The current two-artist exhibit at the Bernice Kish Gallery at Slayton House is a study in contrasts. Maxine Taylor's vigorously abstract paintings only incorporate the occasional representational reference, whereas Richard Paul Weiblinger's color photographs of nature are sharply in focus.
Taylor calls her half of the show "Contemporary Movements." Her mixed media paintings follow in the wake of the post-World War II abstract art movement, but the more immediate movement involves the broad brush strokes and vivid pools of color that seem like they're moving across the canvas.
Some of her paintings are so densely conceived that they seem like they might implode, while others have a more spare and open pictorial design.
A good example of the former is "Rediscover." Brooding shades of brown and black predominate, and even the somewhat lighter bursts of orange look dark. The brush strokes are so closely spaced that you wonder if any light or air could penetrate this weighty and claustrophobic abstract realm.
A good example of the latter is "Urban Bright." Open fields of yellow seem like cheerful breathing space. Widely spaced black lines and orange squiggles amount to festive calligraphy that is not meant to register as anything more specific. Tucked away in this literally bright painting are tiny schematic renderings of a house and bicycle riders.
It's interesting to track this painter's occasional inclusion of such figurative references. It's as if these suggested bits of reality are playfully appearing amidst the otherwise abstract brushwork.
In "Memories of Home," nearly hidden small buildings don't register as much more than a few allusive lines amidst a sea of red and black. However, they do evoke a sense of what it's like to have particular memories poking through all of the other thoughts swirling around in your head — or at least swirling around in the artist's head. "Follow Me" similarly has a traced walking figure moving through abstracted orange and green space.
To move from Taylor's abstract paintings to Richard Paul Weiblinger's half of the show, "Unique Visions," is to take a long walk in terms of their differences in medium and method. His digital photographs are close-up views emphasizing just how colorful the world can be.
The tightly cropped "Water Lily Glowing," "Lotus with Bee" and similar photos call your attention to assertively colored flowers that will prove attractive to more than that bee.
Weiblinger also tends to pull up close to objects associated with people. In his tightly cropped "Blue Bikes" and "Umbrellas," the colors likewise are boisterous.
When this artist pulls back a bit to document a "Lighthouse," he has that lofty structure visually dominant in the background and a variously colored marsh in the foreground. Nature is so perky that you might want to wear sunglasses while looking at these photos.
Maxine Taylor and Richard Paul Weiblinger exhibit through Oct. 6 at the Bernice Kish Gallery at Slayton House, 10400 Cross Fox Lane in Wilde Lake Village in Columbia. Call 410-730-3987 or go to http://www.wildelake.org.