Galleries - August - 2012

Festival Edinburgh 12. GALLERIES AUGUST 12 Despite the crowds flocking (pun intended) to see the Damien Hirst show at Tate Modern, many others are unhappy with the cult of celebrity that seems to have taken over the contemporary art world. These people should be pleased then that there is no blockbuster one-person exhibition dominating this year’s Edinburgh Festival. That however, does not mean that there are no big name attractions coming to town. On the contrary there are plenty: however, this year they are more evenly spread. For instance the National Gallery of Scotland ’s own specially curated exhibition Symbolist Landscape in Europe 1880-1910 is also alluringly subtitled Van Gogh to Kandinsky , while the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art also has two stellar shows – Picasso and Modern British Art and Edvard Munch: Graphic Works. Other star names are also on offer at various venues throughout the Capital. The City Art Centre has the dazzling Leslie Hunter: A Life in Colour , covering work from over 50 years, and just across Market Street the Fruitmarket Gallery is showing the Dieter Roth: Diaries which will be the first time his work has been seen here since Roth was part of Richard Demarco’s celebrated Strategy; Get Arts in 1970. The roll call of major modern masters continues with Scotland’s finest Ian Hamilton Finlay at the Ingelby Gallery, Philip Guston: Late Paintings at Inverleith House, Donald Judd Drawings1963-93 at Edinburgh University’s Talbot Rice Gallery and Carolee Schneemann – that most provocative performance artist – will be in person at the newly opened Summerhall art centre. Scottish art also has it own big attractions. Callum Innes for instance has created a new public art mural installation of changing random colour for the City’s Regent Bridge. The Open Eye Gallery is celebrating the indomitable John Bellany’s 70th with an exhibition covering five decades of his work in a range of different mediums; while Bourne Fine Art is showing that other well respected Scottish figurative artist, Jock McFadyen with a long overdue retrospective going back to the 1980s. Scottish landscape painting is well represented with the powerfully expressive work of Duncan Shanks who has a keenly anticipated show at The Scottish Gallery . A superb selection of new Scottish abstract painting, entitled Mark of Beauty , will be on offer to delight the eye and lift the spirit at the Union Gallery , including the work of the highly admired John McLean, Fred Pollock and the young prize winning Zara Idelson. Down on the Shore the Leith Gallery is also presenting a mixed show of over 30 attractive artists, including the up and coming Frank To and Alan King, who both draw inspiration from the theatre for their intriguing pictures. Other mixed exhibitions on offer this year include Weaving the Century at the state-of-the-art Dovecot Studios which celebrates a century of beautifully crafted textile output, with over 60 tapestries and rugs after designs by the likes of Paolozzi, Hockney, Blackadder and Rae. Edinburgh College of Art, which has recently had its renowned cast collection restored, is mounting Cast Contemporaries to show that creative works cast in plaster, are still being made by major contemporary artists, such as Christine Borland and Kenny Hunter. Since Vasari, the lives of the artists have continued to so obsess art lovers that Gombrich could claim that there is no such thing as art – only artists. If that is the case, then the art world, like show business, needs its galaxy of stars. And, finally, as they say, talking stars, they don't come much bigger, in Scottish terms, than Mackintosh and the Glasgow Four, a substantial and iconic group of whose work, from the Taffner Collection, is to be auc- tioned by Edinburgh saleroom Lyon & Turnbull on 7 September. Essential viewing – from 21 August . . . Bill Hare J ohn Bellany, ‘Song Bird’, 1992, oil on canvas at Open Eye Gallery. Jock McFadyen, ‘Kill Matthew Barney’, 2007, oil on canvas at Bourne Fine Art