Autumn means art in capital

Annapolis hosts a variety of artists as exhibits open at three major galleries


November 03, 2006|By MARY JOHNSON | MARY JOHNSON,Special to The Sun

Art in Annapolis sprung to life last weekend with the start of McBride Gallery's largest annual show, an opening reception at the St. John's College Mitchell Gallery and an exhibit at the Arundel Center of Laura Higgins Palmer's dance-oriented show.

Known for featuring many of the area's finest artists, McBride launched its Autumn Celebration of Art on Sunday, featuring more than 30 artists. The exhibit runs through Nov. 12.

"It is wonderful to have so many art lovers come out ... to visit with these artists and enjoy their work," said Cynthia McBride, owner of the gallery. "I suppose we could call this the No. 1 show, and I'll introduce our featured artist who'd qualify as No. 1 artist at this No. 1 show - Louis Escobedo."

This was a surprise to Escobedo.

"I didn't realize I was No. 1, but I'm glad to be in this show," the Texas native said. "I'm happy to see so many people here enjoying the paintings."

Escobedo said that he did his oil painting Canyon Peek in the early morning. Shades of blue tinged with pink lend an ethereal yet natural, early-morning quality to his rendering of the Grand Canyon.

Another master colorist who attended the opening was local impressionist artist John Ebersberger. He posed by his still life of a round glass vase that held a red flower with an Aphrodite-like figurine nearby along with a bluish glass object. He also exhibited a portrait of a 17-year-old South River High School art student, Nila Roshan, whose presence at the show confirmed how well Ebersberger had captured her likeness.

At Mitchell Gallery, a smaller group gathered for the opening reception hosted by St. John's art educator Lucinda Edinberg to discuss the book illustrations and assorted works of Spanish artist Joan Miro. The surrealist artist's love of bold colors and fantastic shapes was evident, as was a certain playfulness that appealed to about 20 children in attendance.

Adding to the Spanish theme was a concert featuring a string quartet that played selections chosen by Annapolis Symphony Orchestra music director Jose-Luis Novo.

The Miro show will continue through Dec. 15.

I also caught up with Laura Higgins Palmer's seasonal celebration, In Every Season Turn, Turn, Turn. It officially opened Wednesday and focuses on her long association with Ballet Theatre of Maryland.

Palmer was inspired by nature in motion while living in New York and Europe, and she discovered new aspects of motion after moving to Annapolis in 1984, she says. She became artist-in-residence at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, where she found neighbors who danced.

Palmer says she has been involved in "the exciting world of dance" since she was a child and that she danced through her college years. Now, she has found that she is "more talented at picturing motion than in performing it. My artwork is about dance, motion, color, art and identity. As I convey in my forthcoming book, it's infinite."

Palmer's paintings focus on energy, and in a few abstract lines and with bright colors, she conveys the graceful movement of dance. She says, "My paintings are all about focusing energy, the joy of motion and the actions of forms in space."

A section of the exhibition is about art as a gift and the bonds of friendship and support created through art. One work finished this year, Through Thick and Thin, is dedicated to the late founder of Ballet Theatre of Maryland, Edward Stewart, a work that Palmer described as showing "dancers going up into the night sky."

Everything in her show, which is open through Dec. 31, is for sale, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Ballet Theatre of Maryland. Prices range from $375 to $2,000.

A reception for Palmer and the dance artists of Ballet Theatre of Maryland will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday at the Arundel Center at 44 Calvert St. For more information, call the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County at 410-222-7949.

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