Exhibition marks artist's return to creative life


February 05, 2002|By Dana Klosner-Wehner | Dana Klosner-Wehner,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FOR SOME, the word portal conjures up images of roads less traveled. But for Long Reach artist Ann Aves Martin, the word represents her return to a creative life.

The Columbia Art Center's next exhibition, Portals, features oil paintings by Martin and three-dimensional pieces by another Long Reach artist, Winnie Coggins. It is Martin's first exhibition after a two-year battle with arthritis.

"The show is an official return to myself, to a life that will be very satisfying," Martin said.

Martin, 67, said she wanted to paint since childhood but didn't begin her career as an artist until she was in her 40s.

"My father told me I couldn't go to art school," Martin said. "He said it in such a way that I thought I wasn't capable."

Following her father's advice, Martin majored in foreign languages at Rockford College in Illinois. Then she spent a year abroad, at the University of Paris, accruing foreign language credits while taking art history courses.

For many years, her interest in art was put on the back burner while she held jobs teaching French and worked at advertising agencies. Martin even ran an agency of her own. But, she said, she never felt she fit in anywhere.

Finally, with the encouragement of her husband, Don, she realized her dream and began to paint under the tutelage of professional artists.

Her work began to sell almost as soon as the paint was dry.

Nine years ago, she and her husband moved to Columbia, and Ann got involved with the Columbia Art Center almost immediately.

Her pieces for the show at the art center are mostly abstract. They were inspired by a friend who recently passed away. He took photographs of sunrises overlooking a lake from his home in Chicago.

"He kept his camera ready because he could never get over how magnificent the sunrises were," Martin said. "A month before he died, he sent me the photographs and said I would know what to do with them."

She used the photos as a jumping-off point. "I used the fabulous colors to make my own creations," she said.

Martin said the clay vessels of Winnie Coggins are a perfect complement to her abstract paintings. Coggins has been sculpting functional stoneware -- bowls and plates -- since the 1970s. After showing her work at craft fairs, Coggins said, she wanted to start making sculptures that should be seen in a gallery setting.

Her 2- to 3-foot vessels certainly couldn't be used for cereal.

"Aspects of my sculptures are reminiscent of human forms --- the curve of a hip, torso or shoulder," Coggins wrote in an artist's statement. "They are also abstract forms, which hopefully cause your eye to travel around the shapes and enjoy the form. Texture is important to me, and I want you to feel like touching these images to further savor them."

The exhibition will run alongside Pushing the Limits, a show of ceramic works by the late artist Ron Holmberg.

Both shows will be open from Feb. 21 through March 24. A reception will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Feb 24. The shows are open to the community, and admission is free. The Columbia Art Center is in Long Reach Village Center.

Information: 410-730-0075.

Talented musicians honored

Twelve talented musicians from Owen Brown Middle School were inducted into the school's chapter of the Tri-M Music Honor Society last week. The honor is not just a tribute to their musical ability: Members must also excel academically, said band director Belinda C. King.

Each inductee performed a musical selection or gave an oral report to demonstrate musical or academic ability during the induction ceremony.

Owen Brown Middle School was the first Tri-M chapter in Howard County at the middle school level, King said.

Its newest members are Lauren Buntemeyer, Renee Camilli, Remina Greenfield, Andrew Harman, Brianna Hooks, Emily Howse, Natasha Lopez-Fischer, Spencer Richardson, Daniel Sharar-Salgado, Meghan Toler, Diop F. Wallace and Amy Zontek.

New and improved

Early last month, the Board of Education approved plans for renovating Oakland Mills High School that call for more than $8 million in improvements. Work is scheduled to begin in the fall.

The PTSA will meet at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at the school to discuss the planned improvements.

"We're thrilled about the exciting updates and changes coming to the school," said Heather Tepe, a member of the planning committee representing the faculty, staff, parents and students. She is also the west Columbia neighborhood columnist for The Sun.

The school's future includes increased classroom capacity, a dance facility, a weight room, expansion of the auxiliary gym and the cafeteria, a television studio, a darkroom, a home economics and child-development suite, an art suite and a separate chorus room. The building's exterior and parking lots also will be changed, Tepe said.

Parents of middle and elementary school pupils are welcome to attend the meeting, said Karen Levay, PTSA communications chairwoman.

Information: 410-313-6945.

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