If art is on your holiday shopping list, there is plenty to consider in the group exhibit "Singular Sensations" at Columbia Art Center. Not only do works of art in various mediums cover its walls, but they also occupy seemingly every pedestal and shelf.
Some of the items overtly address the holiday season. Karen Henzey's cotton fabric "Christmas Quilt Runner (Snowman Panels)," for instance, has a quilted surface mostly composed of intersecting red and green triangular pieces of cloth. Her quilted "Holiday Colors" also brightly announces the season.
Winter itself is the subject matter for Robert Coe, whose watercolor titled "More Snow" may prompt you to mentally respond: "Thanks, but we've already had enough." The small white building depicted in Coe's watercolor nearly merges into the snowy landscape around it, but pine trees and wood fence posts manage to visually assert themselves within this winter wonderland.
Most of the artwork in this show actually does not serve as a seasonal reminder.
Among the exhibiting painters, Luz Elena Borrero makes a strong impression with the acrylic paintings "In the Distance," "Stillness" and "Lake." Relying mainly on subdued shades of brown and gray, the artist provides spare depictions of landscapes that quietly meet bodies of water.
A geographically different landscape that's just as quiet in tone is featured in Jillian Storms' watercolor "Desert Lands of Southwest." The mottled brown landscape has an austere quality that prompts you to consider subtle variations in earthy colors.
Most of the exhibited paintings and watercolors are modestly scaled, but it's Jen Evans who really scales down to tiny dimensions for the oil painting "Turnip." It depicts a single purple turnip that in its own assertive way rests on a yellow surface.
Among the many photographers in the show, Paul Goeth has an especially striking photo, "With Honors," in which the closely cropped image presents white-gloved hands resting on an American flag in what's presumably a military funeral. Goeth has another photo, "Guardian," in which a silhouetted, gun-bearing figure stands beside a body of water as if guarding all of us.
Other photographers take viewers all over the place. One who sticks close to home, however, is Dennis Gilbert. His tightly cropped "People Tree in Clouds" looks up at that iconic sculpture located at Columbia's downtown lakefront.
The numerous examples of ceramics in this exhibit give a sense of how many stylistic choices are available to artists. One ceramic object likely to get your attention is Nancy Z. McIntosh's "Garden Pot." Various shades of purple melt into each other on the brightly glowing surface of this pot.
Much more restrained in coloration is Jann Tamburello's porcelain "Flower Bowl." Although there are six floral illustrations placed around the rim of this bowl, they're small, schematic and black rather than anything more grandly decorative; otherwise, your attention is entirely occupied by the subdued whiteness of the bowl's surface.
And there is enough jewelry on display to constitute a well-stocked jewelry store. Appealing examples include Gail Ogin's necklace "Hopi," which evokes that Native American tribe through its use of turquoise, coral, red jasper beads, silver tone tube and sterling silver clasp. Similarly, Ogin's necklace "Dakota" smartly combines these same materials to emulate that tribal culture.
"Singular Sensations" runs through Dec. 21 at the Columbia Art Center, 6100 Foreland Garth in Long Reach Village Center in Columbia. Call 410-730-0075 or go to http://www.ColumbiaArtCenter.org.