Grimaldis show introduces a few points of interest

March 12, 1991|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,Sun Art Critic

A "stable" show, such as C. Grimaldis has at his 523 N. Charles St. gallery through April 13, is hard to review. Consisting of one to three works by each of a baker's dozen of artists whom the gallery regularly shows, it doesn't give an in-depth look at anybody and includes some works seen before.

The show is not without its points of interest, however. The principal one this time comes from two landscapes by Henry Coe, "Owls Starting to Call" and "Hutchins Mill Pasture." Rash as it may be to go out on a limb on the basis of such a sampling, it just possible that Coe has taken a significant step since his last show here.

His earlier landscapes were accomplished and easy on the eye without lapsing into the facile or the sentimental. But they could smack of the too self-conscious and the too carefully worked out.

In these two works it appears that the artist has allowed himself to become truly immersed in the landscape, so that he is painting not what it is or how it can be organized but what it means to him. There is a real element of humanity here, especially in the dark water of "Owls Starting to Call," which brings to this canvas a note of sadness, even of subdued anguish. And there is certainly a sense of quiet, mature rumination in "Hutchins Mill Pasture."

A newcomer to this gallery is Marc Boone, whose three canvases, though also fitting into the category of landscape, are violent and unspecific as Coe's are contemplative and grounded in the actual. Boone's titles -- "Mountain Sounds," "River," "Pond" -- are deceptively quiet for these maelstrom-like paintings, which can be seen as either romantic fulmination or psychological catharsis. Appropriate to his images, Boone's NTC rough paint surfaces almost threaten to erupt. Whether a full show of such works would provide sustained excitement or prove merely bombastic remains to be seen, but this sampling engenders the hope of finding out.

* The strongest impression left by the Morgan State University art faculty show (through March 19) is confusion over the mixed-media works of Duane Thigpen. In these two-dimensional works he introduces elements which cast "shadows" across a background surface, creating the illusion of three-dimensionality. The effect is cleverly achieved, but one would hope that an artist so obviously the master of his means would use them for more than effect.

Otherwise, James E. Jones works in several print media, most tellingly with the sense of mystery achieved in the etching, "Hassan, Seeking the Bird at Night, in a Mask." Angela Franklin is similarly adept with enamel works, and Gabriel S. Tenabe employs a staccato brush stroke to suggest patterning in his colorful oils.

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