The All Member Summer Show at the Artists' Gallery is likely to welcome a lot of visitors this weekend, because the gallery's American City Building address places it right next to the free Lakefest Celebration marking the start of the Columbia Festival of the Arts.
That's why the gallery has a weekend schedule including a reception for the indoor art exhibit, as well as a distinct outdoor sidewalk art sale and art-making demonstration.
Among the varied subjects and styles on view in the All Member Summer Show, some of the best pieces are nature studies that are sensitive to how the time of day affects the appearance of a landscape.
Barbara Steinacker's pastel and powdered pigment "First Light," for instance, depicts a darkly hued rust-bown landscape in which dawn is suggested by a bit of orange peeking through that all-encompassing dimness. Also shown in a deliberately dim light is Steinacker's "Woods," in which the tree trunks and foliage are barely visible within a pastel-facilitated blur of brown, green and orange.
Deborah Maklowski is also alert to what different times of day do to a landscape. Her pastel "Morning Glow" depicts a marshy shoreline in which the water is so still that in a poetic sense it seems like it's still asleep; and the pale blue sky is so subdued that it likewise seems like it's just waking up to the colors of the day.
At the other end of the day, Maklowski's pastel "Edge of Night" features trees and a farmhouse that are dramatically seen in a near-silhouetted manner beneath a darkening sky.
Pushing into painterly abstraction, Deborah Hoeper's watercolors "Sunlight I and II" suggest the effects of light in a landscape through dense washes of green, purple and blue.
Other artistic responses to nature include Jing-Jy Chen's watercolor and ink "Gingko and Birds." The fan-shaped, green-and-yellow gingko leaves are suitable for the Asian artistic tradition from which this watercolor derives; and two birds are harmoniously perched on a tree branch. This watercolor's vertical format prompts your eyes to look upward, much as they would if contemplating a real tree. Similarly, the vertical format of this artist's "Morning Glory" emphasizes how its blue flowers are bursts of color set against the vine's green leaves.
Turning to the human figure, its physical essence is conveyed by Cathy Sawdey's pastel "Woman Leaning Over Stool," in which thick lines and dark tones stress the solidity of this woman seen from behind. Appropriately, Sawdey deploys lighter lines and more open space for the pastel "Acrobat in Shoulder Stand."
If Sawdey's relatively spare approach to figuration gives us physical forms and not psychological complexity, Pat Roberie's oil painting "Love on the Boardwalk" is a more conventionally realistic depiction of an elderly couple walking together down an ocean resort's boardwalk; however, this couple is shown from behind, meaning that we're denied any face time with them.
They're clearly still very much in love, though, and so one can imagine the contentment on their unseen faces.
Among the photographs on display, one that stands out is Jerry Weinstein's "Bonsai Mountain." We're accustomed to seeing bonsai growing in aptly small pots or trays, but here what amounts to a mini-forest of these little trees is anchored to a rock formation that itself qualifies as a natural work of art.
Artists working with clay include Winnie Coggins. Her "Blue Bar Bowl" has regularly spaced dark lines set against the bowl's lighter blue surface; and her "Summer Heat Tray" has enough orange, red and yellow on its surface to make it ready for the weeks ahead.
And, artists working in wood include Jim Oliver, whose "Maple Burl Bowl" and "Black Oak Vase" are smooth and sleek examples of how pleasing it can be to visually immerse yourself in wood grain.
The All Member Summer Show runs through June 27 at the Artists' Gallery, in the American City Building at 10227 Wincopin Circle in Columbia. There is a reception Friday, June 13, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.; and a sidewalk sale and demonstration Saturday, June 14, 10 a.m. to dusk, and Sunday, June 15, 10 a.m.to 3 p.m. Call 410-740-8249 or go to http://www.artistsgallerycolumbia.com.