Exhibit shows contrast in resident artists' styles

September 10, 1992|By Robert Haskins | Robert Haskins,Contributing Writer

A wide-ranging and provocative exhibit of works by three artists at the Maryland Institute College of Art is currently on view in the institute's first offering of the season.

The three artists -- Christine Neill, Nancy Roeder and Howie Lee Weiss -- produced all of the works in the exhibit in 1991, while each was on sabbatical from the institute. What we have, therefore, is an unusually concentrated insight into each of the artist's current concerns.

In spite of this concentration, however, this is a lively show. In temperament and character, these three artists are practically as different as they can be, and their differences affect their work at every level.

Without a doubt, the formidably sized charcoal drawings of Mr. Weiss are the most direct in expression. Uncluttered in their composition, the works are peopled with naive, smiling cartoonlike figures -- artful stylizations of the people children sometimes draw when forced to stay indoors on a rainy day.

Generally, Mr. Weiss' works seem to aim for a humorous effect. When he is at his most uncomplicated, as in "Adolescence," this humor is almost mind-numbing. There is greater interest in the more complex content of "Development," with its panoply of ornate vegetation, grid-like drawings and contrasting simian and human figures.

Representational images executed in water colors or oils form the core of Ms. Neill's exemplary works in this exhibit. Simplicity, again, seems a watchword of this artist's aesthetic, but her simplicity proves to be deceptive.

Works such as "Berkshire Eight Seven" show to great advantage the artist's pleasantly subtle, even rarefied, combinations of color. And, in works like "McGuffin Chair," Ms. Neill's deftness with color unites with a lucid sense of composition to create a serenely austere sense of order.

Ms. Roeder uses the rectangular shape of the ancient pallet as the basis for each of her complex multimedia works on exhibit. The form is painted in colors that are dark but never foreboding, and decorated with a variety of quite contemporary materials, including plastic tubing, window screen and tinsel.

"Emotional Triage" seems especially noteworthy, for here sensibility and materials work together the most harmoniously. However, all of Ms. Roeder's pieces are elusive and deeply moving.

Resident artists exhibit

Where: Meyerhoff Gallery, Fox Building, Maryland Institute, College of Art.

When: Opening reception tonday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.; exhibit continues through Sept. 20, Mondays to Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.

Call: (410) 669-9200.

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