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Four-artist exhibit opens at Columbia's Meeting House Gallery

There are enough bright colors on the wall to draw your attention in the four-artist exhibit titled "Sidetracked" at the Meeting House Gallery in Columbia.

Among the artists most devoted to richly saturated colors is Richard P. Weiblinger, whose digital photographs often possess a glowing quality. The extreme floral close-up in "Blue Lily Golden Center" assertively makes its presence known. Likewise, "Lotus Glowing 7474" has bold shades of yellow, purple and orange.

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Weiblinger has more than flowers by way of subject matter. In "Ships Dry Dock," the boats' exposed hulls are painted in colors including red, blue and green.

Ironically, it's the loss of color that makes for a noteworthy subject in "White Barns." This is a rural scene in which the faded white paint on several closely spaced old barns seems like it will flake off completely after a few more seasons.

The most strikingly unusual photo by Weiblinger is "Space Ship Corridor 3966," depicting a brightly lit empty corridor that seems ominously calm. You almost expect to hear the talking computer from Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" in this science fiction-evocative image.

Photographer Pete McCutchen also favors strong colors in his archival inkjet prints. "Rolling," "Arc" and other pieces are tightly cropped depictions of roller coasters. The spare architecture consists of supporting columns and arcing tracks backed by a vividly blue sky. The imagery is so sleekly minimal and so vibrantly colored that these compositions verge on being geometric abstractions.

The third artist in this show, Al Biegel, is represented by oil paintings that are colorful in a relatively subdued manner. "Poppy Field Near Villars, Provence," for instance, is a French landscape scene in which closely spaced red dabs of paint indicate the flowers growing on a gently sloping hill.

The predominant color is purple in "Woman in Lavender Field," in which the rows of flowering lavender are complemented by a woman's dress that has the same color worked into it. In "Lavender Basket No. 1," the artist offers a close-up view of a woven basket containing clippings of lavender. The thick application of paint suggests the texture of both the basket and the clippings it contains.

The fourth artist, Allison Pasarew, seems like she would be more at home stylistically in a different group show. Fortunately, her art is clustered together on the walls in such a way that it's able to succeed on its own terms.

Pasarew has mostly small-scale, untitled charcoal and acrylic works on paper depicting metal coils that are backed by monochromatic hues of brown and gray.

She also has small-scale, untitled found objects that have been framed and now hang on the wall. These objects are actual metal coils. They are so thin that their curling forms possess a delicate sensibility.

"Sidetracked" runs through Oct. 18 at The Meeting House Gallery, in the Oakland Mills Interfaith Center at 5885 Robert Oliver Place in Columbia. Call 410-730-4090 or go to http://www.themeetinghousegallery.org.

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