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Larger Than Life

BmoreArt’s Picks presents the best weekly art openings, events, and performances happening in Baltimore and surrounding areas. For a more comprehensive perspective, check the BmoreArt Calendar page, which includes ongoing exhibits and performances, and is updated on a daily basis.

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We’ll send you our top stories of the week, selected event listings, and our favorite calls for entry — right to your inbox every Tuesday.

<><><><><><><><>Stephen Towns: Rumination and A Reckoning | Exhibition Opening
Wednesday, March 7th – September 2nd

Baltimore Museum of Art
10 Art Museum Drive : 21218

The centerpiece of the exhibition is the artist’s monumental installation, Birth of a Nation (2014), which represents the abstracted figure of a black woman nursing a white infant against the backdrop of the first official flag of the United States. Suspended above a mound of earth, the quilt is surrounded by Towns’ ongoing Story Quilts series (2016–), a cycle of seven works in luminous fabrics and glass beads that narrate the life of Nat Turner and his 1831 rebellion. A pair of quilted oval portraits of Nat and Cherry Turner adds a significant dimension to this narrative, considering the role of a marriage in the course of historic events. Towns’ quilting practice delves into the perspectives of women and people of color and draws on that knowledge to interrogate the institution of slavery in American history.

Trained as a painter with a BFA in studio art from the University of South Carolina, Towns (American, b. 1980) has also developed a rigorous, self-taught quilting practice. Towns draws visual inspiration from medieval altarpieces, Impressionist paintings, and Dutch wax print fabrics, in addition to African American story quilts. His work has been exhibited at Arlington Arts Center, Galerie Myrtis, Gallery CA, and Goucher College’s Rosenberg Gallery, among other venues. Towns won the inaugural travel prize of the Municipal Art Society of Baltimore City in 2016, traveling to Ghana and Senegal to visit historical sites that mark the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and was the recipient of a Ruby Artist Project Grant in 2015.

This exhibition is curated by Cecilia Wichmann, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art.

<><><><><><><><>Mark Bradford and Stephen Towns
Wednesday, March 7th : 7-8:30pm

Baltimore Museum of Art
10 Art Museum Drive : 21218

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) today announced it is hosting a conversation between internationally acclaimed artist Mark Bradford and Baltimore-based artist Stephen Towns on Wednesday, March 7, in conjunction with the opening of Stephen Towns: Rumination and a Reckoning. The event will focus on how each artist explores the boundaries of painting through a variety of materials and forms, as well as mines U.S. history in their recent work. The conversation will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the BMA’s newly renovated Meyerhoff Auditorium. Additionally, the BMA will keep the Stephen Towns exhibition open until 7 p.m. that day so attendees will have an opportunity to see it prior to the conversation. Admission to the museum and the event are free. Seating is limited and provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

“I am thrilled to bring these two very talented artists together for what will no doubt be a lively conversation,” said BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director Christopher Bedford, who will also moderate the conversation. “Mark’s innovative, multi-layered abstract paintings with paper, seen most recently in Pickett’s Charge at the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and Stephen’s extraordinary textile works on view at the BMA are evidence that these new modes of contemporary painting can produce artworks as compelling as those created using more traditional methods.”

Stephen Towns: Rumination and a Reckoning is the first museum exhibition dedicated to the stunning textile work of artist Stephen Towns. On view March 7through September 2, 2018, the exhibition features 10 luminous quilts constructed in fabric, glass beads, metallic threads, and translucent tulle that delve into the perspectives of women, people of color, and the institution of slavery in American history. The centerpiece is the artist’s monumental installation, Birth of a Nation (2014), which represents the abstracted figure of a black woman nursing a white infant against the backdrop of the first official flag of the United States. The quilt is suspended above a mound of earth and surrounded by Towns’ ongoing Story Quilts series (2016–), a cycle of seven works that narrate the life of Nat Turner and his 1831 rebellion. The exhibition also includes a pair of quilted oval portraits of Nat and Cherry Turner.

