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New Year - New Visions reception showcases African American artists

January 14, 2012|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com
  • A carving hangs from the wall as Chris Howard looks over artwork at Just Lookin' Gallery during the New Year - New Visions reception that began Saturday.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

The new year is here, and at Just Lookin' Gallery on Summit Avenue, that means a fresh batch of original art from African American artists all over the country.

The gallery is showcasing its latest pieces at a New Year — New Visions reception that began Saturday and continues through Monday, from 1 to 6 p.m. each day.

"We have probably 15 artists who have sent new work for the show," gallery co-owner Eileen Berger said.

Berger said some of her favorite pieces in the show are mixed-media works by Tamara Natalie Madden, a Jamaican artist living near Atlanta who recently has started incorporating photography and fabric into her paintings.

"It gives it a lot of dimension," Berger said.

Berger said she was first drawn to Madden's paintings because of the expressive faces she captured on canvases sometimes only a few inches wide.

"I thought her faces were just magnificent," Berger said. "One of the things I love about her is she can get all this emotion so small."

The gallery also has new works by Nigerian-born artist Buchi Upjohn, who uses woodcarvings as a canvas for oil painting.

"He actually incorporates some of the roughness of the wood into the details on the faces, which gives them just this incredible look," Berger said.

Lloyd Buckner, a Washington, D.C., art collector, said he found several new purchases at the show Saturday, including an elaborate pencil drawing by Michael C. Gibson.

"I'm amazed at what transfers from someone's heart, with a pen or a pencil or paintbrush, into whatever medium it is," Buckner said. "It just speaks to me."

Buckner, who was visiting Just Lookin' for the fourth time, said the gallery's variety and Berger's knowledgeable advice make the drive from Washington well worth his time, and he always leaves with something new for his collection.

"I don't care if anyone else likes what I'm buying," he said. "It makes me happy."

Just Lookin' is open daily except Mondays and holds receptions every one to two months, Berger said. The New Year — New Visions show began as a preview of the pieces the gallery took to the National Black Fine Art Show in New York City from 1999 through 2009, she said.

"That show is no longer going on, but because the artists always do a lot of work around the beginning of each year, we've decided to continue the tradition of New Year — New Visions," she said.

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If you go ...

What: New Year — New Visions reception
When: Continues Sunday and Monday, 1 to 6 p.m.
Where: Just Lookin' Gallery, 40 Summit Ave., Hagerstown

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