Galleries - August 2011

exhibition at Belford Road. It will make a refreshingchange to see the work of an important British sculptor other than that of the ubiquitous Longand Gormley. The work of the American artist Ingrid Calame at the Fruitmarket Gallery echoes similar creative strategies as that of Sugimoto’s photographic drawings. Calame incorporates marks and tracings from random sites into her improvised drawings and paintings to produce abstract decorative designs that have the same lyrical and meditative aura associated with oriental art. This year’s eastern connection is continued at the splendid Dovecot Studios where an important collection of Indian and Javanese textiles will be on display. Heirlooms also involves three Scottish artists who have produced new work in response to the traditional designs and weavingtechniques of the east. Like Elizabeth Blackadder’s, John Byrne’s art is very distinctive and readily recognisable. This can be confirmed and enjoyed by visitinghis first major exhibition at the Open Eye Gallery and seekingout his new biography to be launched at the Festival. Meanwhile sister space Eye Two will be offeringEuropean Masterprints 1890-1980, with items from top names such as Picasso, Miró, Braque and Toulouse-Lautrec. over her 60 year reign – which will surely amuse the figure of Queen Victoria enthroned above the entrance to the RSA. Bourne Fine Art’ s Five Centuries of Scottish Portraiture also confirms the continuing popularity of portrait painting. Followingon from a similar one a decade ago this new show includes fine examples of the greatest Scots portraitists from Allan Ramsay to William Gillies. The latter was Blackadder’s tutor and mentor when she was a student and it was probably from his example that still life became such an enduingfeature of her work. A later major influence on her stylistic development was her travels to Japan and so it is appropriate that at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art the work of the internationally renowned Japanese photographer, Hiroshi Sugimoto should be on display. Lighting Fields captures the dramatic effects created when photographic film is exposed to violent electrical discharges. In his other exhibition Photographic Drawings Sugimoto returns to Fox Talbot’s early invention of drawingon photographic paper, but on a much larger scale, producingstunningeffects which are closer to abstract painting than conventional notions of photography. Another highly imaginative innovator, but this time in contemporary sculpture, Tony Craggis also havinga major 10. GALLERIES AUGUST 11 Duringthe 18th century David Hume’s Edinburgh miraculously transformed itself from a sinking medieval slum – affectionately known as Auld Reekie – into the sanitised neo-classical ideal of The Athens of the North. Again, followingthe example of its southern namesake, the Scottish capital instigated an annual arts event, not unlike that of the ancient Athenian Festival of Dionysus for which some of the greatest works of dramatic tragedy were written. While theatre also holds centre stage at the Edinburgh Festival, the Capital’s galleries always strive to match the rival attractions in drama, dance and music with a wide array of visual delights. Undoubtedly the top billing this year rightly goes to one of Scotland’s biggest artistic stars: Elizabeth Blackadder. This Festival celebrates her 80th birthday with a major National Gallery of Scotland retrospective exhibition at the RSA and also an exhibition of new paintings at The Scottish Gallery where she had her first show half a century ago. Amongst the many honours bestowed on Dame Elizabeth is that of the Queen’s Painter in Scotland and so it is fittingthat her exhibition should share joint billingwith The Queen: Art and Image . To celebrate Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee this regal exhibition presents a grand survey of the varied and changing images of the monarch ART IN SCOTLAND C olin Reid ‘White Glass’ at The Scottish Gallery