<><><><><><><><>Constructing Cultural Contexts: Museum Displays and Power Dynamics
Thursday, March 8th : 7-8:30pm

The Walters Art Museum
600 North Charles Street : 21201

Free, registration requested

Where does cultural appropriation appear in museum displays? What can we as cultural workers and visitors do to change these paradigms of representation? Join cultural strategist and educator Keonna Hendrick for a conversation on cultural appropriation and strategies for combating it in institutional settings.

Constructing Cultural Contexts is a new lecture series that examines how museums can use their collections to address contemporary issues of race, gender, and religion. Each talk is led by an expert in the field, sometimes in conversation with a Walters curator, and highlights different themes.

Museum Displays and Power Dynamics is held in honor of the Walters’ founding Director of Education, Ted Low.

<><><><><><><><>Rose Anderson | Artist’s Reception + Talk
Thursday, March 8th : 6-8pm

Rosenberg Gallery
Goucher College : 21204

Rose Anderson: Relics of Industry, Nature as Sanctuary will be presented at Goucher College’s Rosenberg Gallery in the Kraushaar Auditorium from February 28 through April 9, 2018.  

Rose Anderson gathers photographic specimens while searching wild, untouched places for whispers of humanity in nature. She combines moments captured in different times and places to illustrate a story outside the time, space, and social constructs that enclose the human narrative. Her work imagines a world in which all of today’s conversations have gone silent, and human roles are usurped by non-human characters. Relics of human society and industry as we understand them–as separate from and dominating over nature–are incidental, relegated to the background. Suspending our awareness of the constructs we build to inoculate ourselves against the inevitability of time and the forces of nature, we are left to contemplate the human condition in a larger context. We can gaze into nature without fear, see ourselves in it, and find sanctuary in something larger than ourselves.

Rose Anderson was born in the late 1970s to a poor and extremely religious family in southern Maryland. Seeking to resolve her internal struggle with the indoctrination and isolation that defined her early life, Anderson secretly studied nature, history, and the arts. As a young adult in the early 2000s, she broke away from her childhood religious community to enter mainstream society and build a career in the software industry. She began experimenting with digital photography and Photoshop to create a visual representation of her inner world and in 2014 began exhibiting as a professional artist in universities, galleries, and science and natural history organizations. Anderson now lives just outside Baltimore, using her property adjacent Gunpowder Falls State Park as a center for building community around nature and the arts.

This exhibit, which is free, open to the public, and accessible to all, can be viewed Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. An artist’s reception and talk will be held Thursday, March 8, 2018 from 6 to 8 p.m. Visit or call (410) 337-6477 for more information. Please note Goucher’s campus will be closed for Spring Break March 17-25, 2018.

<><><><><><><><>Ernest Kromah – Legacy of an Icon | Reception
Thursday, March 8th : 6-8pm

Motor House
120 West North Avenue : 21201

Ernest Kromah, will open his latest exhibition, The Legacy of an Icon at the Motor House Gallery on March 8, 2018. The Legacy of an Icon is an exhibition that gives the public an opportunity to interact with an exceptional artist’s body of work and his life.

Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1939, Ernest Kromah has dedicated the majority of his life to nurturing the arts through his paintings, drawings, and prints, and cultivating a foothold in the food industry in Baltimore. The Motor House will present photographs, paintings and mixed-media works of Ernest Kromah providing the public with snapshots of Ernest Kromah’s career and the Kromah Gallery he and his wife, Gail Kromah founded at 1203 Druid Hill Avenue in Baltimore City. This was one of the earliest community arts hubs and gallery. It supported and celebrated the work of many young artists throughout the city of Baltimore.

Alongside his vibrant paintings, The Motor House will also include documentary imagery highlighting Ernest Kromah’s impact on the arts in Baltimore from 1978 to present. The Motor House is very pleased to recognize and support the work of Ernest and Gail Kromah as community arts activists.

<><><><><><><><>Zoë Charlton // Lydia Pettit | Opening Receptions
Friday, March 9th : 6-9pm

School 33
1427 Light Street : 21230

Image credit: Zoe Charlton- Homebodies Series

The Domestic (Main Gallery)

A solo exhibition of works by Zoë Charlton

Black domesticity takes on layered meanings in The Domestic, Zoë Charlton’s first solo exhibition in Baltimore. Charlton presents a series of works on paper inspired by reoccurring imagery in her drawings: suburban houses, African masks, and southern landscapes. Domesticity, or a deep familiarity with and attachment to where one lives, holds different social value depending on the body’s relationship with a place and how one belongs in it. From the privacy of a household to the publicness of national history, the domestic is interior, gendered, comforting, invisible, controlled, and integral to keeping the status quo.

