Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Soft Spotlight on Rebecca Weber

As I explored the Still Life Gallery a couple days ago, Rebecca Weber’s paintings became more and more familiar to me with their unique style, or perhaps it is more a feeling after all. I did not ask where they were, but after a time, found them in various places in the Gallery—on the wall, on the floor, behind other things at times.

We spoke briefly. She told me, in part, that each painting had a reason behind it; nothing is just painted for painting’s sake.

Afterward, thinking about it at home, I concluded that her work is never a landscape or still life in the traditional art vocabulary, e.g. pear on a plate; flowers in a window. With Weber’s art, there is both stated visual content as well as a hidden story.

Whether the subject matter is a plant, a small Italian town, a New York City scene, a pear with a bite out of it, or a bright red Cardinal, each painting is like a finely crafted piece of jewelry in its delicacy and tranquility.

In the quiet distancing between
the object or scene Weber
chooses to paint,
there is a seriousness
and sometimes
sadness, as well.

NOW...Take the current series called “Bittersweet” that is currently featured. After viewing it, I came home and immediately did some research on the plant…there is the American bittersweet that is becoming rare, and the Oriental bittersweet that is considered an invasive.

Then, I closed the book on that line of thinking and remembered what Rebecca had told me:

“Every year around Christmas, I go into the woods with my Father to collect Bittersweet.”

The point is not the type of berry. It is the family tradition that she is--in part--honoring in her painting of the plant. The Bittersweet stems have a kind of aura around them, as if seen as a memory or through the filter of time.

To me, her work seems broadly (if I have to choose a word) transformative; for example, in this small painting, the beak of a bird points energetically at a dot of light that may signal its own re-birth, a re-awakening to life.
The meaning may appear ambivalent to the viewer—and I include myself here--and partly because of that complexity holds a powerful mystery. I had to take a deep breath.

Rebecca Weber’s work has been shown nationally and internationally and is included in many private collections. She is a Maryland State Arts Council grant recipient. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Visual Studies. Weber is the chair of exhibitions at Howard County Center for the Arts. She is an independent curator, having recently curated in Berlin, Germany, as part of Art Forum and Bridge Art Miami during Art Basel. Her studio is in Baltimore, Maryland.

Still Life Gallery is open Tuesday through Friday 11-6 and Saturday and Sunday 11-5pm. Visit us at http://www.stilllifegallery.net/ 8173 Main Street in Historic Ellicott City.

Web page content by Kay Weeks
Photos by Rebecca Weber, Eric Parnes & Kay Weeks

1 comment:

Denee Barr Art News and More said...

I usually pop into Still Life Gallery when I am in historic Ellicott City. Rebecca's gallery is always unique, inspiring, interesting, distinctive. I'll go by there again soon after reading your post.

Thanks for the update!