Columbia's Kish Gallery exhibit is a journey worth taking
By Mike Giuliano
Howard County Times|
Mar 08, 2018 at 9:00 AM
Two otherwise very different artists are linked by a strong family connection in the exhibit “Mother/Daughter Show: Memories of a Journey” at the Bernice Kish Gallery at Slayton House. The late Elaine Hochreiter, who lived in Laurel, and Krista Hipp, who lives in Severn, share the gallery walls in a manner that does prompt you to think about a journey through life.
Hochreiter’s oil paintings depicting landscapes are often quite direct in terms of how they take the viewer down a pathway. In “Country Path,” the composition is anchored by a narrow path through the woods; and in “Elkhorn Lake,” there is a curving path alongside a lake filled with very appealing blue water. Yet another path occurs in “Azalea Azure,” with the azaleas’ bright red blossoms lining the path.
A number of her other landscape paintings call your attention to fields that have a gently reflective quality to them. In “Rainy Day Fields,” for instance, the rolling hills lead back toward an isolated building in the distance.
In “Snow Field,” there is deep snow covering an open field that otherwise has only a few bare trees and a knocked over fence poking above the snow. The purple-white tones that predominate in the field are echoed by the artist's color choices for the sky, resulting in a painting that has a monochromatic look.
And in “Poppy Red,” the pale green shades that define a field are broken up occasionally by the spots of red denoting those blooming poppies.
The rural subject matter that one finds in painting after painting does allow for the occasional building popping up in a field or nestled in the woods.
In “Moosebach Chapel,” a small country church does have some architectural presence within a woodsy setting. It seems appropriate, though, that much of the composition actually is given over to the reflections cast by trees in a placid body of water.
Buildings are the center of attention in a few of the paintings. “Octagon Silo and Barn” depicts a very interesting, octagonal silo and the barn next to it. The rust-red roof and weathered gray walls of these structures convey a sense of the long history of farming in such a place.
The implied human presence comes across even more forcefully in “Sunflower Shed,” in which a tiny shed has colorful sunflowers planted right up against its side walls. Although two lawn chairs placed on the lawn in front of the shed are unoccupied, it is easy to imagine people making use of them.
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Most of the exhibit is given over to Hochreiter’s landscape paintings, but Krista Hipp has striking ink wash on canvas paintings whose black-and-white tones possess obvious visual appeal. This appeal owes a lot to her technical knack for depicting crowded urban scenery, but a lot also owes to how unconventional the scenes themselves are in terms of what most artists would consider suitable subjects.
Hipp is drawn to scenes that most of us recognize and yet would not think about as something to immortalize in a work of art. In “Wrong Way,” a road is cluttered with stores and signs that include the prominent placement of a road sign reading “Do Not Enter.”
“Under 1-97” is true to its title, because it gives us the view from underneath a highway overpass. Indeed, the concrete columns holding up that highway are so dominant in the composition that they seem architecturally overwhelming. Well, there is no denying how well they hold up that highway!
Even when Hipp goes indoors for subject matter, there is a palpable sense of architectural design. In “Target Shop,” the department store’s racks of clothes take up much of the composition and yet your attention is drawn toward the store’s floor, ceiling and support columns.
Working in a different medium and, for that matter, going back in time a bit is Hipp’s acrylic painting “The Joy of Modern Living.” A blend of bright colors amounts to a cheerful backdrop for outlined images depicting faces, household appliances, a now-old-fashioned rotary telephone, and a house in what comes across as an advertisement of sorts for Eisenhower-era America.
“Mother/Daughter Show: Memories of a Journey” runs through March 24 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 email@example.com