Zoë Charlton creates drawings that explore the ironies of contemporary social and cultural stereotypes. She received her MFA degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Her work has been included in national and international exhibitions including the Harvey B. Gantt Center, Charlotte, NC, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; Studio Museum of Harlem NYC, NY; Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, TX; the Zacheta National Gallery of Art,  Warsaw, Poland and Haas & Fischer Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland. She is a recipient of a Pollock-Krasner grant and Rubys grant. Charlton resides in Baltimore, MD, and is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Art at American University in Washington, DC.

BIG SEXY (Members Gallery & Project Space)

An exhibition of paintings by Lydia Pettit

BIG SEXY, an exhibition of paintings by Lydia Pettit, is an exploration of what it means to live after experiencing abuse, and how to come to terms with and respect the body you’re given. After years of unhealthy and traumatic relationships resulting from warped self-image, the artist uses painting to construct worlds that describe the emotional shifts and waves that one goes through in recovery. Pettit’s compositions shift between confrontational and minimized figures, each representing the duality of the strength survivors of abuse are “supposed” to feel, and the fear and doubt they carry with them. Color mirrors emotion, bold brushstrokes emphasize thick flesh, and depictions of tender moments in the bathtub are followed by those representing the melodrama of depression and panic. In BIG SEXY, Pettit seeks to reclaim authority over her image – she’s sharing her own fat, white, unconventional body, and her life inside of it.

Lydia Pettit is an artist and curator from Towson, Maryland. After graduating in 2014 from the Maryland Institute College of Art, she opened Platform Arts Center, a studio building, and Platform Gallery, a contemporary art gallery that focused on showing local and regional artists. She ran the gallery with her partner until 2017, and is currently focusing on her painting practice. Pettit is a two time recipient of the Elizabeth Greensheilds grant for representational art. She currently lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland.

<><><><><><><><>Visual Basic | Opening Reception
Saturday, March 10th : 7-10pm

Current Space
421 North Howard Street : 21201

Current Space is proud to present Visual Basic, featuring the work of Chris Cox, Kara Gut and Harrison Moenich. Please join us for the opening reception.

Opening Reception : March 10, 7 – 10pm
Exhibition Duration : March 10 – April 1
Gallery Hours : Sat & Sun, 12 – 4pm

Visual Basic features the works of Chris Cox, Kara Gut and Harrison Moenich. Photographic and sculptural installations address the loss of the physical and the search for meaning during our societal migration to mediated and virtual space. The title operates as a misnomer for both the works in this exhibition, and on larger scale, the current state of trustworthiness of information in our political climate. The works are birthed from a similar point of origin; relationships to spaces, how to function within them, and what repercussions come with doing so.

<><><><><><><><>Adam Davies: Reroutings | Opening Reception + Performance
Saturday, March 10th : 6-8pm

Creative Alliance
3134 Eastern Avenue : 21221

Opening Reception at 6PM
Alex Zhang Hungtai [from Dirty Beaches, Last Lizard] Performance at 7:30pm

Alex Zhang Hungtai, known for his lo-fi electro crooning project Dirty Beaches, juxtaposes electronic music with the large-format photographs of artist Adam Davies.

Adam Davies’ large-format photographs of otherwise anonymous, frequently under-designed, public structures explore the ways in which these constructions have been transformed into accidental civic forums for some of the most pressing concerns of modern-day society. A second-year resident artist at Creative Alliance, Davies has produced a series of architectural and landscape photographs that are monumental in sized at 5 x 6 feet each. Taking the opportunity to experiment with both the size and installation, he will dramatically transform Creative Alliance’s main gallery into a dark, intimate setting for viewing his works.

In the early 1980s, the neoliberal policies introduced by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher included the privatization of public services with consequences that resonate today. One effect was the marginalization and neglect of public infrastructure (bridges, tunnels, highways, waterways).

