George Leslie Hunter and Donald Clark

Now at their new location on West Regent Street, Cyril Gerber’s annual summer show, First of the Summer Wine, is full of variety, placing artists from different generations alongside one another. A mix of modern British and Scottish masters includes…

Tamsyn Challenger: 400 Women

8 Aug 20115 stars

Stunning artistic memorial to victims of gender violence

What unites the collection of heterogeneous portraits in 400 Women is the fate of each subject depicted. All are the victims of rape, abduction and murder, devastating crimes which have taken place on the Mexican border region of Ciudad Juàrez. In…

Katri Walker: North West

8 Aug 20113 stars

Intriguing exploration of Scottish/Wild West links

This triptych of work by Edinburgh-born artist Katri Walker recasts the landscape of Scotland as the wilderness of the American old west, quite literally in the case of the titular central work. Projected over three connected screens, the rocky cliffs…

Ingrid Calame

5 Aug 20114 stars

Water water everywhere with only a doodle to drink

A river runs through Ingrid Calame’s work. But this river has been drained and all that remains are detritus and old stains. Somewhere between Google Earth screen grabs, weighty childhood nature books with their own illustrative key codes and fey…

David Mach: Precious Light

5 Aug 20114 stars

Edinburgh Art Festival exhibition of biblical proportions by Fife-born artist

Without doubt, Methil-born artist David Mach’s work ‘Golgotha’ will stand out as the defining image from the artistic strand of this year’s Edinburgh Festival. Three enormous figures of threaded steel nailed to metallic crosses, which take up the entire…

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Anton Henning: Interieur No. 493

5 Aug 20113 stars

Curious and bemusing conceptual art salon at 2011 Edinburgh Art Festival

If, as critic and writer Cyril Connolly once noted, ‘vulgarity is the garlic in the salad of life’ German artist Anton Henning might just have halitosis. Henning’s first solo show in Scotland is just about as curious and bemusing an exhibition as you…

Lineage: Michael Craig-Martin, Ian Davenport and Julian Opie

5 Aug 20113 stars

Edinburgh Art Festival 2010 - Printmaking, but not as we know it

Drip, drip, drip go the variations on a theme that form the quartet of works culled from Ian Davenport’s ‘Etched Puddle’ series, in which assorted rainbow-arrayed, candy-striped, multi-coloured streams trickle down into a similarly hued liquid carpet at…

Urs Fischer and Georg Herold

3 Aug 20113 stars

Sculpture exhibiition examining the art-making process

On a red divan a reclining nude has settled into a classical pose. She appears completely still, her milk white skin wraps serenely around her hyper-real body, her glassy blue eyes complete the life like sculpture. Upon closer inspection the rise and…

Robert Rauschenberg: Botanical Vaudeville

3 Aug 20114 stars

Sparkling post-industrial dance on gleaming surfaces

Inverleith House has long carved a niche for itself as a champion of late 20th century American icons, and for the gallery’s British Art Show contribution has gathered up a grab-bag of 37 works made between 1982 and 1998 by Abstract Expressionism’s…

Hayashi Takeshi: Haku-u (White Rain)

3 Aug 20113 stars

Impressive hand-carved sculptures

Once upon a time, Japanese artist Hayashi Takeshi looked out over a paddy field in the rain, the texture of the water’s surface as each inverted wet plop rose and fell clearly ingraining itself on his memory. With the primary and titular work on display…

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The Northern Renaissance: Dürer to Holbein

3 Aug 20113 stars

Compendium of works inspired by the Renaissance innovator

There’s something of an inky-fingered Dürer overload in the ‘burgh just now. Following on from Dürer’s Fame over at the National Galleries, this 16th century compendium of more than 100 works uses his output as a springboard for the burgeoning of…

Gina Glover – Playgrounds of War

3 Aug 20114 stars

Evocative photography exhibition concerning militarized landscapes

A small child kitted out in wellies and a windbreaker stands with her hands covering her ears between large truck tracks in a desolate, barren, concrete landscape. This black and white photograph forms part of a 1980s series that shows the artist’s…

Tony Cragg

3 Aug 20114 stars

Stunning showcase of sculptor’s poetic, monolithic output

From Scouse lab technician to director of Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf, Cragg’s prolific artistic journey has been one of inspiration and rejection, absorption and a will to move beyond. While the works of Max Ernst, Richard Long, Joseph Beuys and Henry…

Elizabeth Blackadder

3 Aug 20114 stars

Brilliant retrospective of work by one of Scotland’s major artists

Elizabeth Blackadder is a Dame, a Royal Academician and arguably Scotland’s most popular female painter and printmaker. A major retrospective of her work at Scotland’s biggest gallery space was only ever going to draw sighs of resignation from art snobs…

Dürer’s Fame

21 Jul 20114 stars

Tribute to the German woodcut and engravings master Albrecht Durer

German handball star Pascal Hens gazes out from a black-and-white poster, his torso naked, gaze serious, his pose one of self-deification. This is enhanced further by a tattoo on his stomach of two disembodied hands clasped together as if in prayer.

