Delegates' hobby develops into restaurant exhibition

September 02, 1997|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF

Dels. Samuel I. Rosenberg and Maggie L. McIntosh are used to sharing: the same district, the same hobby and now the same gallery space.

The politicians, best friends and avid amateur photographers, have found a place with a captive audience to exhibit their work: Cafe Hon in Hampden.

"We approached the owner, Denise [Whiting], and asked her if she'd like to exhibit the work of two fledging artists in the 42nd district," MacIntosh said. "She said that would be fun."

The rest is art history in Hampden.

"That's where the artists' community is springing up, which has contributed greatly to the renaissance of Hampden," said McIntosh, 49.

Neither she nor Rosenberg has aspirations beyond the walls of their favorite breakfast place. "Color's my thing. It's [photography] my favorite hobby," said McIntosh, of her pictures taken on vacations in Greece, Italy and Maine.

Rosenberg has also been inspired by travel, especially to Israel.

A portrait of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, the most sacred space in Judaism, dominates his exhibit. "Light and Darkness" shows half of the wall where people pray shrouded in shadow and the rest in brilliant sunshine.

In the foreground of the wall -- all that remains of the Temple destroyed nearly 2,000 years ago -- are three Israeli soldiers, their backs to the camera, keeping watch on the Old City.

In one shot, the photographer frames ancient and modern Israeli, or, as Rosenberg put it, "the sword and the prayer" side by side.

"You need a good eye, a steady hand and luck," he said, noting that he caught the soldiers unaware. Rosenberg, 47, plans another trip to Israel in December for the bat and bar mitzvahs of his niece and nephew.

A striking aspect of the work of two people immersed in the give-and-take of politics is that people are mostly absent from the images.

The still life, emphasizing shapes and colors, is McIntosh's medium. A lone lighthouse on the rocks of Nova Scotia is a strong piece in her collection. Port towns fascinate her, as the pictures of kayaks, fishing gear and ships show.

Village churches are another focus for McIntosh's lens, and she captures them with clarity.

While taking pictures in Cyprus, she met Greeks who knew exactly where she was from, because their family members and friends had emigrated here. "Immediately, they said, 'Baltimore -- Fells Point?' "

Rosenberg does studies of symbolic architecture and art, such as Baltimore's City Hall, the State House in Annapolis and the Statue of Liberty. "It's insider art, not outsider," he said.

But while photographing City Hall, he said, "that's when I first noticed homeless people sleeping on City Hall Plaza." They do not figure in his portrait of the building.

Unlike McIntosh, he photographs in black and white and in color.

The purpose of the Cafe Hon exhibit is to show, not to sell, but McIntosh has sold three pictures to customers who called her and offered to buy them for the asking price, $25 to $90.

Not bad for two people who are largely self-taught and do it as a respite from their long days in the legislature.

"Everything else I do is facts and words and has to be very precise," Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg also teaches law in the fall, and McIntosh works at the Johns Hopkins University federal relations office.

They are running for re-election next year as members of the Unity Team slate with Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman and Del. James W. Campbell.

Asked whether the others share their artistic pursuit, MacIntosh replied, "We think that Delegate Campbell does paint-by-number."

"Let the record reflect that Delegate McIntosh said that," said Rosenberg, ever the politician.

Pub Date: 9/02/97

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