Teachers, students fill enormous Columbia Art Center show
By Mike Giuliano
Baltimore Sun Media|
Sep 20, 2019 | 5:00 AM
Judging from the annual Student/Faculty Show at the Columbia Art Center, its classes have been productive. Karen Isailovic, the show’s juror and co-founder and CEO of Root Studio, a community space and wellness center in Columbia, selected 342 pieces for an exhibit that seemingly cover just about every wall and pedestal there.
Surely owing to the instructional nature of such an exhibit, you get a real sense of artists contemplating basic issues relating to composition, style and medium.
In student Yolanda Koh’s watercolor “Chimney of Dubrovnik,” for instance, the artist depicts tile-covered rooftops that are closely spaced in a densely populated old urban neighborhood. In terms of the composition, Koch has thought about how to present rooftops that essentially consist of sharply angled, orange-toned rectangles extending back to the horizon line.
A similar type of tile roof can be seen in the single house depicted in instructor Joyce Bell’s watercolor “Tuscany Countryside.” However, more than its singular status sets it apart from Koch’s watercolor. Bell has a relatively loose treatment of the watercolor medium for her rendering of the house and a conifer growing next to it. For that matter, the watercolor is allowed to flow to such an extent that some of it drips down the exposed white paper at the bottom half of the composition.
Another artist who has a selective approach to what is represented within a composition is student Dora Strope, whose watercolor “Columbia People Tree” has a relatively schematic representation of that iconic lakefront sculpture. Not only does it dominate the composition, but the artist makes it seem even more prominent by basically whiting out the lake’s water. Indeed, even the depicted dock, trees and buildings are presented here as near-ghosted forms.
By contrast, instructor Katherine Nelson has charcoal drawings including “Don’t Fence Me In” and “Provence Lavender and Trees” in which heavy definitional lines give a firm sense of how winding rural roads and rolling fields define rural landscapes.
These varying approaches depend to some degree upon the attributes of the mediums deployed, of course, and this is seen quite effectively in instructor Thais Cassel’s fluid acrylic “Shakespeare.” The composition is dominated by blue-and-white ocean waves assertively reaching the shore. If you’re wondering what this wave action has to do with the great English writer, the bottom corner of the composition depicts a woman in a bathing suit relaxing on the beach with an open book.
The various mediums on display in this large exhibit include quite a few pieces of ceramic art. Some of the most appealing examples combine functional purpose and decorative design. Student Jane M. Green has an “Olive Plate” whose earth-toned surface is delicately incised with slender lines representing olive leaves and a few dark dots representing olives.
Another medium that prompted several students to make visually beautiful artworks is fused glass. Student Nancy Stivers, for instance, has a fused glass “Portrait in Glass.” It depicts a woman’s face that has a healthy glow to it.
And while we’re on the subject of glass, student Sue Concannon’s stained glass “Red Box” and “Blue Box” are small boxes that speak to the larger creative issue of how to structurally design objects and adorn them with geometric patterns.