BmoreArt Best of 2014: Top Ten by Colin Alexander

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This season, BmoreArt will feature Top Ten Lists of 2014 from a number of our contributors in a range of art, culture, media, design, events, pop culture, and anything else they care to include.

Colin Alexander is an artist, writer, musician, and curator living and working in Baltimore, MD. Raised in Ohio and New Jersey, he moved to Baltimore in 2010 to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art, where he received a BFA in Painting in 2014. He has regionally toured the United States as well as Germany and Canada under the moniker Flashlight O, and has exhibited his work locally and regionally. He is a member of the Open Space arts collective as well as of the bb project space, and is founding editor of Post-Office Arts Journal.

2014 TOP 10, by Colin Alexander (In no specific order)

#1 (Tamago)

1. (Maybe Screening) (Tamago) @ Rock/Devil

A multifaceted exhibit, Rock/Devil’s presentation of (Maybe Screening) (Tamago) sums up several aspects of the cool year in Baltimore arts for me. This group painting show paired the work of Clayton Schiff, Steven Riddle, and Hanna Hur with an ongoing cooking of Japanese omelette rolls (Tamagoyaki), all within Rock/Devil’s funny bookstore/gallery hybrid. “Occasional screenings” occurred, too. Hur’s ghostly soft paintings depict silhouettes of figures and faces with delicate assuredness while Schiff’s paintings evoke a Philip Guston style in their surreality and hand. Riddle’s pieces seem to depict a working montage of the studio process, a blur of hands, brushes, scissors, and clocks. Each painter works in a somewhat monochrome palette.

Curator Max Guy is at his best here, cultivating a casual, friendly atmosphere that is made awfully high stakes with a press release that compares a crisis of “stratification” within the styles of each painter’s method of production first to geology and then to the helical structure of the rolled Tamago omelette.

Maybe I am just in the mood for metaphors because I am thinking about that exercise, but Baltimore’s arts felt like a growing aquatic cell colony this year. While accumulating and putting on mass, the old cells still continue to replace themselves. They become codependent but renewed. Institutions like The Contemporary re-emerged with the excellent Co-Hosts series and the BMA continues to engage with the community in fresh ways. 2014 was good: DIY mainstays changed hands, new addresses get added to my mental list, Alloverstreet organizes the Copycat. My list shows an excitement for continued emphasis on the strange pairings that seem uniquely viable in Baltimore’s arts landscape. Here’s to a similar energy in the new year.

#2 rowhouse project

2. Justin Lieberman @ Rowhouse Project

#3chess club (credit the crown)

3. Chess Club @ The Crown (ongoing, Thursdays, 5-7 pm)

#4 sophiajacob (credit sophiajacob)

4. Neil Reinalda @ Sophiajacob

#5 odwalla 88 (credit jane chardiet)

5. Odwalla 88 @ various shows around Baltimore

#6 iji credit

6. Iji with Butch Dawson, Chester Endersby Gwazda, Marvelous Good Fortune @ Bahamas

#7 michael jones mckean

7. Michael Jones McKean lecture @ MICA Falvey Hall, 2/16/14

#8 tracey trance

8. Tracey Trance with Sunatirene+Si Fields, Father Finger, J.R.H.N.B.R., Pinky Rose, Chicklette @ the Floristree

#9 paris texas

9. Paris, Texas @ Charles Theater Revival Series

#10 base period at springsteen

10. Base Period (Alan Resnick & Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez) @ Springsteen Gallery


Honorable Mentions/I Wish I had Seen–

The Chef, The Thief, The Wife, The Lover, adaptation by Nick Vyssotsky @ Canteen, Ehse on Ice.

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