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Gallery Roundup: Hoesy Corona at Enoch Pratt, False Relations at C. Grimaldis Gallery, and Joyce J. Scott at Goya Contemporary

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BmoreArt’s Picks: June 11-17

This June, there are a number of excellent Baltimore art exhibits that feature painting, glass, installation, and collaboration. Three standouts are Crossroads by the Enoch Pratt Library’s artist-in-residence Hoesy Corona, False Relations, a two-person show from Markus Baldegger and Heejo Kim  at C. Grimaldis Gallery, and Goya Contemporary’s Joyce J. Scott’s Bearing Witness and NOW, the latter featuring collaborations in glass with Tim Tate.

Image courtesy of the artist

Reinvigorating a Public Space: Hoesy Corona’s Crossroads at Enoch Pratt

It’s a bewildering experience to enter a familiar place and find it completely transformed. You recognize certain features, but what once was identifiable is now somehow different, somehow altered.

With his new mixed-media installation Crossroads, Baltimore artist Hoesy Corona (b.1986, Yuriria, GTO, Mexico) has imaginatively reinvigorated the second-floor hallway of Enoch Pratt’s Central Library.

As its title suggests, Crossroads represents a conjunction of two bodies of work: several examples of Corona’s Climate Ponchos series are paired here with an assortment of his site-specific wall collages. Both projects were created while completing Pratt’s 2024 Artist in Residence Program. Corona is the second ever Artist In Residence (AIR) at Enoch Pratt. (The application for the next AIR is due at the end of this month.)

In his mural-sized collages, which were printed in vinyl and collaged directly onto the library walls, Corona introduces us to several scenes of anonymous travelers—some alone, others in small groups carrying luggage—making their way to parts unknown, up and down the hall.

Though appearing to wander, as still images they remain frozen in two-dimensional limbo. While walking down the stately corridor, we catch glimpses of different vignettes in media res, appearing between door frames, glowing through the windows overlooking the library’s courtyard, and filling the hallway with various brightly colored scenes to discover. Who are these travelers? It’s hard to say. Though they draw us in, they remain unidentified, their destinations untold.

Meanwhile, Corona’s ponchos are presented in groups of three within several of the library’s historic vitrines found along the walls. Some of the nameless wanderers in the wall scenes wear brightly decorated ponchos, the motifs of which are found on the actual garments in the cases. It’s as if the images across the walls are reenactments or hypothetical scenarios in which the displayed garments might be used.

While the Climate Ponchos are tightly formalized, evenly distributed within the frames of the glass cases, the unnamed figures on the wall run wild. Unlike the garments, they are not bound by the accouterments of the library, but rather interact with them. They are not static like wallpaper, an abstract pattern meant to be overlooked, but rather actively draw your attention to corners of the library you might not otherwise expect to find art.

A lone cactus grows near a water fountain, for example, where a group of nameless wanderers is gathered, reminding us of the need to stay hydrated when roaming the desert. Another band of figures silently walks past a fire alarm, a readymade symbol of emergency that blurs the line between our world and that of the travelers depicted in the murals of Crossroads.

A closing event with the artist will be held on Thursday, June 27th, at 5:00pm on the second floor of the Central Library in the Poe Room.

*****

Markus Baldegger, “Triptych I”, 2012, oil, tempera, and ink on canvas, 55 x 141 inches, image courtesy of C. Grimaldis Gallery
Markus Baldegger, "Untitled," 2014, oil, tempera, and ink on canvas, 39 x 28in, image courtesy of C. Grimaldis Gallery

Two Painters in Dialogue: Markus Baldegger and Heejo Kim in False Relations at C. Grimaldis Gallery

A two-person show naturally creates a dialogue. When two painters share the same walls, it’s impossible for viewers not to compare them, to try and reconcile why these two artists appear in tandem. Ideally, they should complement one another, expanding or elevating the individual bodies of work by changing their context, offering a balanced visual and conceptual discourse. We, the viewers, are merely eavesdroppers, hoping to catch just a little more of a juicy conversation.

These criteria are fully satisfied in False Relations, a new exhibition at C. Grimaldis Gallery in downtown Baltimore. Markus Baldegger (b. 1947, Altstätten, Switzerland), a seasoned abstract painter with an extensive career in Europe; and Heejo Kim (b. 1995, Seoul, South Korea), who received her MFA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art last year, could not be more different in background, mode of painting, sense of style, and technical approach. Yet, this particular coupling is less odd than at first might appear.

The title of the show is something of a conundrum, but may provide a key to understanding how these two painters gel. What exactly is a false relation? If two things relate, what’s false about that? Doesn’t a meaningful relationship imply fidelity?

