Exhibit exels at putting on a good show

October 12, 1992|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,Art Critic

It's always a pleasure to see an exhibit that has been well conceived, well thought out and well carried out. Sculptor Tex Andrews has done that by curating a four-person show called "Thinking/Rethinking" at the Howard County Center for the Arts; it's not only a good show, it serves as an example of how you do a good show.

First, Andrews had a concept: he decided to do a show of works by artists who have been influenced by minimalism. Second, he limited it to four artists, so that, even though the center's two galleries for this show aren't large, each artist got to show a number of works (four or five); that way, one can get an idea of what they're all about. Third, he chose artists whose works complement one another, in terms of materials, image and meaning. Fourth and most important, he chose interesting artists.

In one of the two galleries are the works of David Gleeson and Scot Cahlander. Gleeson's wooden pieces, which have the look of having been hacked at, slapped together and precariously propped up, and which vaguely relate to the human body, also relate to the propensity of humans for going on in the face of life's vicissitudes.

By contrast, Cahlander's metal and glass and sometimes motorized works look extremely carefully designed and put together, and say something about the futility of going on. In one, called "Love Box," a motor periodically causes an arm with a pin at the end of it to move up and down so that the pin makes a small lozenge-shaped scratch in the side of the glass box it's encased in.

In the other gallery, Allyn Massey's works have to do with the elegance of shapes and the power of visual opposites. Not only does she play a green ball against a black cube ("The Elevation of Geometry"), she plays three beautiful geometric works against two relatively ugly and more organic ones.

Tom Witt, on the other hand, is dealing with the potency of the symbol, of the thing that stands for what is not there. The plus and minus signs on his handsome works have arithmetic meaning, psychological meaning and religious meaning. Moreover, one of these (all untitled) works, in which plus and minus signs are embedded in the sides of a brick cube, has to do with things that are there not being what they seem.

This show even includes a minimal but welcome catalog with essay by Andrews.

'Thinking/ Rethinking

Where: Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City.

When: Mondays through Thursdays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Through Oct. 23.

Call: (410) 313-2787.

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