Not all artists have made their case in juried exhibit

June 23, 1994|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,Sun Art Critic

Non-theme juried shows are always difficult to write about, made up as they are of one or two works each by up to several dozen artists. But they are often more consistent than the fourth annual BEAMS, a name that requires some explanation.

BAUhouse is the name of a multi-disciplinary arts organization that lived for three years at 1713 N. Charles St. before leaving the space in early 1993. Since then the BAUhouse has sought temporary spaces for its performances and exhibitions.

One of its annual features at Charles Street was a juried exhibit called BEAMS, for BAUhouse Emerging Artists' Multi-media Survey. Now resuscitated, BEAMS has opened in its latest edition at the Howard County Center for the Arts.

It had three jurors: David Tannous, art critic and independent curator; Peter Dubeau, painter and assistant director of School 33 Art Center in South Baltimore; and Pat A. Creswell, director of the BAUhouse. They are all respected, but for whatever reason they have put together a distinctly mixed show. It contains some quite slight art, including most of the abstract works; a few pieces of overblown and empty art; and a fair proportion of really interesting art.

Let's concentrate on that. Nancy Oakley Klapp's "La Reduccion, 1,2,3" consists of three cabinets divided into sections and drawers containing small sculptures and paintings that, it appears, tell a story involving religion. The viewer may have trouble puzzling out the exact meaning of the robed figures and surreal scenes that inhabit these spaces, but the piece intrigues partly because it's elusive.

Thomas Segars' paintings are not hard to figure out, and they pack a considerable punch. "The Happy Couple" deals with spouse abuse, and "The Revisionists" with rewriting the past -- only in this case, the revisionists are presented as surgeons, cutting out a piece of a book. In Lynne Lockhart's painting "Search," a blind person negotiates an ordinary street that has become skewed, wildly undulating; it brings home how little the undisabled know of the world of the disabled. Patricia Heising's "The Day After" is a realistic yet enigmatic depiction of the aftermath of an encounter.

Shayne L. Hull's two paintings featuring big heads, "His First Room" and "Oh My God, How's My Makeup," have about them something of both the grotesque and the humorous. And Mary Potter's "Belle," one of the show's few sculptures, suggests in its abstract way a figure of awkward grace.

BEAMS occupies two of the HCCA's three galleries. Don't miss the third, showing a half dozen of Bruce Widdows' witty but chilling paintings of science gone mad. Widdows' characters fiddle with machines and contraptions that amplify prayer, determine the potential of a fetus, extract the soul through the navel and perform other such fascinating and horrifying functions. Widdows combines enviable technique, a major imagination and trenchant wit. Worth the trip down the hall from BEAMS. Worth the trip to HCCA, in fact.



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 July 29

Call: (410) 313-2787

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