MAP exhibit includes three distinct elements

Various stages of careers are highlighted

Arts: museums, literature

March 04, 2004|By Glenn McNatt | Glenn McNatt,SUN ART CRITIC

The show at Maryland Art Place through March 13 presents a group of artists at different stages of their careers whose works nevertheless complement and enrich each other.

Studio is a collaboration among three emerging young artists, sculptors Adam Bradley, Patrick Burke and Erik Sandberg, whose works all seem influenced by the mechanically based kinetic sculptures of Rebecca Horn, Roxy Paine and others.

Kay Hwang is a mid-career artist who produces meticulously executed works on paper and flowing installations. While her wax-pencil drawings suggest mechanical parts or blueprints, her installations are free-form, associative essays in subconscious meaning.

Lila Snow is a former scientist now in her 80s who has been creating works in a variety of media and styles since the 1960s. Over the years, she has created box-like sculptures that recall the surrealist works of Joseph Cornell and paintings inspired by 1980s neo-expressionism.

Hwang's work is the first encountered on entering the gallery, and in many ways it is the most striking. The installation consists of two sets of dozens of nearly identical white ceramic abstract forms mounted on the walls and distinguishable from one another only by slight variations such as dabs of paint or small surface imperfections.

One set, shaped like tiny ballistic missiles, is arranged in what at first seems like random order on the left wall as one enters the gallery. Closer inspection reveals recurring patterns that suggest the fractal geometries of nature or the statistical distribution of elements in a mathematical program.

On the opposite wall, another set of virtually identical forms shaped like inverted bowls are arranged in a rigorous rectangular grid pattern that seems almost militaristic in its precision.

It's tempting to see opposing attributes in these two sets of wholly abstract forms - male and female, order and chaos, etc. - but the artist carefully refrains from imposing any fixed meaning on the work. Ultimately it is an object of pure contemplation, not a representation of the world.

Bradley, Burke and Sandberg each created one piece for the show. Their works, which are composed of industrial materials such as steel, aluminum and plastic, seem to emote a robotic, machine-like aura that makes them at once familiar and fantastic.

The sheer variety of Snow's work over many decades and in many media makes it difficult to assess her achievement on the evidence of this show. What it does demonstrate is a life of determined artistic commitment and the substantial personal satisfactions to be derived therefrom.

The gallery is at 8 Market Place, Suite 100, in the Port Discovery Plaza. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Call 410-962-8565 or visit www.mdart place.org.

For more art events, see page 36.

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