Barbara Young's painterly work is highlight of photography exhibit

May 16, 1991|By Mike Giuliano | Mike Giuliano,Special to The Evening Sun

Barbara Young's photography exhibit at the Katzenstein Gallery is an interesting case study. Although this Baltimore psychiatrist by profession examines people very closely, her color photographs usually feature nature studies or domestic architecture, but not human subjects.

Perhaps this is because Young originally took up photography as a hobby that would take her mind off her mind-probing work. Like any tourist, she would snap vacation photos in the Bahamas. Unlike most tourists, however, her hobby became something more than that.

The Katzenstein exhibit, which in tidy fashion goes from 1959 to the present, demonstrates how she developed in at least two regards: toward an almost painterly treatment of nature-based subjects, and toward a people-less pictorial set-up in which the human presence is implied in the empty rooms she likes to shoot.

Of the more painterly work, "Golden Leaves" is an early example in which the yellowish tinge of a low to the ground tree seems to suffuse the entire picture. Her photographs of beaches and of fresh water ponds likewise tend to emphasize light conditions and colors that synthesize the various natural elements into a harmonious composition.

Where domestic architecture is concerned, a good example is "Bertha's Porch," in which we see a couple of ripped up chairs set on a no less worn wooden porch. Many people have used this porch, but none at the moment.

Even emptier, if you will, is "The Blue Room." Only displaced bathroom fixtures and an old radiator sit in lonely isolation in an otherwise empty room. There is an overhead light fixture, but alas it doesn't even have any light bulbs. Not only has this very quiet blue room been stripped of furnishings, but we can see through to a second and a third room that seem just as abandoned.

*

Painters Juan Bastos, Dwayne Franklin and Ricardo Hoegg, and photographer Alan Scherr are all exhibiting at the Knight Gomez Gallery this month.

In Dwayne Franklin's small monochromatic paintings, he generally isolates parts of the body in such a way that looking at this series is like surveying fragments that deliberately don't quite add up to a whole.

Juan Bastos often paints couples who are cloaked in mysterious garments, and also, in a sense, cloaked with such mystic trappings as sea shells and crystal balls. Their eyes are usually closed, as if they're not quite aware of the mystical rites they are enacting.

Although his work is uneven, Ricardo Hoegg has the most thought-provoking paintings in this show. His surreal juxtaposition of pictorial elements is at its best in "Mi Abuelo," in which a well-dressed old man calmly looks off to the side while a volcano smokes behind him. Hoegg's approach has affinities with the so-called magic realism of Latin American literature and art, while his treatment of landscape consciously echoes Renaissance art.

Alan Scherr's well-ordered photographs, which are mounted in the office gallery at Knight Gomez, were mostly taken in Washington's Dumbarton Oaks and on Cape Cod.

Barbara Young exhibits at the Katzenstein Gallery, at 729 E. Pratt St., through May 31. Call 727-0748.

* Juan Bastos, Dwayne Franklin, Ricardo Hoegg and Alan Scherr ? exhibit at the Knight Gomez Gallery, at 836 Leadenhall St.,

through May 25. Call 752-2080.

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