New Fells Point gallery opens with 'Visual Verse'

February 26, 1993|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,Art Critic

Halcyon, a new gallery in Fells Point, was opened this month by art writer Megan Hamilton, artist Dan Schiavone and Margaret Footner, who owns the cafe on the first floor of the building that houses the upstairs gallery. Gallery and cafe, says Hamilton, are separate entities -- no food service upstairs and no art shows downstairs.

The gallery's single room is not a large space, but it's bright, neat and spare, and it will serve as a welcoming background for tTC works of small to moderate size. Hamilton and Schiavone have scheduled shows through the year that will feature photographer Keith Tishken, painter Stuart Stein and sculptor and ceramist Mara Majorowicz.

The inaugural show, "Visual Verse," fits the space, with small paintings and drawings by Richard Sober and small wall and pedestal ceramic sculptures by Sue Lowe. These artists have something in common, for Lowe's sculptures give us people who are in the throes of some emotion that we see (usually) from the outside, while Sober's surrealist paintings get into the head to reveal visions of the inner mind.

Lowe's work, at least here, doesn't go very deep, but she can be funny. "Stood Up" is a woman sitting alone at a table, the empty candle holder in front of her testifying to her long wait. The expression on her face is one of combined anger and frustration.

"First Holy Communion" is a girl in her Sunday-best dress, but her hands appear to be bound in red, as if to symbolize that she's tying herself to the church -- or maybe she's just nervous and playing with her scarf. "Baby Had a Bad Dream" shows us the dream in a balloon by baby's face -- a dream that involves a memory of having been scolded or punished, perhaps.

Sober's small paintings do have the ability to carry across this space, thanks to his strong colors and draftsmanship. The message is not always clear, but even when it's not, these works evoke a response.

"Angel Caught in the Earth Between the New World Order and a Vanished World," with its house-like face or face-like house, is one of the more successful works here, as are the three "Insomnia" paintings. Anyone who has suffered sleeplessness can identify with "Insomnia 1," in which a figure lies beneath a glaring light.

"Visual Verse"

Where: Halcyon Gallery, 909 Fell St.

When: Wednesdays through Sundays 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., through April 4.

% Call: (410) 327-2967.

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