Reviews

As of October 2014, I am beginning to post some short articles of my own on art exhibitions or artists’ work. If your show has been featured, and you have questions on fairness or accuracy – alternatively, if you would like a review in PDF printable form – please contact me.

Festival Kick-Off

Festival Kick-Off

And the comedy prize for most grossly inaccurate description of the festival’s founding goes to Juan Vesuvius. “Seventy years ago it was a lot of angry Scottish people who hated opera,” he declared, introducing the New Zealand slate of shows.    Vesuvius is billed in the Fringe programme as the Venezuelan calypso comedy legend,  and has an accent and […]

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Black Burns

Black Burns

It is the premise of conceptual art, presumably, that artists conceive of a project they can then get others to do. Looking across the Great Hall of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery at John Flaxman’s white marbled statue of Scotland’s bard, glorifying Robert Burns as something heroic and pure, one feels Douglas Gordon’s vision of […]

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The Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Kerala, India

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Kerala, India

The Latvian artist Andris Eglitis stood at the door of a structure that in shape resembled an over-sized house-tent you might find at a drive-in camp site.   It was constructed with poles and wires to hold up the roofs but large enough to walk inside, with a couple of interlocking rooms.   Except that it was made of […]

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Fly 2016 – Visual Art Scotland

Fly 2016 – Visual Art Scotland

There is no longer an art college in Scotland that teaches a dedicated ceramics degree.   Which  makes the ceramics on show at this year’s Visual Art Scotland winter exhibition more emphatically interesting. Susan O’Byrne graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in design and applied art in 1999.   Her wall of fantastical animal heads in the […]

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Shocked – 2016 Fringe

Shocked – 2016 Fringe

In the front row of an intimate Fringe venue on Saturday night audience a young woman kept turning around to look at me,  and others  behind her,  with her eyes open wide, her expression clearly asking – what is going on here?  How am I meant to react?  What am I watching? In show I witnessed in my […]

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ReUnion

ReUnion

Union Gallery – Reunion When Alison Auldjo began converting a former charity shop into the second incarnation of the Union Gallery, removing a lowered ceiling and turning a pokey back storage room into a well-lit stairwell, she knew exactly the picture she wanted in the space. It was Phil Braham’s Ophelia Bathing, a painting she had […]

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Surreal Encounters:  Collecting the Marvellous at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Surreal Encounters: Collecting the Marvellous at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Technically speaking, Surreal Encounters is what I’d call a stunner.    In particular the middle room on the ground floor of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, where they are showing Salvador Dali’s vast Landscape with a Girl Skipping Rope. I’m no expert on the Surrealists but in terms of Scottish gallery exhibitions this is […]

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Scottish Arts Club

Scottish Arts Club

Edinburgh is going wild for Britart until May but spare a thought and a short walk to three artists exhibiting in the Scottish Arts Club. The club exudes an old Edinburgh charm with a cast of characters to match; it has tottered  on from crise to crise over the years, and can be a difficult space to stage a show with much impact, […]

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Cordis Prize 2016

Cordis Prize 2016

The new Cordis Prize for tapestry, the only award of its kind in the UK,  came home in its second year.  From about 100 entries, and a short list that included artists from Japan, Denmark, Belgium and Brazil, the Scottish weaver and Edinburgh College of Art teacher Susan Mowatt won the £5,000 prize for her work, Black/time/lines/white/time/lines. The […]

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Montbéliard, My Love is like a red, red rose

Montbéliard, My Love is like a red, red rose

In the late summer of 2015 the mayor of Montbéliard, a small but historic  city nestled against the Swiss border in north-eastern France, had this idea.   Montbéliard prides itself on a Christmas market and Christmas scene that draws hundreds of thousands of people from across the region, including Switzerland and Germany.    Scotland was the invited guest this year […]

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The Art of Christmas

The Art of Christmas

Our parents conspire to make us believe in Father Christmas; reindeer footprints by the fire place, stockings mysteriously filled.    But the loss of that belief, the joining of the conspiracy. is itself a Christmas ritual,  a symbol of moving out of childhood innocence into knowing adulthood. Le Gui et le Houx, Noel dans l’imagerie popular,  a small […]

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2015 Turner Prize show:  Snap Judgement

2015 Turner Prize show: Snap Judgement

The Turner Prize show is notoriously easy to lampoon – it’s a case of fish and barrels – but it’s a strange year at Tramway, in Glasgow.    Not easy outrage over elephant dung or unmade beds in  but a curious emptiness.  The first impression of the exhibition is of vast white spaces with ‘the work’ tucked away […]

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John Bellany’s Drawings

John Bellany’s Drawings

A Sign Manual of God  Duncan Thomson, former keeper of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, on disegno and Bellany. From the start of his student days in 1960 John Bellany was overwhelmingly aware of the role that drawing would play in the great range of figurative painting he would soon launch himself into. His fellow student Sandy […]

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Union Gallery, Edinburgh: Audrey Grant

Union Gallery, Edinburgh: Audrey Grant

Word of mouth is the happy fall back for exploring Edinburgh’s festivals, when thousands of shows shovel their star ratings at you in a noisy clamour for time and attention.  So when a Scottish artist and retired teacher,  asks what’s interesting in the Edinburgh Art Festival this year, we talk MC Escher and John Bellany – and I tell him to […]

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