Art review: Monet & Architecture, National Gallery, London

As Richard Thomson, curator of Monet & Architecture, remarked at the press view for the exhibition, at first sight the title sounds counter-intuitive. On the one hand Monet was first of all a landscape painter and on the other the formalities of architecture seem scarcely to fit the art of atmosphere and dissolving light he pioneered. If you accept that architecture can mean often quite humble buildings, however, then the show makes wonderful sense. The first part covers Monet’s career from the 1860s to 1890s. The paintings include, sometimes quite inconspicuously, churches, houses, bridges, villages, city streets and a railway station. In most of the 70 or so pictures, people are either insignificant or altogether absent, unless implied in a building or buildings. These are not just compositional devices, however, nor merely accidental. Standing for time and history, for modernity, for the human presence, even for personal association, they open up Monet’s subject matter in unexpected ways.

The Shonky Bar by John Walter. PIC: Ruth Clark.

Art review: Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness, Dundee Contemporary Arts

The dictionary definition of “shonky” throws up words like “unsound”, “shoddy”, “of dubious integrity”. But none of these easily fits with the 14 artists in this colourful group show, curated for Hayward Touring by John Walters. His “shonky” is more to do with being lo-fi, maximalist, process-driven, handmade without necessarily being well crafted. The high priest and priestess of this aesthetic are Phyllida Barlow and Kurt Schwitters (neither of whom are in the show). The results are often colourful and kitschy; according to an essay by Louise Welsh and Zoe Strachan for the catalogue, it is “the faux leopard skin coat” of art.

Installation shot from Charles Rennie Mackintosh - Making the Glasgow Style PIC: John Devlin

Art review: Charles Rennie Mackintosh - Making the Glasgow Style, Kelvingrove Museum Glasgow

Kelvingrove’s new Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibition shines a welcome light on the architect and artist’s Glasgow peers, but struggles to convey the profound influence, legacy and genius of the man himself

Toby Paterson

Art interview: Toby Paterson on his show for Glasgow International

As Glasgow International brings contemporary art to 78 venues across the city, Toby Paterson talks to Susan Mansfield about his contribution to the festival, along with his concerns that the city’s problems need more than a can-do attitude

Lubaina Himid, winner of the 2017 Turner Prize PIC: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images

Art preview: Five things to see at Glasgow International

Glasgow’s biennial festival of contemporary art, which runs from 20 April until 7 May, promises a mixture of international talent and grassroots energy. Scotsman art critic Susan Mansfield picks her highlights

Buddhist priests at Yongquan Monastery, Drum Mountain, Fuzhou, China. At the time of Thomson's visit about 200 monks lived there. He was intrigued by their robes which he thought resembled the monastic garb of medieval Europe.

Pioneering Scots photographer John Thomson ‘forgotten’ in home city

The work of a pioneering Scottish photographer who is celebrated in the Far East has been “forgotten” in his home city, it has been claimed.

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An Lanntair in Stornoway staged a Sunday opening experiment between January and March to gauge public opinion.

Regular Sunday opening for Stornoway's arts centre ‘as soon possible’

A Hebridean arts centre will open on open on Sundays “as soon as possible” in the wake of a controversial trial.
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Beano bosses want Jacob Rees-Mogg to stop impersonating Walter Brown.

Beano accuses Jacob Rees-Mogg of impersonating Walter the Softy

Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has insisted he his “flattered” after the creators of the Beano asked him to stop impersonating their long-running character Walter the Softy.
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Picture: NMS

NMS show set to shatter some myths about glass

Glass is as versatile an artistic medium as it is beautiful, but we often think of it as a material for creating functional objects.

John Byrne was named most stylish male at Kelvingrove gallery in Glasgow.

