Summer show's talent pool deep Art: At Grimaldis, boundaries melt away to produce a show as refreshing as a cool breeze

Fine Arts

July 21, 1998|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,SUN ART CRITIC

There are some fine meetings of minds in the C. Grimaldis Gallery's current summer group show. Works by artists who may never have met one another just seem to go together.

Mel Kendrick's "4 Point, Black Oil" and Grace Hartigan's "Spanish Still Life" share a sense of humor about inanimate objects that resemble humans. The Kendrick is an abstract sculpture that looks like it's trying to re-form itself into a human figure, and a two-handled vase in the Hartigan watercolor looks like a woman with her hands on her hips sashaying across the room.

Sukey Bryan's large, gorgeous painting "Tidal Wave 3" and John Van Alstine's sculpture "Unda" share an S-curve that endows them with a sense of graceful movement. Melinda Stickney-Gibson's two mixed-media works on paper, "Icon" and "Site III," and John Ruppert's drawing "Penobscot Island Series" show how much can be done with limited means. With a few marks on a neutral background, each artist can create a compelling image that somehow resonates with the emotion that went into it.

Like Grimaldis' previous summer shows, this one demonstrates what a distinguished roster of artists the gallery carries. And this show, especially large with 43 works, offers many moments of sheer pleasure. Van Alstine's sculptures have never looked more dignified. Hartigan's watercolor "Pompeian Still Life," especially the abstract passages at the top of the image, crackle with exhilarating life.

Richard Serra's etching "Finkl Forge I" looks from a distance like an irregular rectangle of velvety black. But get up close and its textured surface resembles an immense landscape of craters or a universe of clustered black stars. The whites in Bryan's painting are endowed with so much drama that they recall John Singer Sargent's dynamic use of white. Karl Connolly's six landscapes are tiny, each only 4 1/2 inches square, but their curves and undulations impart a sense of flowing movement.

A visit to this show is a guaranteed spirit-raiser.

The C. Grimaldis Gallery, at 523 N. Charles St., is open 10 a.m. to 5: 30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. The "Summer 98" show runs through Aug. 29. For information, call 410-539-1080.

New lease on life

A meeting to discuss the future use of the former Patterson movie theater will be held at 7 p.m. July 30 at the theater, on the corner of Eastern Avenue and East Avenue in Highlandtown. The theater is slated to become a cultural center to be developed jointly by Southeast Development Incorporated and the Fells Point Creative Alliance.

Plans call for the theater to become a home for the Fells Point Creative Alliance, a 3-year-old nonprofit arts organization that will present art and history exhibits, lectures, film and theater events, children's art classes and other events. Plans for the building call for its first floor to house a 4,000-square-foot exhibition space, a 100-seat theater and a cafe. The second floor of the theater will become 12 live-in artists' studios and a gallery for exhibiting their work.

The conversion of the theater to the Patterson Cultural Center, aided by one-third of a $1.3 million state grant for the revitalization of Highlandtown, is expected to be completed by the fall of 1999.

The July 30 meeting is free and open to the public. It will be followed at 8 p.m. by a Cajun crab feast and zydeco dance party at the Lodge -- the Creative Alliance members club and former Highlandtown Moose lodge -- at 244 S. Highland Ave. Tickets for the feast are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. For information, call 410-276-1651.

New face at Villa Julie

Peter Bruun, who as the inaugural director of the Villa Julie College art gallery guided it through its opening and highly successful first season, has left the gallery to pursue his career as an artist. The college has appointed as his successor Diane DiSalvo.

DiSalvo has served as director of Gomez Gallery in Baltimore and, before that, was associated with Partners Gallery and the Glass Gallery in Washington and the Maryland College of Art and Design in Silver Spring. She has a degree in art history and management from Simmons College in Boston.

The 1998-1999 art gallery season will open Aug. 31 with a show of photography by Villa Julie faculty member Exsul Van Helden.

Grants available

The Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences gives project grants to regional arts organizations. The grants are given for one-time projects in art, history, music, theater, dance and science. The application deadline is Aug. 3. For information or a grant application, call 410-887-5371.

Pub Date: 7/21/98


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