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Calm mood prevails in Salvador Bru's work


A new name to reckon with on the Baltimore art scene i Spanish artist Salvador Bru, who is having his first local exhibit at the C. Grimaldis Gallery's Morton Street location. Not much contemporary Spanish art is shown in our area, so there should be plenty of curiosity in this case.

Bru has lived for a long time in the United States and often exhibited in this country and in Europe. He now lives in Washington and keeps a studio in Baltimore.

Looking at his new work takes one back to the surrealism-tinged abstract expressionism of the 1940s. The lines and forms in his paintings are vaguely allusive and not meant to be read strictly as one thing or another. Instead, there is more painterly interest in how these forms are placed against (and sometimes under) a layering of monochromatic grey, black and brown paint.

Unlike the angry brush strokes often associated with abstract expressionism in its macho American phase, Bru's brush strokes manage to be activated and calm. The drips and stains that run down his paintings seem loosely planned, and likewise he leaves some areas of a canvas unresolved as if to gently accommodate even his mistakes.

The focal point for his exhibit -- and how could it not be, considering that it measures 30 feet in length? -- is a painting titled "Baltimore Triptych." Our eyes are encouraged to "read" this painting from one side to the other, but we're reading moods more than particular statements. The appearance in this painting of one of Bru's recurring figurative allusions, a schematic pyramid, is indicative of how his present-day brush strokes seek to evoke a sense of ancient wisdom and mystery.

Salvador Bru exhibits his paintings and monoprints at the C. Grimaldis Gallery's 1006 Morton St. location through April 13.

The Grimaldis Gallery's other location, at 523 N. Charles St., has a concurrently running group show featuring Kevin MacDonald, Trace Miller, Robert Dash, Joel Fisher, Joseph Amar, Henry Coe, Grace Hartigan, Anthony Caro, Marc Boone, Osami Tanaka, John Baldessari, Joseph Sheppard and Eugene Leake.

Katzenstein Gallery

Louise Seward-Miller is showing her jazz-themed watercolors at the Katzenstein Gallery. In a watercolor such as "City Notes" she places a single musician in the foreground and lets us see the city skyline behind him. In other watercolors she captures a jazz band in action at Buddies Pub, a Charles Street locale where her husband, drummer Bing Miller, regularly performs with his group.

Louise Seward-Miller exhibits her watercolors at the Katzenstein Gallery, at 729 E. Pratt St., through March 29.

Alcazar Gallery

Highlights of the visual arts faculty exhibition at the Baltimore School for the Arts are three sculptures by Rodney Carroll in which he combines different types of metal and wood in order to make us aware of how dissimilar materials can be brought together.

Also showing in this worthwhile exhibit are David Lovinger, Stephen D. Kent, Diane Sipple, Luis Flores, Michelle La Perriere, Narda Francfort Carroll, Volker Schoenfliess, Chris Hartlove, Katherine Kendall, Kim Parr and Sally Hopkins. It remains in the Alcazar Gallery of the Baltimore School for the Arts, at 712 Cathedral St., through March 27.

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