At Gomez, art by a local about locals

Critic's choice: Art

July 23, 2000|By Glenn McNatt

Is there a Baltimore style of art-making? That's a question that gets asked and asked again, yet produces no definitive answers. The latest essay on the subject is the upcoming show by painter Tony Shore, which opens at Gomez Gallery Saturday.

Shore grew up in Baltimore's Pigtown neighborhood, but a talent for drawing allowed him to leave the mean streets there, first for the Maryland Institute, College of Art, where he earned a fine arts degree, and later for Yale University, where he got his M.F.A. After Yale, he worked in New York for a couple of years as an artist's assistant to abstract painter David Reed before returning to Baltimore earlier this year to set up his own studio.

During his travels, Shore never lost his love for, and fascination with, the people and places of his hometown, especially the members of his large extended family, who still live in the old neighborhood. They are ordinary, unpretentious folk who seem completely unfazed having an Ivy League-trained artist in their midst. Shore has returned their affection in a lovely series of minutely observed, technically assured paintings that chronicle the ordinary moments he and his relatives share.

Many of these pictures have the quiet authority of works by the Dutch Old Masters. This is a lovely show that seems painted straight from the heart by an artist who knows his subject intimately and shares his insights generously.

The Tony Shore exhibit runs through Aug. 23 at Gomez Gallery, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd. in Baltimore. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Call 410-662-9510.

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