Visual art, Reviews

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Art Rooms

13 Aug 20144 stars

Black Cube Collective's less orthodox encounter with contemporary art showcases brilliant new talent

Set in the 17th-century Cockenzie House, 30 minutes out of Edinburgh, the Black Cube Collective’s Art Rooms offers a less orthodox encounter with contemporary art. As well as an exhibition, with artists displaying work throughout the house and garden…

Review: Where Do I End and You Begin

11 Aug 20144 stars

Major exhibition At Edinburgh's City Art Centre confronts the difficult history of the Commonwealth

This major exhibition developed by the Edinburgh Art Festival takes its title from a neon text by Indian artist Shilpa Gupta, which seems highly relevant. In a world where so much is global - not least contemporary art - the lines between “I” and “you”…

Calum Colvin: The Magic Box

9 Aug 20143 stars

Mythical landscapes constructed from sculpture, painting & photography at the Edinburgh Art Festival

Each piece by Calum Colvin is a treasure chest, a feast of detail, reference and delicate composition which invites the viewer to figure out precisely how he did it. Somewhere between sculpture, photography and painting (many of his works are…

Dalziel + Scullion: Tumadh | Immersion

9 Aug 20144 stars

Experimental textiles encourage engagement with the natural world at the Edinburgh Art Festival

Within the relatively sterile dimensions of Dovecot Studios, there is a sense of the exterior, of wind in faces and rain in hair. The figures in the centre of the room are properly dressed for the kind of imagined inclement weather we might associate…

Villa Design Group: The House of Adelaida Ivanovna

9 Aug 20143 stars

Postmodern European theatre/installation staged in a shopping mall, part of Edinburgh Art Festival

The vast top-floor warehouse space of Ocean Terminal's Logan's Run-style shopping mall is a gloriously incongruous venue for the Hamburg/London-based Villa Design Group to house its epic reimagining of Gogol's play, The Gamblers. While the array of…

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Roses and Beans

7 Aug 20142 stars

Predictable Live Art act too pleased with itself to have a real purpose

Although it is difficult to define Live Art – it is roughly performance that shies away from theatrical cliches like scripts, acting and clear narratives – Shake It Collaborations present a handy compendium of its tropes. There is the social dancing…

Paul Carter: Icaro Menippus (x2)

6 Aug 20144 stars

Intimate, mixed media works by the late artist, exhibited at Edinburgh Art Festival

Paul Carter was a lively participant in the art scene in Edinburgh when he tragically died in a car crash in 2006. A tutor at ECA, he was also on the board of Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop as they began the fundraising process for their new premises at…

Craig Coulthard: The Drummer and the Drone

5 Aug 20143 stars

An imaginative military film set in Scotland’s future, screening at the Edinburgh Art Festival

Under the darkened, vaulting ceiling of Trinity Apse, a few yards from the tartan-infested Royal Mile, the strain of bagpipes rings out. The sound echoes that of gift shop muzak and Highland dress buskers all the way up to the Esplanade, but the tone is…

Generation - Scottish National Gallery

5 Aug 20144 stars

Outstanding group show celebrating contemporary art in Scotland

That this segment of the nationwide GENERATION exhibition is showing for free during the Edinburgh Festival, in possibly the city's flagship city centre gallery space, is a great advertisement for the Scottish art scene – not because it’s a triumph of…

Ming: The Golden Empire

5 Aug 20143 stars

The Edinburgh Art Festival presents an eclectic collection of artefacts from the Ming Dynasty period

From porcelain fish vats to civil service exam papers, Ming: The Golden Empire is strikingly eclectic. This ambitious exhibition enlightens the audience on the 276-year Ming Dynasty through a combination of intriguing artefacts and digital…

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kennardphillips: DemoTalk

4 Aug 20144 stars

A fearless critique of war and power at the Edinburgh Art Festival

Peter Kennard and Cat Phillips have been making working in response to the Iraq War since 2002. Over the past twelve years they have developed a provocative and unflinchingly fearless critical practice that confronts war and power across the world.

