Nobody will argue with the exclamation point in the timely exhibit that's titled "Artists' Gallery Welcomes Spring!" Not every artwork in this group show has spring in mind, but there are plenty of seasonally themed pieces to carry that mood as if on a gentle breeze.
By way of floral reinforcement, for example, some of the artists really get up close to their natural subjects. Marian Gliese's oil painting "Pansy VI" is such an extreme close-up of a single flower that there's nothing else in the picture.
Not quite as close in its compositional arrangement, Bonita Glaser's watercolor "Black Eyed Susan" depicts tightly clustered plants blooming in a field. Although we're still weeks away from seeing such a summertime display, this burst of yellow petals seems like a preview of coming seasonal attractions.
Other artists in the show pull back a bit further to give us inviting landscape views. Among them is Barbara Steinacker's pastel "Spring," in which a calm body of water meets a shoreline defined by bushes and stones.
Other works in this exhibit also offer pastoral visions of nature turning various shades of green. Not all of these patches of green are in the countryside or suburbs.
Kathleen Stumpfel's watercolor "Patterson Park Pagoda" has that Baltimore City architectural landmark as its subject. The pagoda is seen in the distance, however, thereby calling your attention to its placement atop a grassy hill.
As you would expect, most of the landscape views are by day, but Jing-Jy Chen takes a nocturnal view with the watercolor and ink "Moon Light." It depicts cherry blossoms at night. These pink flowers are pretty bursts of color set against the spare gray wash deployed to suggest a night sky. A large white moon asserts itself through the branches of the cherry trees.
The somewhat abstracted treatment of a landscape subject in "Moon Light" is stylistically complemented by other works in which nature is reduced to essential forms and colors.
Deborah Hoeper's watercolor "Sea Foam" features a white wave breaking in a blue sea, but does so in such a spare and non-detailed way that the wave action amounts to the flowing encounter between colors.
And there are artists who allude to nature without directly depicting it. Winnie Coggins has clay trays including "Spring Blossoms," "Azalea Tray" and "Spring Greens" in which the ceramic surface is decorated with dabs and zones of such seasonally evocative colors as green, pink and orange.
Although most of the spring-themed artwork looks to the natural world for inspiration, there are occasional reminders that people also are part of the equation.
Pat Roberie's pastel "Spring Prom (Waiting)" depicts a seated young woman whose formal dress and pearl necklace indicate that she's waiting for a prom date to arrive. Her facial expression is a deftly conveyed mixture of optimistic anticipation and at least mild anxiety. She's poised and pretty and ready for this all-important date, so let's hope her date shows up on time and turns out to be worth the wait.
"Artists' Gallery Welcomes Spring!" runs through May 2 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