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Gomez exhibits its 15 years of success stories

Gomez Gallery is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year with a rare summer group show devoted to the artists whose reputations have blossomed under its imprimatur. The gallery now boasts some of the most recognizable and sought-after artists in the region.

Photographer Connie Imboden, for example, had only recently completed her master's degree at the University of Delaware in 1988 when gallery owner Walter Gomez spotted her work in the slide registry at Maryland Art Place, where regional artists keep their work on file. Gomez decided on the spot to give the unknown young artist her first solo exhibition in a commercial gallery.

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The rest, as they say, is history. Imboden's haunting psychological images of the nude female body in water quickly attracted attention and acclaim from museum curators, collectors and writers including renowned photography critic A.D. Coleman, who wrote the introductory essay for Imboden's first book of images, The Beauty of Darkness. That volume won a silver medal from a German publisher's association.

Imboden, whose photographs are included in the permanent collections of the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, is represented in the current show by one of her signature large black-and-white nudes. Photographed through a half-silvered mirror in her Ruxton studio, it is, like many of her works, both tender and terrifying.

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Another artist whose career has taken off after coming under Gomez's wing is Chilean-born Soledad Salame, whose lyrical abstract paintings, sculpture and prints reflect her deep concern for the global environment, particularly the unique ecology of the world's tropical rain forests. Salame is represented here by a richly textured painting of a waterfall executed during a visit to Mexico in 2002.

The show, on view through Aug. 30, also includes works by Joan Erbe, Phil Borges, Javier Marin, Victoria Montero, Christine Neill, Kent Williams, David Bryce, Dorothy Magallon, Fance Frank and Barbara Chase-Riboud, whose dramatic abstract sculptures are among the most challenging and beautiful works to be seen anywhere this summer.

The show also introduces gallery newcomers Bob Creamer, whose delicate flower images exploit the capabilities of the digital scanner to stunning effect, kinetic sculptor Frank Streich and painter Deborah Brown, whose sympathetic but slightly skewed portrait of dogs impounded in an animal shelter are utterly faithful to their subject.

The gallery is at 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 100. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 410-662-9510.


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