American Impressionism: A New Vision

29 Jul 20144 stars

The influence of European impressionism on 19th-century American art

It lacks something of the blockbuster appeal of the GENERATION shows going on at the rest of the city’s National Gallery venues, but in looking back at the American art scene of the late 19th century’s engagement with European impressionism, festival…

Isa Genzken: Botanical Garden

29 Jul 20144 stars

Eccentric sculptural and collage works as part of Edinburgh Art Festival 2014

The frenetic energy that resonates in Isa Genzken’s playful assemblages and eccentric collages has been harnessed by Inverleith House in Botanical Garden, Geznken’s first UK solo show outside of London. The exhibition is both an exhilarating celebration…

Ross Sinclair: 20 Years of Real Life

29 Jul 20144 stars

Inspiring mixed-media exhibition on Calton Hill, part of GENERATION and Edinburgh Art Festival 2014

Twenty years ago, Ross Sinclair had the words ‘Real Life’ tattooed on his back, and ever since then his work has been an overt process of trying to figure out what these words mean. In this GENERATION show there appear to be no conclusions, but…

RSA: Open Dialogues

29 Jul 20144 stars

Group show from six New Contemporaries artists, including Jonny Lyons, Stuart McAdam and Eva Ullrich

It’s six years since the annual RSA Student Exhibition morphed into New Contemporaries, a selected show for new graduates chosen from all Scotland’s art schools. As part of GENERATION, the RSA is showing new work by six of those artists, one for each…

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Cabbages in an Orchard: The formers and forms of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Graham Fagen

15 Jul 20144 stars

Highlights of Fagen's responsive GENERATION show include tense, confrontational teeth portraits

Graham Fagen says he fell out with Mackintosh at the Glasgow School of Art. However, when invited back more than 20 years later to spend time in the Mackintosh archive, he discovered he had more in common with the man than he expected. The body of work…

Generation - Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art One

15 Jul 20145 stars

Douglas Gordon, Kate Davis and Richard Wright among SNGoMA1's 25 year contemporary art retrospective

Where to start with a definitive, large-scale exhibition boasting of a nation's ongoing achievements in contemporary art without opening yourself up to claims of self-aggrandisement? Isn’t it for others to sing the praises while we keep our trumpets…

Luke Fowler: The Poor Stockinger, the Luddite Cropper and the Deluded Followers of Joanna Southcott

15 Jul 20144 stars

The film artist turns his attention to Marxist historian and CND activist EP Thompson

Luke Fowler’s ongoing fascination with icons of radical thought has extended from film works on punk band The Homosexuals and composer Cornelius Cardew to his Turner-nominated dissection of anti-psychiatrist RD Laing. Each of these has cut-and-pasted…

Sara Barker: For Myself and Strangers

15 Jul 20143 stars

Barker's delicate, three-dimensional structures invite a greater sense of engagement with the viewer

One of the strengths of GENERATION (the Scotland-wide visual art event currently taking place) is that it showcases not only the work of well-known Scottish contemporary artists but also of those who have quietly built up careers here without become…

Hayley Tompkins: Digital Light Pools

8 Jul 20144 stars

Playful painted objects transform our ideas of ordinary items in this solo show

It's the brightest and airiest of environments that have housed Hayley Tompkins’ floor-based bird’s-eye picture-postcard views of holy-hued rainbows, high-rise cityscapes, earth-bound stone formations, tranquil blue seas and fog-bound multi-lane traffic…

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Edinburgh College of Art Degree Show 2014

10 Jun 20144 stars

Charlotte Nash, Theo Shields, Tiina Lilja and Jack Wrigley among the stand-out ECA 2014 graduates

The Glasgow School of Art fire has cast a plume of black smoke over this year’s degree show season. But even as the Mack burned, at the other end of the M8, Edinburgh College of Art was unveiling the work of more than 500 students in disciplines from…

Lucy Skaer: Leonora

10 Jun 20143 stars

A mixed-media tribute to surrealist painter Leonora Carrington that resists easy definitions

In 2006, the Glasgow-based artist Lucy Skaer came across two small drawings in the Tate by the surrealist painter Leonora Carrington. More than the works themselves, she was struck by the fact that the artist, then in her nineties, was still alive and…

Gareth Moore: Blocked Arch, Deferred Ceremony, Dawn Chorus, Tra-diddle da. Like a fly in slow suspense

14 May 20144 stars

Strong, thoughtful and well-made works somewhat ill-served by needless wrong-footing

Vancouver-based sculptor Gareth Moore seems to have spent his three-month residency at Glasgow Sculpture Studios making the most of the local discarded materials, and given the building’s location next to the Forth & Clyde Canal, he’s had plenty to…

Richard Forster: Modern

14 May 20144 stars

Photo-realist drawings that examine the act of recreating the real

At first glance these are photographs, innocent documentary works in a sharp, cobalt monochrome that suggests a fascination with 20th-century modernism as viewed through the prism of the realist photo-essayist. There are buildings everywhere, high-rises…

Norman Kirkham RGI

13 May 20143 stars

Kirkham’s paintings may be products of long experience, but they have no shortage of flair

A painter can find fascination in all manner of things: pigeons taking flight from a tenement roof; the sleek skin of an aubergine; the peculiar qualities of winter light in Glasgow. All these and more are investigated by RGI veteran Norman…