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Masterpieces emerge in 44th annual Laurel Art Guild exhibition

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Photo by Wanda Jackson. From left, Sam Dixon’s “Summer Planter” and David Drown’s “Mt. View Farm.”

Photo by Wanda Jackson. From left, Sam Dixon’s “Summer Planter” and David Drown’s “Mt. View Farm.”

Published on: Friday, March 22, 2013

By Wanda Jackson

One uses metal and found objects.

One sees beauty in using candle smoke and oil on a canvas.

Nearly two-thirds are passionate about watercolor, acrylics or oil paintings.

Others tap into their creative side through photography.

While they express themselves using diverse mediums and themes that range from landscapes and nature to family reunions, they are bound together by an appreciation of craftsmanship.

They are the 59 artists selected to exhibit in the 44th Annual Laurel Art Guild Open Juried Exhibition through March 31 in the main gallery of the Montpelier Arts Center.

To be accepted in the juried exhibition, each artist has to be a resident of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey or the District of Columbia, or be a previous guild member for over 18 years. Each artist could submit two original works of art. However, only one of each artist’s works could be exhibited.

The artists’ works were carefully selected, maintaining the guild’s high standards of taste, craftsmanship and originality.

Artist David Drown, of Howard County, describes himself as a “self-taught painter” who has spent considerable time studying the style of his “favorite American artists: Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth.”

Drown has worked exclusively with watercolor for nearly 20 years. With his ability to capture the essence of the images he sees, the intertwining gestural branches of the trees he depicts in “Mt. View Farm” come to life as if dancing across the sky. There is a wonderful two-story farmhouse and barn in the background, effectively rendering a window to a world that onlookers can’t help but want to be a part of.

Lanham resident and abstract painter Laurence Chandler’s inspirations aren’t immediately obvious in his work titled “Dwelling Place.” But, that’s his intention.

“I look at things around me,” said Chandler, who likens his artistic talent to the “jazz composer’s gift of hearing and the poet’s gift with words.” He takes a simple, subject or tiny part of the universe and makes it extraordinary.

The process starts with what celebrated artist Wolf Kahn once said: “I don’t need to make a tree look just like a tree. Everyone knows what a tree looks like.”

In “Dwelling Place,” Chandler’s abstract elements are inspired by “salvaged doors.” Peeling paint, cracks, worn doors and missing parts — hinges, door knockers and doorknobs — influence color, line and form beyond what one might expect.

There is energy in Chandler’s brushstrokes and a sense of drama in the way he layers mixed-media — acrylic, paper, fabric and found objects — on paper. There is a spiritual rhythm in the patterns he creates using non-traditional tools — combs and kitchen utensils.

Silver Spring resident Sam Dixon’s “Summer Planter” is a wonderful example of his talent. Dixon is known for “fresh fluid paintings in carbon and watercolor, lines with spontaneous contemporary appeal, European themes” and playful wine bottle series.

At the 44th Annual Laurel Art Guild Open Juried Exhibition, onlookers will become engaged in conversations about ordinary places, people and things, and see firsthand diverse emerging masterpieces.

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