Seven artists show work at Mill River


Sometimes, a person is neither here nor there but in between.

So is the theme of an exhibit, "Between," at Mill River Gallery in Ellicott City, which features the work of seven young female artists.

"I had been talking to some of the artists," said Cindy Rehm, curator of the show. "A lot of them were recent [college] graduates. I just started thinking about how some of them were between undergrad and graduate school, and a lot of them are starting new jobs."

Out of that grew the idea for a show that explored the relationships of the body to place, process and experience. Rehm, who teaches art at Towson University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, said she called on both former students and those whose work she was familiar with to collect the 30 pieces featured in the exhibit.

"I was really interested in showing work by young women," Rehm said. "I think that because [the artists] are young and using different types of materials that people are really interested in seeing their images."

Installation art

Artist Meena Satnarain stopped by the gallery Monday to spray her exhibit with water. Satnarain, 22, has done a piece of time-based installation art (the artist installs it) titled "Feeding Cultures," which uses jars with blue dye, bleach and white cotton strips to display her views on relationships.

"Over time, the dye will travel from its location, as will the bleach," Satnarain said. "It's mainly about relationships, giving a little and taking a little, and how they interact."

Satnarain, whose family is from Guyana, said the piece also deals with colonization.

"It's about the traveling upwards and intermingling," she said. "I had been dealing a lot with textiles, and this piece evolved from another piece I had been working on."

'Alien Made in U.S.'

Reiko Matsou also drew on her family's experience to create her piece, "Alien Made in U.S." The piece uses diapers filled with dirt and eggplant seeds, paper figures made using a copy of "Lord of the Flies," and vials filled with more seeds and stories printed on sheets of plastic.

"I was thinking about when we lived in Texas," Matsou said. "Japanese eggplants are smaller and thinner than eggplants here, and my parents wanted to know why. They planted a Japanese seed and an American seed, but neither grew so the experiment failed."

Matsou, who stamped each diaper with the words "U.S." and "Alien," said the theme of the show is one to which she can relate.

"It's definitely something I'm going through right now," said Matsou, who along with Satnarain recently graduated from UMBC.

'Between identities'

"Mine especially is the concept of being between identities and cultures. I think it's something many Americans are dealing with now."

Rehm, the curator, said the public has responded well to the show, which will continue through Sunday. She said she hopes "Between" will help give the artists a boost.

"Sometimes, when you are out of school, it's hard to have contact with other artists and to feel like you are still an artist," Rehm said.

Mill River Gallery is at the Oella Mill, 340 Oella Ave. It is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Information: 410-465-6434.

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