'Schemata' exhibit is thoughtful and satisfying

September 05, 1994|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,Sun Art Critic

Helen Glazer has done it again. I've sung the praises of the Goucher College exhibitions director before, but it's worth repeating that she consistently comes up with thematically thoughtful, visually satisfying shows. Then she goes a significant step farther and gives viewers an intelligent, cogent accompanying essay.

Her latest is "Schemata," featuring painter Mokha Laget and sculptor Yuriko Yamaguchi, both from the Washington area. Schemata is the plural of schema, meaning plan or systematic arrangement, and both of these artists work with such arrangements. But that alone wouldn't make them worth showing. They both produce handsome, challenging works of art, and they complement each other visually and in meaning.

Laget has a series of paintings, each a vertical triptych made of three panels nine by 18 inches, to produce a single work 27 by 18 inches. This show consists of 28 triptychs, part of a longer series called "Morphologies" (morphology means a study of form and structure).

These panels are made of images that refer to aspects of the natural and man-made world around us: language, mathematics, geometry, animals, eggs, fossils, bodies of water, strata of the earth, works of art, etc. But these visual images are all mixed up. It's as if creatures arrived from outer space in the future, after the world had died, and found this stuff left over from our age; then, from putting it together, tried to figure out what kind of a place this was. But since they didn't have a clue, they kept putting a work of art next to a river bed, or the skeleton of an animal next to a Christmas present.

In color, imagery and composition, Laget's paintings work so well together that it's obvious a scheme of things exists in her cosmos. But the effect suggests that if we lose sight of the essentials that knit our diversity together -- spiritual, intellectual, moral -- our world may come apart and we may never be able to put it together again.

Yamaguchi has a similar message. In her "Earth, Air, Water, Fire and Metamorphosis" installation, she arranges her small wooden sculptures in vertical rows of four along the wall -- eight rows of four, say, forming a horizontal rectangle. Each piece is different from the others, but when they're arranged one can see relationships between the pieces and among the rows. The whole thing makes sense, even if you can't always define how each part relates to other parts.

There is a scheme of things, Yamaguchi's work suggests; though we all seem to be different, we belong to families, and each family is an integral part of the larger whole.

These artists' elegant works accept interpretation, but don't need it to justify their existence. They do that in purely visual terms, making a show that satisfies on more than one level.

ART REVIEW

What: "Schemata"

Where: Rosenberg Gallery, Goucher College, 1021 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, plus evenings and weekends when there are events in Kraushaar Auditorium

Call: (410) 337-6154

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