Clare Henry detects signs of a Japanese influence in the work of a

Glasgow artist

BY THE time you read this I'll be in Japan. Has Judith Gilmour been

there ahead of me I wonder? Her new ceramics are distinctively oriental

in their monochromatic, simple eliptical winged forms. Her biography

mentions Glasgow School of Art, Sweden, Ghana, London, Canada and Tel

Aviv. No sign of Tokyo or Kyoto. Perhaps her elegant stoneware decorated

with minimal geometrics over the porcelain slips, oxides and dry glazers

are intuitively understated. Orientalism by osmosis.

While Gilmour's pots fill centre stage at Glasgow's Compass Gallery,

Sam Topping decorates the walls. This Dundee print graduate has verve

and vigour, boldly sploshing mythological beasts with gilded pattern and

turning outline heads, crouched figures and birds into awesome shadows

of soft bronze and turquoise against a black sky.

Dundee Art College has some excellent teachers (as can be seen in

their Decade Show at Duncan of Jordanstone plus all city exhibition

spaces until November 28), none more inspired than printmakers like Beth

Fisher, Arthur Watson, Mary Modeen and Elaine Shemilt who set their

students a good example by their own creativity. At Compass a print

entitled Umbilical hints at painter Lesley Bank's November contribution.

At the 90s Gallery James Gorman explores the darker side of man's

phsche and physicality in gaunt, attenuated figures often accompanied by

skulls. Yet when he relaxes he can capture a gentler view -- like his

springtime Paris and playful cats. So what drives his eye to search out

the tortuous and sad? A virtuoso technique enables him to ''trawl the

subconscious'' with ease. It can work, as in Peacock Feather and Lovers,

but I find many of his images self-indul-gent and too strident by half.

Don't hit us over the head. No need. We know life's rough.

Until December 5 The Black Pig Gallery goes south, from its base in

Kirkwall to London to present 15 Orkney artists at Smith's Galleries,

Covent Garden. The sea plays an important role in many works, especially

those of John Cumming, Peter Davie and Erlend Brown who ran the Pier

Arts Centre so well. Others like Anne Bevan focus on the hidden and

obscure places in the landscape. Teachers award winner Arlene Isbster

recently also showed at London's Jill George Gallery.

Many Orkney artists studied at Aberdeen or Edinburgh. Sylvia Wishart

also lectured at Gray's but has now returned home to paint. Work here

includes pictures of Hoy Sound from her 1992 Pier Gallery retrospective.

Best known perhaps is Gunnie Moberg, who came to Orkney from Sweden in

l975 and who is represented by abstracted close-ups of Orcadian

rock-life. Confirming the abundance of talent in the Northern Isles

comes news of Scotland's most northerly painter-in-residence, Glasgow

graduate Michele David. The results of her Shetland stay were shown at

Sumburgh Airport because the island's only gallery is booked solid for

two years ahead.

Robbie Duff-Scott is developing apace. His strength is still the

single female figure but his new oils (at Artbank, 134 Wellington

Street, Glasgow) incorporate portraiture while expanding the ambiguity

of his mysterious stage set scenarios.