Recent invitational shows hosted by TAG/The Artists Gallery have focused on current events.

In January of 2018 there was “ArtRage.” “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” continued the theme in 2019. This year, TAG has pulled away from literal interpretations of today’s world with “surREALLY?” at its 216 N. Market Street gallery.

The Surrealist movement began in Paris almost 100 years ago, partly in response to the terrors of World War I. With fresh horrors popping up almost daily, the time is right again to make art that celebrates the absurd. “surREALLY?” includes a diverse collection of 2D and 3D work by members and invitees.

One standout is guest artist Margaret Dowell’s portrait of the poet known as BRASH. You might have seen the writer’s ekphrastic offerings at various Artomatics.

Invitees Shannon Beatty, Jane Dunsmore, Margaret Dowell, Cyd Goodwin, Gallery 322’s Michael Douglas Jones, Juan Molero, Linda Sherman, Johan Lowie, Nancy McLoughlin, Linda Constant Robinson, Lisa T. Reed, Darla Tagrin, Deborah Winram, Sonja Unger and NOMA Gallery’s Steve Dobbin complete the show.

Up the street, NOMA Gallery is hosting “Invitational 2020.” Each of the 20 members chose a guest, so twice as many artists than usual are exhibiting this month. The show somehow feels lively rather than crowded.

The artistic cross-pollination continues with work by TAG members Colleen Clapp and Patricia Stockman. Other invited guests are Juliet Arnaudo, Kristin Bohlander, Chris Charboneau, Calvin Custen, Susan Greene, Christine Hahn, Sarah Hempel Irani, Jason Laney, Kirke Martin, Donna McCullough, Calvin Edward Ramsburg, Clifton Santiago, Robert Sibbison, Sarah Jane Stoll, Marilu Tousignaut, Peter Towson and Mick Williams.

Though the whole show is outstanding, I was especially drawn to guest artist Donna McCullough’s metal dress sculptures. In her hands, steel, oil cans, and aluminum screens add up to work that is simultaneously feminine and robust.

Both “Invitational 2020” and “surREALLY?” will be up through Jan. 26.

NOMA will present an Artists Talk from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 16 at their 437 N. Market St. gallery.

I’ll be offering a Surrealism-inspired drop-in poetry workshop at TAG from 2 to 4 p.m. on Jan. 26. No previous creative writing experience is necessary for this free event.

Other Shows in January

District Arts. 15 N. Market St., Frederick (301-695-4050, districtarts.com)

Speaking of artistic synergy, TAG’s Jan McIntyre-Creager is featured this month at District Arts. ”Transitions” explores light and shadow as well as themes of home and trauma. McIntyre-Creager’s multilayered and thought-provoking paintings depict walls and houses, but these tenuous structures offer little refuge. An old birdcage inspired several of the show’s paintings. Her work, as well as that by the 39 regular artists, can be seen through Jan. 26.

Delaplaine Arts Center. 40 S Carroll Street, Frederick (delaplaine.org)

Good things are happening with the Frederick County Artists Association. President Rena Larkin welcomes Michele Sheedy, Tammy Mayo, and Christopher Madden to the FCAA’s board of directors. FCAA’s annual members show runs through Jan. 26 at the Delaplaine, and is well worth a visit. Congratulations to Leslie Riley for earning the 2020 People’s Choice Award. While you’re there, make sure to see the solo exhibits of Tali Margolin, Sarah Jane Stoll, and Tracy Ellis-Guss.

Eastside Artists Gallery. 313 E Patrick Street, Frederick (eastsidearts313@gmail.com)

The co-op is closed this month for remodeling and will reopen in February.

Gallery 322. 322 N Market Street, Frederick (gallery322.com)

It was disturbingly warm for January and raining when I visited Gallery 322 last Saturday. The colorful art and cozy setting immediately put me at ease. This month’s show, ”Living Spaces,” features interiors, still lifes, and the occasional figure painting by artists Michael Douglas Jones, Jan Kaufman, Linda Kirvan, Ann Schaefer, Anne Gibson Snyder, Russell Schofield, and Homer Yost. The exhibit runs through Jan. 26.

Learn Something

Frederick Book Arts Center. 217 W Patrick Street, Frederick. 301-228-9816

I think that New Year’s resolutions should be more about addition than subtraction. Instead of deprivation, I prefer setting goals for trying new things. To that end I have registered for woodblock printmaking at FBAC. Visit frederickbookarts.org and you will probably find something of interest, too.

Call for Artists

Cowork Frederick. 122 E Patrick Street. (301-732-5165, coworkfrederick.com)

Cowork Frederick has long been a friend to local artists. This organization sponsors Frederick Artists Nights (FAN) every First Saturday with an art exhibit and live music. The gallery space is in a charming building with great lighting, and artists are never charged a commission on sales. Now they’re looking for some help with a mural to make the space even better, preferably on a volunteer basis. Supplies would be included and students are encouraged to apply.

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