Artscape is over a week away, but a couple local galleries have already geared up to celebrate Baltimore’s annual arts festival—the largest in the country—with their own exhibits.
The Artscape Gallery Network is a group of over 20 Baltimore galleries highlighting applicants for the Janet and Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize, a $25,000 award and fellowship for the winner, whose work, along with the finalists’, will be displayed at the Walters Art Museum. During Artscape weekend, July 18-20, the works of the semi-finalists for the Sondheim Prize will be on display at the Meyerhoof, Pinkard and Decker galleries of Maryland Institute College of Art.
Baltimore Threadquarters, a fiber arts supply shop, gallery and classroom at 518 S. Conkling St., will feature works by Rania Hassan, a mixed-media fiber artist who combines knitting and painting. In 2009, Hassan won a Craft Award of Excellence from the James Renwick Foundation, known for its support of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Recently, Hassan was commissioned to produce a piece for the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.
According to Hassan’s blog, goshdarnknit.blogspot.com, her work is about “community, home, and how our knitting connects us to others and to generations past.”
Also showing at Threadquarters is Mihaela Savu, who grew up in Communist Romania and became a doctor, fled to Israel during the reign of harsh dictator Ceausescu, became an interventional cardiologist in the U.S., and eventually studied sculpture at MICA.
In her artist’s statement at mahaelasavu.com, she notes that her “wide world perception” is the result of two opposing philosophies—her fatalistic Romanian view which includes a nostalgia for nature, and her experience escaping to Israel, in which “physical survival became a daily assignment.”
Threadquarters’ Artscape exhibit, “Generative Presence,” celebrates its opening on Saturday, July 12, 4-7 p.m. The exhibit runs through the end of August.
Baltimore Threadquarters is open Wednesday through Saturday, 12-6 p.m., and Sunday, 12-5 p.m. Visit baltimorethreadquarters.com for more information.
MAXgallery, tucked away in Butchers Hill at 124 N. Madeira St., is the other Southeast art gallery involved with the Artscape Gallery Network. In its second year in the collaboration, MAXgallery this year features the exhibit “Dissolution and Transformation” with 13 artists, seven of whom are Sondheim Prize applicants.
During a tour of MAXgallery, which is also visual artist Maxine Taylor’s home, the striking woodcuts of LaToya Hobbs are impossible to miss, as are Michelle Dickson’s untitled sculptures involving hands.
“Dissolution and Transformation” is curated by Pat Dennis Giroux, Jessica Damen and Maxine Taylor, all of whom have works on display as well.
“I’ve been working on this since February,” said Taylor, who reported a good turnout at the exhibit’s June 26 opening.
MAXgallery was invited to participate in the Artscape Gallery Network last year, after the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts visited the gallery during School 33’s Open Studio Art Tour.
Taylor said that the Artscape Gallery Network does a great service to the local artists who have applied for the Sondheim Prize but not made the finals or semi-finals.
“I think what they’re doing is a great thing,” she said, “opening up arts spaces for all these artists in Baltimore that have entered the Sondheim.
“Dissolution and Transformation” includes a closing reception on Thursday, July 31, 5-8 p.m. The exhibit is open on Thursdays, 6-9 p.m., and Saturdays, 11-6 p.m., through Aug. 2. Exhibiting artists will give gallery talks on Thursdays, 7-8 p.m.
For more information, visit maxinetaylorfinearts.com.
For more information on the Artscape Gallery Network, visit artscape.org and select “Artscape Gallery Network” from the drop-down menu under “Visual Arts.”
by Erik Zygmont