Visual art, Reviews

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Jutta Koether - Seasons and Sacraments

19 Mar 20134 stars

Large-scale reimagining of Nicolas Poussin back catalogue

The back catalogue of 17th-century painter Nicolas Poussin isn’t the most obvious frame of reference for German iconoclast Jutta Koether, but when she was taken to see his The Seven Sacraments at the Scottish National Gallery, something clicked. The end…

Ongoing art project Economy explores relationship with commerce and transactions

19 Mar 20135 stars

Meticulously curated two-site exhibition

Economy isn’t so much an exhibition. It’s not even two exhibitions. It’s an ongoing project, a conversation and a meticulously-curated attempt to build an echo chamber of ideas and artistic experiments about our relationship with commerce and the…

Tickling Jock

19 Mar 20133 stars

Billy Connolly, Ronnie Corbett and Stanley Baxter feature in this comedic portrait exhibition

It would be thoroughly glaikit for anyone to criticise Tickling Jock for not including much in the way of the modern Scottish comedian. For this is very much a portrait of the way our nation’s funny men and witty women once were: knee-deep in the music…

Wendy Ramshaw: Room of Dreams

19 Mar 20134 stars

Touring exhibition celebrates work of artist, designer and jewellery-maker

Reflecting Miguel de Cervantes’ belief that to ‘protract great design is to ruin it’, artist, designer, jewellery-maker and goddess of the festooned gate Wendy Ramshaw is contemporary applied art’s elusive matriarch. Ramshaw’s extraordinary career is…

Group exhibition Ink celebrates art of drawing

19 Mar 20134 stars

Includes works by Rembrandt, Tiepolo, Guercino, Poussin, Goltzius and Alexander Runciman

This powerful exhibition showcases a variety of works from a diverse collection of artists including Rembrandt, Rubens, Piranesi and William Henry Playfair. From fast, energetic sketches depicting movement and form, to the meticulous draughtsmanship of…

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Flickering Lights

19 Mar 20134 stars

Rachel Maclean cartoon pop-vid bravura a highlight of film and video show

`Up in the Lower Church Gallery end of Summerhall, three very different video works are in motion as part of this superb arts space’s latest exhibition programme. David Bellingham’s ‘An Object Revolving Around a Day / An Object Revolving Round Events…

From Death to Death and Other Small Tales

19 Feb 20135 stars

Astonishing archive of body-themed work including Sarah Lucas, Otto Dix and Matthew Barney

From the moment you step into the first corridor and meet an opening tease of Magritte, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed physically and mentally by this major mix-and-match collection of 20th and 21st century work. And that’s really how it should be for…

Nick Evans: Solar Eyes

19 Feb 20135 stars

Monumental sculpture show is genius in its conception and meticulous in execution

One enters the exhibition through a dusky and dramatic pyramid passageway. The suspense of discovery hangs thick in the air before a big volcanic hall is reached. Inside, stories of a distant past echo with predictions of the future. Nick Evans has set…

David Galletly: Wee

19 Feb 20133 stars

Idiosyncrasies and faux folk art with bleak humour from Scottish illustrator

The first solo exhibition of David Galletly’s work at Recoat, Wee, showcases the highly peculiar drawing work of this Scottish illustrator. The show comprises impeccably detailed and disconcerting ink drawings, with bizarre and darkly comic characters…

Massimo Bartolini: Studio Matters + 1

19 Feb 20134 stars

Large scale sculpture and miniatures from Italian artist

Like a moth to a flame, the habitual party-goer will always be drawn to Kraftwerkian big-city neon. So it goes in ‘La Strada di Sotto' (The Street Below), the toytown-style installation that maps out the whole of the Fruitmarket’s main downstairs room…

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Songs of Innocence and Experience

19 Feb 20133 stars

Debut showing of work by outsider artists Frank Walter, Forrest Bess and Alfred Wallis

A debut showing for the work of Frank Walter, the decidedly eccentric 20th century Antiguan artist, writer and philosopher who fancied himself a descendant of European nobles, provides a jumping-on point to exhibit the work of a trio of outsider…

John Bellany: A Passion for Life

24 Jan 20134 stars

Biographical exhibition charting the life of the great Scottish painter

The curation of this welcome large-scale retrospective exhibition of the Scottish painter John Bellany’s work must have been, in one sense, an easy task. Lending itself to far more than merely a dry recollection of influences and periods of note…

The Seventh Street Level Open

24 Jan 20134 stars

A showcase of Scotland's finest photography talent, including Jen Wilcox and Chris Leslie

