Of the three exhibits inaugurating the enlarged Academy of the Arts in Easton, "Herman Maril Seascapes" (through March 2) occupies the premier place in the academy's two main galleries and is clearly the most successful, because of Maril's art.
The artist's combinations of abstract design, beautiful color and almost palpable atmosphere seem ever more timeless as time goes on. These works, covering more than half a century from the 1932 "Early Harbor Scene" to the 1986 "Truro Flats," don't look dated, don't look as if they belonged to a certain period. And, unlike some artists, Maril seen in quantity doesn't pall -- he remains as fresh at the end of this exhibit of 40 works as he does at the beginning.
That's surprising, too, because he so often employs the same basic composition of two more or less complementary triangles occupying approximately the bottom two thirds of the picture, a horizon strip or line, and a horizontal rectangle of sky at the top.
With, of course, certain variations, this basic design occurs over and over -- in "Sand and Sea" (1974), "Near Big Sur" (1975), "Evening Rooftops" (1969), "Ebb Tide" (1967) and so on. Maril's celebrations of nature and of color are similar also in their quiet elation, but that is what gives them so much of the very freshness that makes it always a pleasure to encounter Maril. Other Maril devotees will want to know that there is also a show of his work at Washington's Susan Conway Carroll gallery, through Feb. 9.
The academy's first floor atrium gallery is host to a show called "Brilliant Color" (through April 6), which includes works by Baltimore's Tom Miller, Barbara Erdman of Santa Fe, N.M., and Shirley Koller of Washington, D.C. I hope it doesn't sound too parochial to say that Miller's wonderful, fanciful painted furniture constitutes the most imaginative work in the show. Though his work has been seen often in these parts, he, too, manages to remain fresh.
The second floor Selections Gallery will be devoted to shows by arts groups that request the space. Working Artists Forum occupies the gallery initially (through Feb. 25).