Artist and playwright John Byrne named Scotland’s most stylish man

John Byrne, the celebrated artist and writer, has been named Scotland’s most stylish man at the age of 78.
One out of two (symposium), 2016  Charcoal and pastel on canvas, 152 x 225 x 3.2 cm  � Jenny Saville.  Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian.  Photo: Mike Bruce

Art review: Jenny Saville, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

Jenny Saville has come to occupy something of a mythical place in the history of contemporary art in Scotland: her degree show work from Glasgow School of Art was bought by Charles Saatchi, then came London, New York, and representation by Gagosian. New paintings are snapped up by private collectors for eye-watering prices.

Woodpecker by Derek Robertson

Artists across Fife to open studios to the public

Open Studios North Fife has now launched their event for 2018, and with 74 artists and designer-makers taking part, it’s a great chance to see behind the scenes of artists’ workspaces all over the region – who knows, you might even pick up a piece or two to take home. The event runs during May Bank Holiday weekend – 5, 6 and 7 May – when the studios are open from 10am-6pm each day.

Detail from an untitled painting by Lee Lozano, c 1962. PIC: C. The Estate of Lee Lozano. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth  Lee Lozano at the Fruitmarket Gallery.

Art review: Lee Lozano: Slip, Slide, Splice, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh

According to the late American artist Lee Lonzano, Kaspar Konig, a German museum director, had once said to her “You are a good painter and a nice girl.” “Wrong on both counts!”, she claims to have retorted, “I am a very good artist and not a nice girl.” Whatever else, Lozano had attitude, and from about 1960 her principled pugnacity drove her career through a decade of remarkable creativity. In the end, however, turning her life itself into art in a search to bypass the artwork became self-defeating. She withdrew from the art world. She lived on until 1999, but by 1972 her career as an artist had ended. Slip, Slide, Splice at the Fruitmarket gives a good introduction to her work, even if there is an inherent paradox in reincorporating this rebel into the art world she rejected.


In pictures: The 25 best new buildings in Scotland

The 25 best new buildings in Scotland have been revealed by Scotland’s top authority on architecture.

A still from The Pure Necessity, by David Claerbout

Art reviews: Rachel Maclean | David Claerbout | Marcelo Brodsky | Calum McClure

Rachel Maclean’s Venice Biennale film seems more timely now than when it was first shown, while Calum McClure is establishing himself as an important painter

Archivist Rachael Jones discovered the letters as part of the digitisation of the GSA's archives and collections. Picture: John Devlin

Glasgow School of Art rediscovers Victorian letters from cultural greats

They offer a window into the world of the European art elite in the late 19th century and how one Scottish city played an increasingly important part in it.

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American Boy by John Byrne

Art reviews: Barbara Balmer and John Byrne, Fine Art Society, Edinburgh

The art of both Barbara Balmer and John Byrne is marked by fine draughtsmanship and occasional brushes with the surreal

The stonework of the Station Hotel in Ayr is deteriorating, with bushes growing from its walls.

Bid to save iconic hotel that inspired Donald Trump’s Turnberry

A campaign has been launched to save a historic railway landmark that inspired the Trump-owned Turnberry Hotel.

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George Mackay Brown, by Alexander Moffat

Book review: Facing the Nation - The Portraiture of Alexander Moffat, by Bill Hare

The major exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh at the moment is entitled A New Era, and it tells the story of how the art landscape in Scotland was changed utterly in the years between 1900 and 1950 by the seismic impact of cubism, surrealism, abstract expressionism and everything that followed. In that short space of time, the defiant naturalism of the Glasgow Boys gave way to the pure, joyous abstraction of Allan Davie, but in the early 1960s, at the same time that Davie was producing some of his most exuberant, out-there canvases, a young artist by the name of Alexander Moffat was moving in a very different direction. The story of Scottish art, as Bill Hare’s thought-provoking new book shows, is as complex and multi-faceted as we choose to make it.

Installation view of Margaret Salmon: Circle, Tramway, Glasgow, 2018 PIC: Keith Hunter, courtesy of Tramway and LUX Scotland.

Art reviews: Margaret Salmon at Tramway, Glasgow | To see this story better... at Glasgow School of Art

Margaret Salmon delves into the stuff of everyday life in her intimate films while Glasgow School of Art’s show offers a snapshot of South Africa’s artistic community

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