Artists have been depicting flowers and other botanical subjects for so long now that there hardly seems anything new left to say on the subject. Yet Christine Neill's mixed media watercolors at Gomez Gallery, on view through April 20, still seem remarkably contemporary and fresh.
Neill's flowers and plants are executed in delicate, close-valued washes and graceful tracery that, like the flower paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe and the botanical photographs of Imogen Cunningham and Amy Lamb, give her diminutive subjects an uncanny aura of monumentality.
Though the images are realized mostly in watercolor, Neill also incorporates drawing and printmaking into her images. In some works, she uses one or more plates to print the outlines of leaves and flowers, then creates a watercolor image on top of them. In others, she reverses the process by printing botanical images on top of watercolor drawings.
This is a lovely show marked by great simplicity, economy of means and emotional tranquillity. Also at Gomez are paintings and sculpture by Mark West and Anthony Corradetti's whimsical hand-blown painted glass sculptures.
Gomez Gallery is at 3600 Clipper Mill Road. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 410-662-9510
Paul Wallach's minimalist works, on display through Saturday at C. Grimaldis Gallery, combine qualities of both painting and sculpture in that they are mounted on the wall like paintings, yet are so designed as to project into the room and take possession of its space like sculpture.
Wallach has called this effect working "off the wall": By careful placement of each element of the work, the wall becomes a point of departure from which the sculpture grows into the room. In some of the pieces the space between the work and wall behind it is transformed by color reflecting off the back of the sculpture, creating concentrated areas of luminous energy.
The works employ the simplest of material - painted plaster, wood, crayon and metal - which the artist often finishes in such a way that they mimic one another both in form and color.
This is a show that invites close attention to small details of construction (the pieces are actually quite modestly scaled given the large areas of wall space they dominate) and a contemplative attitude that is receptive to the artist's effort to fashion works of great subtlety and imagination.
Grimaldis is at 523 N. Charles St. Hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Call 410-539-1080.
Leaving Eden is a small but finely wrought show of five women artists at Anne Arundel Community College's Pascal Center for the Performing Arts Gallery. The show runs through April 4.
Curator Shirley Parry, who heads the women's studies program, has loosely organized the show around the age-old story of Adam and Eve's expulsion from the Garden of Eden. The artists in the show have created works that address issues of loss, guilt and transformation on a variety of levels.
I was particularly struck by Trudy Babchak's tender portraits of family members who perished in the Holocaust and Kini Collins' sensitive abstractions. The show also features works by Rebecca Bafford, Mary Jo Kehne and Diana Marta.
The Pascal Center gallery is located on the campus of Anne Arundel Community College, 101 College Parkway in Arnold. Hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 410-777-2807.
Other items of note: Craig Flinner Gallery is offering a rare selection of prints by Impressionist masters through April 30. Also at Flinner are contemporary paintings and drawings by Jacob Glushakow, Greg Fletcher, Ralph McGuire and Leslie Schwing.
Flinner Gallery is at 505 N. Charles St. Hours are Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 410-727-1863.
The Contemporary Museum will host its annual benefit auction April 27 to raise funds for its educational and exhibition programs. Among the artists whose works will be auctioned are Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Joan Miro, Glenn Ligon and Joyce Scott.
Advance viewing of the works begins Saturday. The museum is located at 100 W. Centre St. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Call 410-783-5720 or visit www.contemporary.org.