Howard show: Solid, tame and funny

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

As in the past, the Howard County Center for the Arts' regional juried exhibition "Art Maryland 1992" has prominent jurors. The works were chosen by David Levy, director of Washington's Corcoran Gallery, and Samuel Hoi, dean of the Corcoran School of Art.

The jurors looked at about 1,000 slides from 378 artists and chose 49 works by 49 artists. In their statements in the show's catalog, Levy doesn't comment on what, if anything in particular, he was looking for, but Hoi does: He sought diversity and mastery of formal techniques.

The show reveals both. The work is certainly technically strong, and no particular style or point of view appears to have been favored over another. The results constitute a solid but somewhat tame show. It tends toward the traditional in both media and subject matter, and contains nothing shocking, nothing that reaches out and grabs you by the lapels and shakes you. On the other hand, nothing looks sloppy or half-baked, including Gary Shankman's painting of a row of cupcakes titled "Cupcakes" (now there's a non-controversial subject); and the judges obviously responded to work that is pleasing to the eye, as indicated by their choice of Raissa Snyder's lovely and certainly non-aggressive painting "Chickens #4" as best in show.

The best aspect of the show is that it contains interesting work by artists whose names may not be overly familiar to local gallerygoers.

In Elena Zolotnitsky's oil "Island -- Red Lesbos," a trio of hefty, Picasso-sized women tie mermen to a clothesline; the work is well-crafted, it's feminist and it's funny. Thomas A. Segars' "Power Suit" is also funny from a different perspective; in it, a woman pumps up the shoulders of her suit to formidable proportions.

Michael Katz's "Luggage People Series #91 and #102" is two sculptures, but placed together they act as one and have more impact than either would probably have alone. Each stands looking straight ahead, with a suitcase to one side. These are two people who look as if they have a lot in common, but each is alone with a bag of things. It's a telling comment on isolation.

Robert Einbeck's large painting "Rota Study 1" features a large wheel in an indistinct landscape; it bears no overt message, but imparts a sense of tyranny and terror.

FTC Among more familiar artists, James Adkins' "Figure Composition is another of his beautiful charcoal drawings of the nude, and Ruth Pettus' "Men Walking," though not one of her best paintings, does achieve that sense of the ominous which is a hallmark of her work.


What: "Art Maryland 1992"

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

When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Through Dec. 18

Call: (410) 313-2787

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