Davies describes his images as psychological portraits of these sites seen through the gaze of his 8 × 10 inch large-format camera. With this film camera, the process of composing and taking a single photograph may last between several hours and several days. His choice of equipment is in deliberate opposition to the digitization of photography and the culture of Instagram. The photographs are not intended to be quickly assimilated, but to invite close readings that subvert initial expectations.

Adam Davies received an EdM from Harvard University and an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. He is a recipient of grants from the Vira Heinz Endowment, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and has held residencies at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and Yaddo in Saratoga Springs. His photographs are held in a number of private and public collections including the DC Art Bank, Georgetown University, Fidelity Corporate Collection, and the Washingtonia Collection. He was honored as Outstanding Emerging Artist at the DC 30th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards and is the recipient of the 2015 Clarence John Laughlin Award.

Artist Talk Sat, Mar 17 | 5pm | FREE

Recalibrating: Performance by resident artist Adam Rosenblatt Sat, Mar 24, 7pm – 9pm| FREE
Sound performance responding to the photographs of Adam Davies

Lecture on Contemporary Photography by David Gariff, Senior Lecturer at the National Gallery of Art Sun, Apr 8 | 1pm | FREE, RSVP Required

<><><><><><><><>A Big Toe Touches A Green Tomato | Closing Reception 
Sunday, March 11th : 12-4pm

235 Park Avenue : 21201

Resort is pleased to present its inaugural exhibition, “A Big Toe Touches A Green Tomato,” featuring the work of Roxana Azar and Ginevra Shay.

These artists use photography, sculpture and ceramics to depict poetic moments of observation and adaptation. Both artists use dystopian backdrops of collapsing dominant structures to point out not just the flaws of these systems, but to highlight alternative, minor modes of persistence.

It is worth noting that Azar and Shay are close friends. The subjects of their work vary greatly, ranging from modernist architecture and speculative science-fiction, to geology and cinematic slapstick. However, when their work is viewed together, the body becomes their shared point of dialogue. In their work, bodies are acknowledged as permeable and vulnerable, while striving to retain autonomy. The body and its environment are forever acting on one another; Azar and Shay re-envision these interactions, folding together bodies, plants, minerals, and space to discover alternative trajectories.

Read our review by Joseph Shaikewitz here.

Resort is an artist run gallery in Baltimore, MD.  Founded in 2018, Resort is a new iteration of a curatorial collaboration between Seth Adelsberger and Alex Ebstein, who previously co-founded and ran Nudashank (2009 – 2013).  Resort is a project dedicated to exhibiting contemporary art, promoting collaboration and inclusivity.

<><><><><><><><>Logan Visionary Conference 2018 
Sunday, March 11th : 12-4pm

American Visionary Art Museum
800 Key Highway : 21230

In complement to AVAM’s latest mega-exhibition, The Great Mystery Show, this year’s FREE Logan Visionary Conference explores celestial mysteries, “Two Views of Heaven: Spiritual/Theological and Astrophysical/Scientific”

  • Father James Kurzynski (Keynote Speaker): Author with the Vatican Observatory Foundation, a priest of the Diocese of La Crosse, WI, and a member of both the Chippewa Valley Astronomical Society and the La Crosse Area Astronomical Society
  • Alex Chionetti: Author, journalist, filmmaker, and an explorer who personally discovered two lost ancient Inca cities, Alex Chionetti is a respected expert on Ufology as well the Marian Apparition phenomena. Chionetti was one of the main researchers and developers of the hit television series, “Ancient Aliens.”
  • Nancy du Tertre: Author, securities attorney turned psychic, and student of famed remote viewer Ingo Swann
  • James C. Mather (by video): Nobel Laureate in Physics for his measurements of cosmic microwave background radiation, which helped confirm the Big Bang theory
  • Michelle Thaller: PhD in astrophysics, Education and Public Outreach Program Manager with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

These innovative thinkers are committed to tight, short, lively, plain speech expression of the highlights of their life’s research and work in the effort to deepen our communal reflection on the enduring mysteries of the heavens and our relationship to them.

The Logan Visionary Conference is made possible as a free public event through the kindness and generosity of The Reva and David Logan Foundation.

Image: “Highways” by Ingo Swann. On loan from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC.

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