Saturday, March 08, 2008

Wanna go to a DC opening tonight?

We're being assured that the artist opening tonight at the Randall Scott Gallery in DC is the real Cara Ober.

Cara Ober

"Painting as a mode of thinking" is the way Holland Cotter described the landscapes of Poussin in a recent New York Times review. He likened Poussin's artistic practice to a certain kind of poetry in which "antique references, modern speculation and sensual delirium" check and fuel the import of each component. A viewer might do well to keep this conflicted discursiveness in mind when looking at the paintings of Cara Ober. Her art can look deceptively inviting, almost reassuring in its Hallmark Hall greeting card sort of way, as if the meaning of her jumbled references to old-time dictionary illustrations, sentimental silhouettes, wallpaper patterns and middle class sense and sensibility were simply meant to give us pleasure, the concatenation of images and words an apotheosis of middlebrow taste somewhat like the effusions of Jeff Koons, another notable graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. But you would be mistaken to think so.

Perhaps like Ober you too are a product of suburban America, perhaps like her you too feel conflicted about the comfortable sources of your pleasures, how often they are rooted in a familiar environment, the taste of chocolate cake, a submissive pet, a doting mother, a non-threatening mate. Perhaps her older work made it easy for you to feel some such generational kinship but the new paintings are darker in color, more subtly threatening in their selection of quotes and definitions, more aggressive in their critique. They will remind you that you are not like Cara Ober.

-- excerpt from "New Paintings and a Wall by Cara Ober" -an essay by Dr. Michael Salcman
The opening is tonight, 7-9PM.

The Five Senses

Over the many years that I have been curating, creating, discussing and writing about art, I never cease to be surprised at the constantly changing and always surprising quality that is human creativity.

When the Target Gallery asked me to curate "The Five Senses," I must admit that I was a little concerned about the sort of work that I would eventually review for selection. The harsh brainwashing of the post-modernist mafia is a hard thing to avoid, even if you sometimes try to rebel against it.

But leave it to the creativity and intelligence of the artists submitting entries to not only surprise me, but also to delight me and open my eyes to a whole new genre of creativity, new media, fresh ideas and enviable talent from all over the nation.

David Bausman, Ideas
David Bausman (Texas). Ideas, Sterlig Silver & Mixed Media, c.2005

All the jurying was done in the blind, and I never knew the artists' names until after the selections were made.

I was floored by the sheer diversity of interpretations of the theme, including a lot of three dimensional entries, which are usually represented by a small number, in a juried call for artists such as this one.

Not this show! There was a surprising number of 3D pieces in this call and a significant number in the selected pieces.

J. Lewis Takahashi (New Jersey). Senses - Taste - Watercolor c.2007

Not to say that the 2Ds were not represented; after all, J. Lewis Takahashi's gorgeous watercolors and Thomas Schlotterback's superb charcoal drawing make a very strong presence for the wall works.

Sun Kyoun Kim (Illinois). Triad II, Sterling Silver, c.2007

But as I write these words, I can't wait to see and get my hands on Sun Kyoung Kim's "Triad II" or "Restriction I." Or see or walk around Anjali Srinivasan's "(Re)Flexion" and Adam Bradley's "Cherubs," or wear and use Gary Schott's "Thought Stimulators."

This exhibition is a triumph of the human mind and talent over those who want to reduce the creation of art to just ideas or wall text about ideas, and it has been my honor and pleasure to have been a part of it.

See some of the selected artists here.

The exhibition is up now and through April 6, 2008, and the opening reception (free and open to the public) is Thursday, March 13, 6-8pm and I will give a gallery talk on that night at 7PM and present the awards.

See ya there!

Opportunity for photographers

The Baltimore Museum of Art has invited 19 photographers to respond to the exhibition "Looking through the Lens" with their own work.

The 19 were chosen by by artist Peter Bruun, Urbanite magazine creative director Alex Castro, and photographer/BMA Trustee Connie Imboden, the participating artists are: Beth Barbush, Jennifer Bishop, Laura Burns, Marshall Clarke, Cory Donovan, Peggy Fox, J.M. Giordano, Camille Gustus-Quijano, Regina DeLuise, Ellis Marsalis, Dan Meyers, Christopher Myers, Ken Royster, Jacqueline Schlossman, Sofia Silva, Lynn Silverman, Michelle Woodward, Erik Whipple, and Jack Wilgus.

Their images will be on view in the Looking Now Digital Gallery at the BMA from March 16–June 8, and also as part of a special feature in the April issue of Baltimore’s Urbanite magazine.

But on April 23 - June 8, the Digital Gallery expands with images by teens in the Youthlight after-school program. Founded in 2001 by photographer Marshall Clarke, Youthlight is committed to engaging young people in using photography as a means of self-expression.

And then other photographers can join Looking Now by visiting Looking through the Lens, creating your own digital images inspired by the exhibition, and uploading them to BMA beginning in mid-March. The best of the images submitted online will be on view at the BMA in the Looking Now Digital Gallery. April 23–June 8, 2008.

Submission inquiries may be directed to


One of the posts that I lost in the last two weeks was an announcement for the opening of "black and white and... all over," the group show of 19 Greater DC area black and white photographers curated by fellow artsblogger J.T Kirkland for H&F Fine Arts.

I'm hearing good things about this exhibition, and from the images on JT's site, I really like the way that the show was hung - it looks really good.

H&F Fine Arts

It's a shame that when Lou Jacobson left the Washington City Paper, no one there has picked up the slack in focusing reviews on photography shows, as there are several good photography shows going on the DC area this month.