The "Summer '13" show at C. Grimaldis Gallery brings together an eclectic, invigorating mix of artists and media.
It's a great opportunity to get up close with, say, the late Grace Hartigan's bold and massive — 6-and-half-feet-by-11-feet — "St. George and the Dragon," a 1970 work long housed at Old Saint Paul's Church.
There's something at once sobering and whimsical about this abstract painting, which, at $95,000, also happens to be the priciest piece in the exhibit.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, in size and price ($1,500), are photographic works by recent MICA M.F.A. recipient Zhao Jing.
Her eye for subtle detail captures, in 5-by-7-inch digital prints, arresting scenes of China that take on extra metaphorical meaning, given the ups and downs of that country's economic state. Here are crumbling structures, forlorn doorways and walls; no signs of life, but vestiges of past charm sometimes peeking through.
Ben Marcin likewise focuses on once-vibrant sites in his large photographic pieces of elegiac eloquence. "New London, MD" finds a wood frame house closing in on itself amid a sea of leafless, seemingly greedy trees. "Silver Run, MD" reveals a once-proud red-brick house that might be defiantly holding its ground.
There is defiance, too, in a potent image of a waterfall, part of John Ruppert's "Icelandic Series." The large rectangular piece is broken into individual frames, like a slice of film. The gray and white tones of the cascades have a drawing-like quality; at the very top, a slice of green earth can be seen on the corner of the image.
Other photographic artists in the show include Neil Meyerhoff, whose "Argentina 430" has a bracing, angular beauty — a close-up on a wall with bright yellow bricks, a window framed in red and filled with blue.
Christopher Saah's distinctive blend of photography, cinema and digital imagining — he calls his works "electro-cinemagraphs" — yield bleak, finely detailed landscapes that seem to vibrate with untold stories.
There is room for several sculptural pieces, including "Window" by the late Jene Highstein, a noble piece of elm with a hallowed opening that draws the viewer in. John van Alstine, working in such substances as stone, granite and steel, fashions sculptures of cool abstraction.
Ruppert is represented by a sculptural piece, too, and it is quite the grabber. "Lightnight Strike Series: Flash," in stainless steel and cast bronze, seems to catch lightning as it strikes the ground. The outer surface is seared, the inner one gleaming, as if still capable of igniting anything in its path.
Two wonderful creations of Chul Hyun Ahn, each a masterful manipulation of LED lights and mirrors, give the room an extra lift, providing a fresh reflection on the concept of infinite space. Working in a somewhat similar vein, Annette Sauermann produces a telling effect in her "Lighttower" of concrete and green fluorescent Plexiglas.
In one corner of the room, four small, quiet paintings on wood panel by Henry Coe capture everyday images of urban and industrial sites in a style that evokes the 1930s and WPA projects.
There is much more in the show, including a couple of Raoul Middleman's ebullient, slightly risque monoprints; Carol Frost's subtle, minimalist acrylic-on-linen pieces; and a Madeleine Dietz's gray-on-black etching that achieves compelling elegance.
All in all, a filling summer diversion.
If you go
"Summer '13" runs through Aug. 17 at C. Grimaldis Gallery, 523 N. Charles St. Call 410-539.1080 or go to cgrimaldisgallery.com.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun