The Common Object
Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and Zeuxis still life painters association present The Common Object, an exhibition of more than 60 paintings incorporating the everyday object of a dishtowel, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011–Sunday, March 11, 2012 in the Fox Building’s Meyerhoff Gallery, 1303 W. Mount Royal Ave. The paintings in the exhibition, in the words of American author John Updike, “give the mundane its beautiful due.” A reception will take place Friday, Dec. 2, 5–7 p.m.
This traveling exhibition features paintings by 37 Zeuxis artists and guests, including former MICA students Richard Baker and Anthony Martino ’76 (general fine arts), as well as faculty member Mark Karnes and prior faculty members Stanley Friedman and Sharon Yates. Additionally, a group of MICA students will display paintings around the theme.
The title The Common Object suggests both the subject matter is an ordinary dishtowel and that the same towel is common to each painting. “As a tool and as a visual element, the dishtowel is versatile and absorbent, a bland ingredient that can be molded to many uses,” Imogen Sara Smith writes in the 36-page, full-color exhibition catalog. “Wet or dry, smooth or wrinkled, clean or stained, it symbolizes the blank canvas, the eternal challenge to make something out of nothing.”
The dishtowel might be treated as an inanimate object—for its drapery folds, its pattern or use as a backdrop—or might be examined for its versatility and usefulness. The painters approached the object in different ways, some leaving it quietly in the background, others featuring it as the main subject; some depicting it in realistic detail, others turning it into an abstract form.