Street Level’s Open exhibition has become something of a staple event and as usual the standard is extremely high. The show this year has 19 photographers displaying their works, giving a broad and disparate overview of current approaches to the…

Zoe Beloff: A History of Dreams Remains to be Written

24 Jan 20135 stars

Two-part mixed media show examining Coney Island's psychogeography and Occupy Wall Street

Libido and revolution are not so strange bedfellows in New York-based Edinburgh expat Beloff’s first solo show in Scotland, in which imaginary worlds collide in two complementary takes on utopia. In ‘Dreamland’, Beloff mines the archive of the Coney…

Slovakian Master Printers

24 Jan 20133 stars

Group show highlighting the works of Karol Felix, Igor Benca, Robert Jancovic and Marian Komacek

There’s a muscular gloss to much of the work on show in this showcase of four Slovakian printmakers that forms part of an ongoing international exchange initiated by the Scottish Society of Artists. Much of this is to do with the mezzotint techniques by…

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The York painter Harland Miller explores the art of fiction in Overcoming Optimism

18 Dec 20124 stars

Cock-snooking obscenities with darkly subversive intent

If the Obscene Publications Squad are on the case of this first solo exhibition in Scotland by a York-born painter with a name like a pulp fiction hack, rest easy. Miller’s monumental depictions of dog-eared Penguin book designs down the decades may…

BP Portrait Award 2012

17 Dec 20124 stars

Work from Aleah Chaplin, Ignacio Estudillo, Alan Coulson, Jamie Routley and Carl Randall

Should the viewer have taken the lift rather than the stairs, the first image which greets them in this year’s BP Portrait Prize has been, they will find, deployed for maximum effect. Athenian artist Antonios Titakis’ ‘Silent Eyes’ is a large-scale…

George Wyllie: In Pursuit of the Question Mark

17 Dec 20125 stars

Fabulously upbeat mix of sculptures, drawings and paintings from Scottish scul?tor

Perhaps best known for his public sculpture depicting a clock on running legs outside the Buchanan bus station in Glasgow, the late George Wyllie has become a household name in Scotland. His work has always been populist, accessible and life-affirming…

Joep Van Liefland

17 Dec 20123 stars

Spartan, dilapidated installation imitates decaying disused video shop

Joep Van Liefland’s Video Palace #34 is a spartan, dilapidated and easily missed installation. The work hides the entire gallery space under a mimicry of a disused video rental store; the gallery walls are roughly covered with half torn-up wallpaper and…

Carpets of Distinction

17 Dec 20123 stars

This cross-disciplinary collaboration between seven artists and Glasgow-based designers Panel, working with Dovecot Studios, explores the practical and historic relationships between art, craft and industrial design, creating contemporary narratives on…

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Mathew Cerletty, Sean Kennedy, Mateo Tannatt

17 Dec 20122 stars

Great example of all the things that are wrong with contemporary art in Glasgow

With a self-avowed aim of redressing our experience of images, notions of representation and referencing in making objects, this show has lofty ideals to say the least. The works themselves, though, are flat, fake and rubbish (in the most literal…

Jitka Hanzlova

16 Nov 20124 stars

Photographic retrospective explores post-Cold War communist Czechoslovakia

Whether or not Jitka Hanzlova’s 1982 defection from her home in communist Czechoslovakia to West Germany has any direct bearing on her resulting artistic practice, the very earliest series in this broad-reaching photographic retrospective elicit the…

Cathy Wilkes

16 Nov 20123 stars

Minimal installation by Northern Irish artist explores positioning of objects

Viewers to the Northern Irish artist’s latest exhibition are met with a fairly minimal installation in the Modern Institute, of roughly made dolls, old cross-stitch patterns strewn across the gallery floor and naive little paintings around the walls.

Group show Galapagos explores notion of the islands and Charles Darwin

16 Nov 20124 stars

Including work by Jeremy Deller, Marcus Coates and Tania Kovats

Charles Darwin’s ‘little world within itself’ bears the weight of artistic interpretation in this fascinating group show. Bringing together the work of 11 artists who spent time in the archipelago courtesy of a residency programme set up by the…

Rembrandt and the Passion

16 Nov 20124 stars

Exhibition considers Entombment Sketch in relation to Rembrandt's other work

Rembrandt might be a household name but whenever there is an opportunity to stand in front of his work it brings a renewed understanding of what a master he was in portraying the human condition. This prolific Dutch artist had a disciplined printmaking…