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By John Dorsey and John Dorsey,SUN ART CRITIC | June 16, 1998
Even after a century of abstract art, the viewer tends to try to find suggestions of representation in abstract work. Jon Isherwood's fine stone sculptures at the C. Grimaldis Gallery serve as a good case in point.The sculptures don't depict anything. The artist leaves some of the sides of his stone slabs in their natural state, smooths and polishes others, makes striation-like cuts, often hollows them out so that one can peer into a vertical interior space but not penetrate it.As worked pieces of stone, they fully satisfy the demands of sculpture.
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By Mike Giuliano | March 14, 2013
The exhibit "Arcane Convergence" brings together two artists whose shared abstract orientation merits the show's title. Fortunately, Linda Trope and Adam Zynger both create artwork that is easy to approach at the Bernice Kish Gallery at Slayton House. Trope's mixed media works on paper actually do incorporate representational figures and recognizable landscapes, but they're so spare and stylized that you should not expect anything specific by way of biography and geography. Instead, you'll constantly encounter lithe dancers whose gently curving bodies and limbs are painted with such zestfully assertive colors as pink and purple.
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By John Dorsey and John Dorsey,SUN ART CRITIC | February 18, 1996
You can argue endlessly over abstract art -- over why it came about, whether it was a good or a bad development in the history of art, whether it's soulless or reflects man's highest aspirations and ideals, whether it's a dead end, whether it's dead. What you can't do is deny its status as the most central and potent movement in 20th century art.Similarly, you can argue with a lot of things about "Abstraction in the Twentieth Century," the museum-filling show that just opened at the Guggenheim in New York.
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By Jacques Kelly, The Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Sun reporter | May 3, 2011
Elizabeth Scott, an art-quilt maker whose work was acclaimed by critics as "filled with hope and sadness and love," died of heart failure April 25 at her home in the Penn North section of West Baltimore. She was 95. Born Elizabeth Caldwell near Chester, S.C., she was a middle child of 14. Her family sharecropped vegetables and cotton on the plantation where her grandparents had been slaves. Her grandfather was a basket weaver, potter and blacksmith. Her father, a railroad worker, made quilts.
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By John Dorsey and John Dorsey,SUN ART CRITIC | October 20, 1995
The history of 20th century art can seem much too complicated and difficult to follow, with its confusing succession of isms: Cubism, futurism, surrealism, expressionism, etc. What's this all about, anyway?Well, there's no better way to understand art than to look at it, and the Baltimore Museum of Art is now offering an excellent opportunity to follow visually the art of the century's first half. Two new shows containing prints, drawings and photographs take us from the dawn of cubism to the threshold of abstract expressionism; those who want to cross the threshold need only visit the museum's modern wing to see how abstract expressionism developed from what went before it."
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By SAM SESSA | June 8, 2006
`On the Light Side: Art That Makes Us Smile' Whimsical and tongue-in-cheek works by nine local artists go on display today at the Carroll Arts Center. They include cartoons, tea kettles and funny, abstract art. One example is Elizabeth Morisette's "Sticky Basket," made from colorful plastic drink stirrers. "We in the art world try to be so serious about art and interpret its deeper meaning," said visual arts coordinator Susan Williamson. "Sometimes you just have to smile. Summer is a great time to do that."
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By John Dorsey and John Dorsey,SUN ART CRITIC | September 20, 1995
Howie Lee Weiss' big, bold charcoal drawings feature so many oversized smiling, laughing and generally happy faces that at first the viewer feels surrounded by a gigglefest. There's a temptation to see these as pleasant, somewhat repetitious images and to move on. But Weiss is a serious artist, with a serious philosophy to communicate.There are three typical elements of a Weiss drawing, seen in various combinations: the human being represented by the face or the full figure; plants, which stand for the natural world and creativity; and a grid-like pattern of squares in various sizes.
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By John Dorsey and John Dorsey,Sun Art Critic | January 17, 1995
The subject of the nude in art is as old as art itself, yet endlessly new. Artists have never stopped exploring it, and considering the (forgive me) coverage it's received down the centuries, the problem facing today's artist is how to approach it in a way that's fresh but not gimmicky.In "Figureworks," the current show at Gomez, six artists -- three photographers, two sculptors and a painter -- go at it with mixed results, but they add up to a well-thought-out show.A. E. Ted Aub's small, elegant bronzes combine the body with other objects in surreal ways that highlight the absurdities of life.
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By John Dorsey and John Dorsey,Sun Art Critic | March 31, 1995
Since a photograph has to be a picture of something or other, even if just a blank piece of paper, "abstract photograph" might seem a contradiction in terms. But not if we remember that abstract art doesn't only mean non-representational art. It also means, according to the reliable H. W. Janson's "History of Art," "the process [or the result] of analysing and simplifying observed reality."And since this has been a century of abstract art of one kind or another, it's no surprise that many photographers have attempted abstraction.
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By JOHN DORSERY and JOHN DORSERY,SUN ART CRITIC | May 26, 1998
Mark Rothko, who suffered from depression and eventually killed himself, thought that art should be tragic. So it may seem strange to call him an artist of beauty and joy.But in the Rothko retrospective now at Washington's National Gallery, one can revel in his luscious colors, bask in the warmth of his seductive reds and yellows, enjoy the breeze that seems to waft from his cool blues and greens, be dazzled by his brilliant whites and melt into his welcoming...
