Providing a lofty perspective to urban 'Imagination'

Visual Arts

  • Aline Feldman's white-line woodcut prints such as "Paradox of Place V," above, are on view now in "The Dynamics of City and Countryside: The Synthesis of Reality and Imagination,” continuing through Nov. 21 at Howard Community College.
Aline Feldman's white-line woodcut prints such as "Paradox… (Howard Community College )
November 10, 2011|By Mike Giuliano

Aline Feldman's woodcut prints are given the standard eye-level installation at Howard Community College, but you'll often feel as if you're looking down from a great height owing to the high-angle perspective in an exhibit titled "The Dynamics of City and Countryside: The Synthesis of Reality and Imagination."

This lofty sensibility is especially pronounced in her urban scenes.

Prints such as "City Aslant" offer schematic views of densely developed blocks in which the skyscrapers and streets are depicted with diagonal lines emphasizing the hard edges of a concrete jungle. An actual aerial shot might at least provide a distant sense of architectural detail or even dot-sized humans way down below, but Feldman deliberately avoids that sort of thing.

Also characteristic of such a high-angle view is that seeing a busy network of diagonal lines can have a slightly disorienting effect on the viewer. If you've ever looked out an upper-level window in a skyscraper, you know that feeling. The world down below really does seem a bit confusing when seen from way up there.

"Night Grid" still has us way up there, but this nocturnal scene understandably calls your attention to the streetlights and cars that serve as bits of light punctuating the darkness.

Two prints in a "Between Buildings" series place greater emphasis on how tightly packed the built environment tends to be in Manhattan-type areas in which real estate comes at a high price. Coloring the individual buildings in distinctly different colors brings out the extent to which they're like vertical sticks of color.

Feldman descends to ground level in prints such as "Night Street." Presumably owing to the proximity to what's being shown, it has a more realistic feel to it. Even so, the artist does tend to compositionally think in terms of how the aggressive lines formed by a street in the foreground help define this urban space.

Although there are architectural distinctions to be noted in the old row houses in the background, she only goes so far with softening detail; in that regard, it seems significant that tree limbs are bare.

The artist also relies upon strongly drawn lines for prints depicting country scenes. "Beyond the Trees" has purple-and-black tree limbs dominating the foreground and framing the view beyond.

She also sometimes does pastoral views that are as dense in their own way as the city scenes. In "Garden Afternoon," pretty flowers rise above densely woven vegetation. The rolling blue sky above lightens the overall mood, though, and typifies how such country scenes have a calming effect.

"Aline Feldman, the Dynamics of City and Countryside: The Synthesis of Reality and Imagination" runs through Nov. 21 at Howard Community College, at 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy., in Columbia. Call 443-518-4809 or go to

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.