The BAUhouse's support of new work by emerging artists is that gallery's most important enterprise. And its second annual BEAMS exhibition (BAUhouse Emerging Artists' Multi-media Survey) may be the gallery's best show to date.
Representing 39 artists from Virginia to Pennsylvania, the 50 works here include essays in painting, sculpture and newer forms incorporating such diverse media as photography, computer graphics and found objects. Each piece partakes of vitality and ingenuity in equal measure.
Of the multimedia works, Jeffrey Pratt Gordon's "Cultivation Continuum (Tubers are . . .)" is exemplary. Four small wooden cubes, windowedwith transparent acetate photographs, are filled with disparate found and organic objects. The variety of tiny images and the exquisite, dim lighting in the cubes' interiors evoke a mystical contemplation of existence.
Likewise, Peter Walsh's "Emotional Echoes" uses altered found photographs and text to address societal definitions of masculinity. The critique succeeds due to the elusive use of words, ironic humor and narrative immediacy which characterizes all of Mr. Walsh's work.
Of the numerous impressive paintings in the exhibit, two deserve special mention. Madenney Fielding Carlisle's "Super Strict Sister Centipede" is a large canvas bursting with neo-psychedelic, cartoon-like images. Mr. Carlisle's riotous sense of humor is exceeded only by his keen visual organization.
By contrast is the striking compositional economy and directness of Joe Boudreau's "Picking the Perfect Knot." Although the stark approach is a surprising new direction for this artist, the thematic content of his work -- here, a skeptical examination of traditional role and success models -- remains as marvelously ambiguous and resonant as ever.
Other notable works include Mary Deacon Opasik's "Hygieia," a somber wall relief using found objects; Raissa Snyder's "Chickens 4," an epic, painterly canvas depicting four chickens; and two delicate, extraordinarily detailed ceramic sculptures by Suzanne Herbert-Forton.