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By Bill Thompson | November 18, 2006
Bird carving takes on national prominence next week in nearly every household when someone is anointed to pick up a knife and fork and perform the uniquely American ritual of portioning the Thanksgiving Day turkey. But another kind of bird carving - also a predominantly American pastime but which has nothing to do with culinary art - knows no seasonal limits. In countless shops, shacks and basements from Camden, Maine, to Corpus Christi, Texas, men and women spend hours hunched over blocks of wood, painstakingly shaping them into bird sculptures.
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By SAM SESSA | June 8, 2006
`On the Light Side: Art That Makes Us Smile' Whimsical and tongue-in-cheek works by nine local artists go on display today at the Carroll Arts Center. They include cartoons, tea kettles and funny, abstract art. One example is Elizabeth Morisette's "Sticky Basket," made from colorful plastic drink stirrers. "We in the art world try to be so serious about art and interpret its deeper meaning," said visual arts coordinator Susan Williamson. "Sometimes you just have to smile. Summer is a great time to do that."
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By Glenn McNatt and Glenn McNatt,SUN ART CRITIC | June 5, 2001
Somewhere in Clement Greenberg's last book, "Homemade Aesthetics," the famous critic and champion of abstract art remarked that while the very best modern American painting of his era was certainly abstract, the next best painting was figurative and representational. Greenberg was at pains to avoid the implication that abstract art was in principle "better" than other kinds of art: It was just that in New York in the 1950s and early 1960s, the very best art happened to be abstract. That did not alter the fact that figurative painting could be very good - much better, indeed, than second-rate abstract art, which Greenberg thought was about as bad as you could get. A couple of local shows seem to bear out the idea that the era produced many artists whose works remain touching and true despite their traditional style.
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By Glenn McNatt and Glenn McNatt,SUN ART CRITIC | February 15, 2000
Maryland Art Place has for years been one of the most interesting venues in the city for regional talent. "Realist/Stylist," the current group show of 13 regional artists, is no exception. This exhibit, curated by local figurative artist Joe Shannon, is in a sense the counterpart to MAP's show last year that explored different approaches to abstraction. As Shannon notes in the catalog to "Realist/Stylist," representational drawing can tend either toward being "accurate" or toward being "stylized," though it is impossible for a figurative artist to be wholly one or the other.
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By John Dorsey and John Dorsey,SUN ART CRITIC | December 1, 1998
The reports of the death of abstract art have been greatly exaggerated. It is alive and kicking, and lives (among other places) in the Baltimore-Washington area. Two concurrent, complementary shows playing Baltimore just now under the umbrella title "Chance & Necessity" offer distinguished proof.At Maryland Art Place, the show curated by abstract painter Power Boothe, contains 22 paintings by 20 artists, all living in this area. And at Goya Girl Press there's a show of 20 prints by the same artists.
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By John Dorsey | November 12, 1998
The current show at Mill River Gallery in Oella near Ellicott City, called "Landscape: The Tradition and Beyond," combines traditional landscapes with more abstract and conceptual works.One of the latter is Mary Walker's sculpture installation about the meeting of nature and industry. Photographers David Bartlett and Carolyn Lyons combine literal landscape with implications of abstraction. The show also includes abstract works by Edda Jakab and Rhona L. K. Schonwald.James Myrick and Sarah Abel DeLuca contribute cityscapes.
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By GEORGE F. WILL | January 20, 1992
Washington -- The deep waters of the art world are yet again being roiled by the great Latrine Debate.Next month a three-hole privy seat from an old Long Island outhouse will be auctioned as fine art, or perhaps just as an artifact, because one, and perhaps two, famous painters painted it -- or, at any rate, put paint on it -- as part of the merriment of a 1954 croquet party. The question is, is it art?Willem de Kooning was an ''abstract expressionist artist'' -- never mind the oxymoron -- who painted the toilet seat.
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By John Dorsey and John Dorsey,SUN ART CRITIC | January 18, 1998
To look at Elizabeth Scott's quilts is to see a world of life and a world of art. They refer back to her African ancestors' way of making fabrics, and they resemble abstract art. They reflect her parents and grandparents and growing up on a South Carolina plantation. They include the world around, from stars to insects, that everyone can recognize. And they embody emotions that everyone knows.Scott, who will be 82 Feb. 7, learned quilting at her mother's knee in South Carolina. But as an adult she gave it up for decades of being a Baltimore wife and mother and working at a succession of jobs.
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By John Dorsey and John Dorsey,SUN ART CRITIC | September 8, 1998
An artist must show when and where he can, for there are few enough opportunities. Nevertheless, overexposure can happen, and that's the case right now with photographer Ben Marcin, who's in a three-person show at School 33.Marcin had an exhibit at Gomez Gallery that closed Aug. 9. It included a group of photos of house walls shown up close so that they resembled colorful geometric abstractions. In the School 33 show, he has another group of wall pictures, not as good as those at Gomez.In the Gomez pictures, doors and windows could be seen both as what they were and as geometric elements, so the images had a pleasing duality.
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