Emerging artists' show not uniformly good, but fresh

October 30, 1992|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,Art Critic

There were seven jurors for this year's BAUhouse Emerging Artists' Multi-Media Survey (BEAMS), and they all favored us with statements, from Symmes Gardner's paean to pluralism to Michael Weiss' "Good stuff all around."

One can applaud Weiss' brevity without entirely agreeing with him. But if not everything in this show qualifies as good stuff, there's enough of interest to make this a worthwhile experience, especially in terms of artists who are not familiar to the viewing public.

The pluralism that Gardner champions is a mixed blessing, but one of its advantages is that artists can stand out not for what they adhere to, but for what they are; they are less likely to be hailed or dismissed on the basis of what's in fashion.

There's a lot of content in art just now, and it can certainly be read into Gytis Simaitis' "The Ball," a painting of a sphere floating in front of a background that's predominantly blue above and red below. The earth between heaven and hell jumps to mind, of course, but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and this work offers the most as pure painting. Similarly, Allen Linder's two sculptures, "Space Baby" and "Planet," stand out not so much for what they may imply as for the beauty of their materials and Linder's skill in making them.

C. Lloyd Dallett's "Pompeii Gardens XIII" consists of a trio of surfaces -- a square of metal between a square of moss (actual moss) and a collage of foliage. It suggests the visual and tactile pleasures of a garden without quite depicting them.

Ron Levitan's photograph "Beth" is less a picture of a child than an exploration of tone and light. One might say somewhat the same thing about Barbara Traub's photographs from Singapore and Thailand except that these handsome images make a slightly too obvious effort to engage our emotions. Jefferson Steele's two photographs, "Recovery" and "A Child's Nightmare Revisited," are psychologically probing but not very subtle about it.

Edda Jakab's drawing, "Three Bottles and a Palette Knife," is less precisely descriptive than other works of hers, and stronger for it -- there's a certain tension of touch that brings it to life. Lori Ellison's "Die Welt ist Tief und Tiefer" is a door whose panes are painted with scenes and texts reflecting the pains of living -- as in, "Like this we die, falling out of our own souls, which are left there hanging wondering, just what was it we forgot to do with our lives?"

Let us not end on that note, however, but on an always welcome note of humor: Peter Buchman's "Suitcase Scuffle," a miniature prizefight complete with cheering crowd, contained in a real suitcase.

Beams

Where: BAUhouse, 1713 N. Charles St.

When: Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon to 6 p.m.; Wednesdays and Fridays, 3 to 6 p.m.; Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. Through Nov. 27. The show opens with a reception tomorrow night at 8:30.

Call: (410) 659-5520.

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