The "All-Member Holiday Show" at the Artists' Gallery is all over the place in terms of subject matter, but surely the onset of winter accounts for several of the artists adopting a snowy outlook. Let's hope the snow remains in the pictures on the wall and does not fall on the ground outside.
One of the creatively appealing qualities of winter-themed subjects is that artists are able to show how an entire landscape can be transformed by a significant snowfall.
In Bonita Glaser's watercolor "South Mountain, Winter," the snow-covered rolling fields are a vast expanse of whiteness; indeed, a wood fence running across those fields is nearly buried by the snow. And Glaser's watercolor "Out in the Country" depicts a covered bridge that seems even more isolated due to the snow that blankets a rural landscape.
For another snow-altered landscape, have a look at John Stier's photograph "Yellowstone Stream." What's already a narrow stream almost seems to disappear owing to the heavy snow on the ground. The cold mood is further emphasized by the bare trees in the background.
Some creatives feel right athomein snowy conditions. Carl Segal's photograph "White on White" is a close-up shot of a polar bear whose whiteness makes it blend in with the snow all around it. Nice weather at last, the bear seems to be thinking.
All of this whiteness may prompt some viewers to feel a tad blue, so they'll also appreciate the artists who provide reminders of warm weather and clear skies.
Although no season is specified within Deborah Hoeper's watercolor "Evening Sunset I," its melting horizontal bands of purple, orange and other colors make you thankful for a sky that is not overcast.
A warmer season certainly is the setting for Nancy Davis' oil painting "Lone Tree." It's apt that this modestly sized tree and its equally modest spread of green leaves is depicted on a canvas that's tiny in size.
Other landscape-oriented artists in the exhibit have individually distinctive ways of approaching their natural subjects. Diane Dunn's acrylic painting "Waterlily III" establishes a sharp contrast between these vibrantly colored flowers and the dark black water in which they're growing. Similarly, Barbara Steinacker's pastel "Falling Water" is an abstracted composition in which the flowing water is represented by white splashes against an indistinct purple-black background.
Another sort of abstraction is practiced by Denise Tarbell. Her hanging stained glass panel "Landscape with Bridge" uses relatively few pieces of glass linked together to depict that landscape.
Yet another approach to natural subject matter occurs in Jerry Weinstein's photographs, which get very close to things in the wild. A "Brown Pelican" seems to be posing for its photo. Another close-up, "Columbine," emphasizes how assertively purple these flowers can be.
There is not a lot of figurative work in the current show, but people do pop up here and there. Pat Roberie's pastel "Standing Alone" depicts a female nude whose closed eyes reinforce her solitary status. The abstract washes of yellow, purple and black behind her also tend to make her seem isolated.
Other mediums and subject matter can be found in this exhibit. Among those working with clay, for instance, Winnie Coggins has a quietly effective approach to that medium. Her "Celadon Vase II" makes a larger impression than its small size and ordinary shape initially might suggest. This vase's gently rounded form and subtle off-white color prompt harmonious thoughts, and the lines gently incised in the sides of the vase are additional signs of an artist making her mark.
Coggins' "Winter Wheat" is an upright clay vessel whose shape and brown tone help evoke that crop standing up to that season. Just when you thought you could get away from winter, here's yet another reminder of it.
The "All-Member Holiday Show" remains through Feb. 1 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