Put four artists into a room together and they will probably find they have a good deal in common. Put four artists' works in a room together, as is the case at Morgan State University, and the viewer may find them addressing similar concerns.
The exhibit titled "4 Artists/10 Years" brings together the work of figures familiar to Baltimore gallery-goers: Paul Glasgow, Jann Rosen-Queralt, Amalie Rothschild and Howie Lee Weiss. Quite different in individual style, in this show they all appear to address themselves in some way to mankind's history, condition and fate.
Glasgow's sculptures, variously made of stone, wood and copper and all called "Stele" with a Roman numeral, at first appear abstract except for their more or less human uprightness and size. But a closer acquaintance reveals them to unite the past and the future. "Stele XXXI" is both futuristic looking and a reminder of Stonehenge. These quiet works are also reminiscent of columns, totem poles and other memorializing objects.
Rosen-Queralt's sculptures of paper and bronze, the latter appearing almost as fragile as the former, look like fragments of beings left over from a former world, reawakened after eons of sleep and gathering themselves for some supreme effort. The way they crouch on wall or pedestal, perhaps ready to crawl or fly, is both frightening and noble.
Rothschild's sculptures refer to art and music history at the same time as they combine humans and geometry in a modernist way. "Blue Nude" refers to Matisse's painting, but is closer in pose to his "Pink Nude" and is put together in basic geometric shapes including the circle and the triangle.
Howie Lee Weiss' large, crowded, forceful drawings are the most directly concerned with the origins of mankind and the struggles of life. "The World's Development Version 2" deals with elements of world history, including the various inhabitants of the world, science and war (or actually war and/or love -- it's a little difficult to tell what the figures in the upper left are doing). "Adolescence -- The Dream" deals with the adolescent's passage from child to adult, with a foot in each world and not knowing whether to cling to the past or rush headlong into the future.
In part, this show is about the chemistry of putting art together with other art. The works of any one of these artists might seem quite different if seen under other conditions. Seen together they have something to say to each other and to us.
"4 Artists/10 Years" continues through Nov. 30 at Morgan State University's Gallery 1 of the James E. Lewis Museum of Art, Carl Murphy Auditorium and Fine Arts Building, on Hillen Road south of Cold Spring Lane. Call 444-3030.