Browsing in the neighborhood


Going to a group show of works by local sculptors has become a little like going to a neighborhood cocktail party. One can expect to see the old familiar faces, and one feels quite comfortable among them. But one doesn't always have something new to say to -- or in this case, about -- them.

At the Gatsby Design Gallery (through June) are works by Paul Glasgow, Greg Moring, Gagik Aroutiunian and Jim Paulsen. At "En Plein Air," the annual summer show at Green Spring Station (through Sept. 7) we also have Moring and Paulsen, plus Bill Duffy.

Perhaps slightly less familiar at Gatsby are David Hess, whose two "Greenspring Avenue" pieces, if not especially challenging, have pleasing lines; and Scot Cahlander, recently seen at City Hall, whose "Pike" sits on the grass looking something like a minimalist big bug.

At "En Plein Air" David Friedheim shows "Painted Shorts," another amusing, engaging character made of cast-off metals from a repertoire that can be sampled in greater numbers in the current show at the BAUhouse. A new face (to me) among the regulars here is Ken Martin, whose understated, austere piece, intriguingly called "Literature in Iceland," makes one want to see more.

Also at Green Spring, in the "Galerie Francoise et ses freres," is a show of bronzes by Barry Johnston, whose works may please those who like traditional figural sculpture.

Speaking of neighborhoods, Crystal Moll, now showing at Katzenstein (through June 30) uses Baltimore's streets and alleys, row houses and storefronts as the subject matter for her strongly lighted geometries of color. The rectangles of windows and doors, the triangles of wires, dormers and shadows are occasionally relieved by the organic effusion of a tree or a window box. Moll's colors suggest summer's sunlight and shadows, and she manages compositions that are highly organized without looking faked.

At Baltimore Clayworks are the sculptural ceramics of Ching-Yuan Chang (through June 28). The artist's combinations, including stoneware, earthenware, porcelain and raku, play off textures and colors, geometric and organic shapes against each other in ways no doubt clever but much too self-conscious and stagy.

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