Ernest Shaw’s I Got Your Back, created specially for the exhibition and shown in the Forever Family section at Maryland Art Place. Shaw explains the symbolism in his painting as “to have your brothers back to the extent that you become one.”
An example from Atsuko Chirikjian’s Pigmentation Chronology; four such pieces are included in the Honeysuckle Words section of the exhibition at Area 405. Pigmentation Chronology is inspired by Ichi-go Ichi-e, a Japanese term often translated as “for this time only,” “never again,” or “one chance in a lifetime.” In Chirikjian’s pieces, colored patterns of ink emerge on rice paper, creating uniquely beautiful forms—a visual metaphor for one-chance love from random meeting.
“Each stain formed by the ring-like layers which is individually influenced by a specific temperature, humidity, water pressure, fiber density, and pigment. These factors create variation in each stain, causing none of the stains to be quite the same. This also means that the stains cannot be repeated, and there is only one chance to produce each stain.” — Atsuko Chirikjian
Ken Royster, a longtime Baltimore-based photographer and retired art professor from Morgan State University, has a knack for catching us in our most human moments. This photograph, entitled Mary A., conveys in both body language and facial expression the euphoric exuberance accompanying romantic love, the subject of the Cupid’s Arrow section of the exhibition at Maryland Art Place, where this photograph is included.
Piper Shepard’s Only Their Silhouettes, included in the Such Sweet Sorrow section of the exhibition at Area 405. In the piece, Shepard folds the symbolism of flowers, or floriography, among other botanical specimens into a composition of loss and remembrance. During the time of its making, Shepard lost her father and father-in-law, and within the months following, her mother suddenly and unexpectedly lost her eyesight. As cloth can hold an encrypted message, in its way, Only Their Silhouettes exist as its own kind of love letter before these losses.
Pat Dennis’ Strength and Love is included in the Wild Horses section of the exhibition at Maryland Art Place—a section about love and addiction, as bumpy a ride as that upon a wild horse. Through her own experiences, Dennis knows something of this ride; the work is intended to be viewed as metaphor.
Exsul Van Helden
Yazidis fleeing for ISIS by Exsul Van Helden is included in the Drive All Night section of the exhibition at Area 405. A painter, photographer, and filmmaker, Van Helden is also an immigrant: he understands love and separation. His work expresses something of the way we carry loved ones in our hearts, minds, and memories, even as seemingly insurmountable obstacles to that love present themselves.
This photo taken by Dayo Kosoko during Art on the Vine on Martha’s Vineyard documents a 2018 performance by Phylicia Ghee of Intrepid III. A video of the performance filmed by David Welch overlaid with a sound piece by Phylicia Ghee—created, especially for the Love Thy Self section of the exhibition—is shown at Maryland Art Place. Much of Ghee’s work has a ceremonial quality, centering on a sense of oneness (and serenity) with the world, and the importance of healing attitudes and compassion toward one’s self.
Loring Cornish is a Baltimore artist creating a work of art especially for The Thousand Things’ section of the exhibition at Area 405. “My work comes out of my relationship with God. While I worship, I create, and while I create, I worship God.” This divine connection, along with the fact of Cornish so often working in mosaic (a sample of that work shown here), makes his art the right invocation for the theme of The Thousand Things—the myriad and varied ways love weaves its tapestry into our lives, composed of a thousand things.