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Line Weight/Line Speed: Capturing Magic in the Mundane

March 16, 2012
By

Neil Freeman, "New York"

If you happen to be in the vicinity of the case[werks] gallery any time soon, Line Weight/Line Speed, an exhibition curated by local polymath Marian April Glebes, is well worth your time. The exhibition features three artists who “preserve the spontaneous and control the uncontrollable via drawings, reconfigurable geometries, and digital prints.”  What they do, Glebes writes, is “a step toward capturing magic in the mundane.”

Baltimore-based artist Jan Razauskas’ mixed media pieces are the most eye-catching of the bunch. Razauskas creates her pieces on a completely non-absorbent plasticized surface. As a result, her pigments–many of them of a metallic sheen–move in unpredictable ways when applied to the paper. Often the pigments pool towards one another like iron filings, creating rich fields of color, sometimes smooth, sometimes pitted, sometimes edging out to a clear wash. The images that result have a compelling, near geologic depth. As a final step, Razauskas  interprets the “accidental” images in clean, geometric lines with graphite, drawing from the shapes that have formed as well as building upon them. Her pieces are evocative, and ever-changing. As sunlight filters through the gallery’s many windows, the pieces glow, their angles subtly changing throughout the day. They are, Razauskas says, an attempt to express the ephemeral. They are also just plain gorgeous.

Artist and musician Conrad Freiburg has a fascination with structure and geometry, particularly, it seems, with the undecagon (an 11-sided polygon). He has an album called the Undecagon, and the shape appears repeatedly in his visual art. His pieces–like 2006’s “The Ball Dropper” and “The Blind Light, The Pyre of Night”–are often interactive, but his work here is solely for viewing. It is minimalist, and compelling. A set of small wooden undecagons sit in stacks on the floor, like ornate bedposts or children’s toys. One has an irrestible urge to reach out and restack them in different configurations. On the wall, the shape repeats, though in this case, swirling ink patterns adorn them.

Neil Freeman’s work here exhibits the cleanest lines, though he composes the pieces in his All the Streets, Centered series from chaotic urban maps. (Freeman is an urban planner.) The streets of the cities depicted in the series–Baltimore, New York City, Los Angeles, etc.–are horizontally and vertically centered, literally. The result is a dense black star with rays reaching out in the cardinal directions, tendrils of outlying curvy roads wiggling between like hairs. Each city’s rendition is, however, unique. Urban, dense New York City is a uniform, fat diamond. Sprawling, less populated Chicago, on the other hand, is thin and graceful, like the star on a Christmas tree.

Line Weight/Line Speed will be on display through March 29. For more information, visit casewerks.com.

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