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Gravity's Rainbow

21 Jul 20114 stars

Pynchon-inspired group show explores different representations of colour

The acid house smiley face on the sunny yellow ball of Peter Liversidge’s shelf-load of single-hued detritus speaks volumes about this colour-focused group show of eight artists that takes its title from Thomas Pynchon’s baroque noir. It begins with a…

Breaking the Renaissance Code

21 Jul 20114 stars

Exhibition exploring emblems, taking place at The Hunterian Gallery, Glasgow, until Tue 4 Oct

Depending on whether you are a critic or an avid fan of the bestselling Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown both heralded and slew the art of emblematic thinking. This small yet punchy exhibition puts examples of Dürer, Rembrandt and Holbein’s use of symbolic…

Alistair Frost & Gerda Scheepers

21 Jul 20113 stars

Group show at Mary Mary, Glasgow, until Sat 6 Aug

With works that deal with painting as their surface connection, but later reveal a linguistic undercurrent, the latest show at Mary Mary is an exploration of symbols and signs. Gerda Scheeper’s minimal figurative paintings focus on both the sensual and…

You Seem The Same As Always

23 Jun 20114 stars

Group show of work based on the human hand

In 1966 Yvonne Rainer made her first film, ‘Hand Movie’, while her body was confined to a hospital bed and unable to dance. She used only her right hand, each finger itself a performer moving gracefully. Since then a number of artists have captured the…

Nina Rhode: Friendly Fire / Cara Tolmie: Read Thou Art And Read Thou Shalt Remain

23 Jun 20114 stars

Mixed media from Glasgow and Berlin

If the world is a circle without a beginning and nobody knows where it really ends (‘laa-la-laaa-la’), as a zenned-out Hal David once wrote to a Burt Bacharach choon, then both Nina Rhode and Cara Tolmie’s worlds seem to be on a permanent loop in these…

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Thomas Houseago: The Beat of the Show

14 Jun 20114 stars

Sculptures that 'suggest a society getting back to basics'

The relationship between the title of the first museum-based show by Leeds-born sculptor Houseago and the work itself may not be immediately apparent. It’s taken from Transmission, the urgent post-punk anthem released in 1979 by Joy Division, who…

Nina Rhode: Friendly Fire / Cara Tolmie: Read thou Art And Read Thou Shalt Remain

14 Jun 20114 stars

Two art films from a Berliner and a Glasweigan

If the world is a circle without a beginning and nobody knows where it really ends (‘laa-la-laaa-la’), as a zenned-out Hal David once wrote to a Burt Bacharach choon, then both Nina Rhode and Cara Tolmie’s worlds seem to be on a permanent loop in these…

Narcissus Reflected

27 May 20114 stars

The David Lomas-curated Fruitmarket exhibition is an effective reflection of the nature of vanity

Don McLean got it right in his 1972 song ‘Narcisissima’: ‘Narcissima, Narcisissma is the pride of Pomona/Pomona, Pomona says she looks like me/But she will look like you when I’m set free.’ Narcissus of Greek myth and his Freudian descendant have long…

Art Extraordinary

27 May 20113 stars

Group show arranged by Joyce Laing demonstrates the healing power of art

When French sculptor and painter Jean Dubuffet set out to identify art that could be viewed as free from aesthetic norms he labelled it L’Art Brut. This new exhibition at the Collins Gallery showcases works gathered on the same basis from The Art…

Martin Boyce: Night terrace – lantern chains – forgotten seas – sky

27 May 20114 stars

Sculpture exhibition from the Glasgow-based Turner Prize nominee

Triggered by fragments of colliding locations, a set of objects and textures in low light convey a dislocated landscape. Rust drips down like tears of blood from obsolete steel park benches. Table top surfaces and hanging wall panels are covered with…