Besides both working at a large scale, Baldegger and Kim are assured painters, making the pairing a logical choice. Baldegger’s giant, gestural abstractions, at times reminiscent of Twombly, are loud, pulsating pictures with a vibrant energy. His large-scale “Saturnia III” (2010), for instance, is a double-canvas composed of energetic white forms rendered laterally across a bright red ground.

Heejo Kim, “Uncertainty”, 2023, oil on canvas, 62.5 x 84.5 inches, image courtesy of C. Grimaldis Gallery
Heejo Kim,"I thought we were similar”, 2022, image courtesy of C. Grimaldis Gallery

By contrast, Kim’s Léger-like compositions are populated with forlorn figures in tight spaces, rendered in a palette like that of later Hockney, and are much quieter. In “I thought we were similar” (2022), for example, two colorful caricatures, seemingly estranged, move away from each other within a confined room. Though at first this combination of painters may appear discordant, give it a chance and you will no doubt discern an absorbing rapport.

False Relations will be on view at C. Grimaldis Gallery through Saturday, June 22nd, when there will also be a closing event that coincides with a performance featuring work by Mina Cheon.

*****

Bearing Witness: A History of Prints by Joyce J. Scott a Goya Contemporary

Joyce J. Scott’s Bearing Witness and NOW (with Tim Tate) at Goya Contemporary

Joyce J. Scott (b. 1948, Baltimore, USA) is an artist who easily impresses on the level of quality, but also confounds on the level of quantity. The sheer volume of her creative output is astonishing, maybe even a little frustrating. Everytime I turn around, there is more of Joyce’s work to behold. It’s impossible to ever grasp her oeuvre in full as it’s just so expansive!

Not one, but two new shows of her work are now on view at Goya Contemporary in Hamden, Joyce’s primary gallery for over 25 years. Bearing Witness: A History of Prints by Joyce J. Scott boasts 30 of her works on paper made over the last fifty years and fills the main gallery, while NOW: Collaborations by Joyce J. Scott and Tim Tate, a show devoted to a few pieces produced in glass with a fellow artist and co-founder of the Washington Glass Studio, is found in Goya’s smaller back space. In one large, collaborative wall work, the artists chronicle the American news cycle—from 2020 onward—in individual glass squares sometimes embedded with beads, metal, wood, and other found objects, poetically depicting contemporary events, and emphasizing ongoing social justice issues.

Bearing Witness: A History of Prints by Joyce J. Scott a Goya Contemporary
NOW: Collaborations by Joyce J. Scott and Tim Tate at Goya Contemporary, image courtesy of the gallery

Perhaps best known for her beaded sculptures, elaborate jewelry, installations, performances, and quilts—on top of all that!—Joyce is also a prolific printmaker. Bearing Witness at Goya is proof of that. Her graphical sensibilities are as strong as her tactile proclivities. Both her prints and collaborations on view at Goya right now display the same aesthetic boldness, political acuity, and impish wit that animate any medium she touches.

In “Candidate Obama” (2008), for example, a screen print monotype of the pre-presidential icon, she blends religious imagery with a political message. Similarly, in her Hip Hop Saints and Fallen Angels series, Joyce pays tribute to the superstars of rap music, from the Notorious BIG and Foxy Brown to Heavy D and ODB. As with her collaborative work, Joyce’s prints currently on view at Goya showcase her facility with media and wide range of interests.

Concurrent with this double feature at Goya is Joyce J. Scott: Walk a Mile in My Dreams, a 50-year retrospective of her legacy currently on view at the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA), where I work as a guard. I only mention this because I want to provide an anecdote that will hopefully illustrate Joyce’s large personality, a major part of the “Joyce Scott Experience.”

Joyce J. Scott, photo by the author
Drawing by Joyce J. Scott, photo by the author

A few months ago, just as her show at the BMA was opening, Joyce handed out drawings to a few lucky guards (myself included) while making her way through the galleries. In my almost eight years at the BMA, I never before had the unique pleasure of an exhibiting artist offering me an original work of art. And I don’t expect that sort of thing to happen again. That’s the kind of person Joyce is though: not just a great artist, not just a living legend, but a generous, full-hearted human being… Thank you, Joyce! 

All three of these exhibitions—Bearing Witness and NOW at Goya, and Walk a Mile in My Dreams at the BMA—are on view through July 14th. There will also be several events related to her retrospective held at the BMA, including “Art After Hours: Joyce J. Scott” on Friday, June 14th, from 8:00–11:00 pm. 

NOW: Collaborations by Joyce J. Scott and Tim Tate at Goya Contemporary (detail)
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