Full Circle, An Artscape Exhibition

At Goucher College's Rosenberg Gallery through July 31
Baltimore City Paper  |  Kate Noonan  |  07/23/2008

n Goucher College’s contribution to Artscape, curator Laura Amussen attempts to deliver an exploration of the use of the circle in a not so creatively named exhibition, Full Circle. But before you roll your eyes at the title, give it a chance. You’ll find the exhibition really does resolve itself in the end.

Amussen offers a series of sphere-covered abstract paintings by local artists Carol Miller Frost, Tim Horjus, and Kate MacKinnon. The sheer visual monotony of circle after circle ultimately and unfortunately downplays their individual aesthetic value. Here, the exhibition’s theme is far too apparent and certainly does a disservice to these otherwise strong painters.

Refreshingly, relief is found in a number of the exhibition’s later artworks, starting with Hadieh Marjan Shafie’s remarkably constructed mixed-media pieces. Indeed, Shafie marks the turning point where Full Circle’s exploration of different mediums actually begins. At first glance, it’s easy to mistake Shafie’s meditative and strangely organic pieces for paintings, but given a closer look, they reveal their structural complexity. Each contains an amalgam of scrolled papers varying in size, tightness, shade, and thickness. Occasionally, Shafie adds hints of bright color to the mix by tying red thread across the bundles of paper.

Youngmi Song Organ continues her work with nontraditional materials with “Bubbles,” a large-scale yet quietly intimate piece made from human hair on paper. Mapping out softly perceptible circles with hair against a skin-colored paper, Organ creates a sense of communion with the viewer, connecting us to the undeniably human elements of the inanimate and abstracted work.

John Ruppert, whose larger scale works can also be seen in Grimaldis @ 405, provides two works on paper as well as two chain-link sculptures whose metallic elements provide a striking contrast to the soulful softness of Organ’s “Bubbles.” Here you begin to see the transformation a simple shape can undergo when subjected to different mediums. “Crucible,” an inverted conical chain-link sculpture creates an almost percussive sense of movement as the work interacts with the light and the viewer, casting changing shadows on the white plank below.

Renée Rendine rounds out the bunch, with an amorphous, netlike sculpture of fishing line, and reintroduces color with a shocking electric blue. Incorporating hues seen earlier in the exhibition with a unique sculptural approach, Rendine’s works give a sense of finality to the show.