Friday, November 7, 2008

Abby Sangiamo's Retrospective Opens @ MICA

Howie Lee Weiss and Abby Sangiamo
MICA professor, Abby Sangiamo shares 50 years of work in his retrospective exhibition, on view in MICA's Meyerhoff Gallery. Divided by subject matter, Sangiamo works almost obsessively on one idea at a time. Most extensive, and appropriate for the venue, are his portraits of MICA students, faculty and staff, made throughout his entire career at the college.
While the nudity and relationship of artist to subject is still a little bizarre, at least to me, the portraits are beautiful. They are uniform in size, but the subjects each sit differently within their frame. They are simultaneously soft and solid, exaggerations of the people they represent. Many have been recently revised with tattoos and other body accessories, adding a sense of youth and "hipness."

The beach and water series is the most compelling of his other projects. The paintings show languid scenes of floating figures in radiant, limited palettes. They're flat, graphic and absolutely stunning, holding viewers in their shallow space.
Don't miss this vast exhibition of Sangiamo's work and memories from the past 50 years, up through December 19th at Maryland Institute College of Art.