Gallery presents Clipper Mill victims

November 23, 1995|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,SUN ART CRITIC

Galerie Francoise was scheduled to show the works of Milton Avery and Herman Maril this month. But gallery owner Mary Jo Gordon postponed that exhibit to show the works of four of the gallery's artists burned out in the Sept. 16 Clipper Mill fire: sculptors Allyn Massey, Chris Gavin and Vicki McCarthy, and painter Carolyn Maynard.

Instead of proceeds being split between artists and gallery, all money will go to the artists.

Massey lost all her sculpture in the fire, but Gordon had in storage two Massey drawings from a recent show -- "Suspended Belief" and "Sling" -- and a sketchbook of other drawings. The sketchbook works, of course, are not as formal as the two presentation drawings; but their strong colors and skillfully rendered volumes reveal Massey's unfailing hand. And their biomorphic shapes, which look like manifestations of the unconscious, indicate their roots in surrealism.

McCarthy's painted steel sculpture "Untitled" consists of a cluster of slender vertical rods, each ending in an attached rectangular shape. The work looks like a neat hybrid generated from a meeting of the natural and man-made worlds. It makes a nice counterpoint to Chris Gavin's sculptures, also in metal, which are much more organic.

Gavin's seven-foot-tall "Big Bend" resembles a conglomerate tree, sprouting cactus down at the bottom and flowers and ribbony efflorescences from its branches. His pedestal pieces, such as "Bali" and "Untitled," are a little more subdued, but they share the larger work's wit and friendliness.

Maynard's landscape paintings are small, but they hold the attention from a distance, and they gain from their sometimes unusual viewpoints. "Middle Range" looks like an aerial view, while "Night Vision," in some ways the most interesting work here, creates a spatial ambiguity in which we're not quite sure what our relationship is to the sky we're looking at.

In addition to this show, Gordon has mounted another, also to benefit the four burned-out artists. Across the courtyard at Green Spring Station, where the gallery resides, is the Courtyard Room of Harvey's restaurant.

Gordon has filled this room with works by the gallery's other artists, including Leonard Streckfus, Peggy Fox, Scott Ponemone, Quentin Moseley, Greg Otto, Michelle La Perriere and Ruth Pettus. Gordon will give the four burned-out artists the gallery's percentage of all works sold from this show.

And on Wednesday, the day after the two shows' official closing, there will be a party from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Courtyard Room for the purpose of selling the paintings to benefit the four Clipper Mill artists. The public is welcome.

The previously scheduled show of works by Avery and Maril will be held next spring.

The survivors

What: "Clipper Mill Artists Survivors Show"

Where: Galerie Francoise, Green Spring Station, Falls and Joppa roads

When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, through Tuesday

$ Call: (410) 337-2787

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