STEVEN SCOTT GALLERY
515 N. Charles St. Frank Trefny: New Paintings At least one critic has remarked upon Frank Trefny's ability to achieve, all at once, a joyful chaos and a calmness in his still-life paintings. Far from the fruit-in-bowl subjects typical of the genre, Trefny's work (on display through April 27) contains a Victorian complexity that suggests movement. "Lacquer Chest and Spring Bouquet," for example, includes a Chinese urn, chest, and rug; flower baskets, folding screens, robes and a blue crystal ball. And yet a tension is achieved between this compositional complexity and a state of inner certainty, according to noted critic Gerrit Henry. His work displays a unity in which "the act of painting is practically one with the act of perceiving." 752-6218.
JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER
5700 Park Heights Ave. "Bridges to Understanding."
Both artists in this exhibit (through April 28) use art to voice concerns about social issues, according to JCC arts coordinator Pauline Davison. "They are people with a conscience," she says. Paul Collins, an African-American from Michigan, used a recent trip to Israel as inspiration for his "Voices of Israel" series, which depict Jews, Arabs, and Fallashahs (Jewish Ethiopians) in "dry oil" figurative representations. South African Nathan Margalit (now living in Boston) has devoted his energies to developing and promoting township artists in South Africa. His abstract prints, mixed media drawings, and encaustics -- works created by a combination of paint and melted wax -- are featured. Call 542-4900.
BENDANN ART GALLERIES
221 E. Redwood St. Watercolors by Anne Gaver
The seasons, the play of light and shadow, and especially, the ponds and animals of her home in rural Whitehall are all sources of inspiration for Anne Gaver, according to curator Karen Ruppert. The soothing sensibility of the exhibit (through March) may be more than a function of its subject matter, but a natural extension of the artist's former occupations -- nurse and stress-management teacher. It was only 12 years ago that Ms. Gaver, a member of the Baltimore Watercolor Society, turned her attentions to an in-depth study of the medium, Ms. Ruppert says. Her first entry in a contest, the Eastern Regional Art Exhibit, won a prize. Call 539-0185.
ESSEX COMMUNITY COLLEGE
7201 Rossville Blvd. Sparks of Dissent
America has been celebrating the bicentennial of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and yet Steven Howard's celebratory "Sparks of Dissent" exhibit (through April 18) has fallen prey to its arch-villain, censorship. Along with such items as bumper stickers, buttons, and a "where-are-they-today" retrospective on progressive organizations in Maryland, the English professor erected a "Truth and Justice" wall, where visitors can post their views on the war in the Middle East. But those who expressed opposition to the war often had their messages worse than ignored. "A lot of the expression of the right was to tear those messages down," Mr. Howard says. Whenever possible, he simply put them back up. Call 522-1743.