7:23 AM EDT, June 21, 2013
The Artists' Gallery is telling it like it is by giving its all-member exhibit the title "Something for Everyone!" Most of its monthly exhibits feature one or two members and also have a sampling of work by other members, but this show has all of its artists sharing the same compact space.
As a sign of the summer season, Bonita Glaser's watercolor "High Noon" features small groups of people clustered on a beach. They're protected by umbrellas that keep them from getting too much of the bright sun illuminating this scene.
Deborah Hoeper's watercolor "At the Shore" keeps its focus on the landscape setting, and also makes the most of its medium by having the shades of blue, green and orange melt together.
Whatever the season, many of the artists in the show are drawn to the calming influence exerted by natural scenery. In Deborah Maklowski's pastel "Logging Road," the brown tone used for the gently curving road also is used as the predominant color in the flanking fields and trees. This near-monochromatic picture naturally conveys a subdued mood.
A road wends its way through a very different landscape in John Stier's color photograph "Winding Road I." The narrow road twists and turns and dips as it makes its way through a scrubby, hilly stretch of Southwestern desert. You'll find yourself smiling at the road sign reading: "Dip 15 mph."
Artists depicting landscape subjects have complete stylistic freedom in terms of how they go about it. In Barbara Steinacker's pastel "Landscape," for instance, the melding of purple and blue to depict a lake extends to having those same colors streak through the sky.
An even more extreme creative response to a landscape can be seen in Joan Forester's hand-tinted black-and-white photo "Fishing Shacks." This primarily black-and-white image retains the weather-beaten appearance of seven old wood buildings along the shore, but the selective application of more cheerful colors makes these battered shacks look less grim. Just the same, that doesn't mean they are in move-in condition.
All sorts of decisions are made in deciding how to depict nature. For Marian Gliese, the decisions involve making floral still-life compositions so spare that they verge on hard-edged abstraction. In her oil painting "Whimsical Bouquet," it's easy to recognize the flowers and just as easy to recognize that they've been reduced to arcing stems and bursts of color.
Another approach to abstracted natural imagery can be seen in two examples from a "Landscape Tray" series by Winnie Coggins. It's understandable that these small trays have an earthy quality, because they are, after all, made out of clay. By way of surface decoration, they have earth- and green-toned zones that make them resemble mini-farms; indeed, several zones with incised lines resemble plowed fields.
There's a lot of landscape-oriented art in this exhibit, but it also has its share of artwork with animal and human subjects as the center of attention.
Rana Geralis displays versatility in several mediums with her installation of the oil painting "White Horse," three small acrylic paintings in a "Red Horse" series, and the watercolor "Her Pony." There are two people tending to that pony, but otherwise these three works keep a tight focus on horses.
Hanging nearby is a very different kind of horse. Carl Segal's color photo "Yellow Horse" gives a close-up view of a sea horse. And Jerry Weinstein also stays within the animal kingdom with a color photo providing a close view of a "Bluebird."
There also are human portraits in the show. Here, too, artists make all sorts of decisions as to how to depict humanity.
Nancy Lee Davis knows that you don't always need to present the subject's face in order to give a sense of personality. In her oil painting "Lady with Purse," the purse-carrying subject wears a pink dress and pink hat. She's seen from behind, so she's entirely defined by her prim and proper fashion choices.
The all-member exhibit "Something for Everyone!" runs through July 26 at the Artists' Gallery, in the American City Building at 10227 Wincopin Circle, in Columbia. Call 410-740-8249 or go to http://www.artistsgallerycolumbia.com.
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun