'Maryland on View': Strong show covers a lot of territory

December 15, 1992|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,Art Critic

One of the strongest components of Maryland Art Place's exhibition schedule in recent seasons has been the series called Maryland on View. These periodic non-theme shows offer a chance to see a few Maryland artists in some depth. They have, on the whole, been well-chosen, and the current five-person show is no exception.

The paintings of Laura Wesley Ford in her recent exhibit at Galerie Francoise were good, but her four works here are even better. Ford uses elements of architecture and landscape to create big, bold, semi-abstract oils rich in color and strong in form.

These recent works are larger than previous ones, the colors richer and denser; in some there is more sense of the volume of forms, and above all the proportions of her visual elements work better to give a sense of tension to the surface.

Maria Karametou's mixed-media works combine qualities of painting, sculpture and architecture, being painted three-dimensional reliefs with references to architectural elements. They have much in common with classical Greek art, for the sculpture on Greek architecture was once painted; and Karametou refers to columns, friezes, caryatids, pediments and the like, and even includes the natural grain of wood, as in a door, to strengthen the architectural component. One senses a level of narrative here in that, as these suggest architectural fragments, they are also fragments of a story or stories combining the personal and the mythological. But putting the story together isn't so easy.

With his installation "Remember Me," Shawn McRaney creates a sad and resonant work. Charred beams, nails, an ax head, spikes, a photograph of a building, all suggest something gone but burned into the memory. The sense of family is acute, as is that of the irrecoverable but never quite lost, because it is not forgotten.

Riche Rodriguez is a skillful painter. He can be specific, as with the depiction of a boxing ring in "The One Venue," and he can be suggestive, as in "Thinker's Cathedral," where a wash of paint overlays like a veil the hints of a musical mind at work -- notes, piano keys, organ pipes. The use of such painted veils, behind which one glimpses a scene, is not only a technical feat but adds a sense of mystery. The imagery itself, however, which may refer to sports or animals (a panda, an elephant) at times leaves one wondering whether the mystery isn't somewhat artificial, an effort to give straightforward subject matter an extra layer of meaning and importance.

Carole Jean Bertsch may be best known to local gallery-goers for her photographs, but here she exhibits a recent series of monotypes. Her gestural works often combine a person, or at least a face, with other whimsical creatures, and reveal her undiminished sense of humor. However, these images owe a little too much to Picasso to be seen as completely independent creations.

ART REVIEW

What: Maryland on View

Where: Maryland Art Place, 218 W. Saratoga St.

When: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Through Jan. 23.

Call: (410) 962-8565.

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