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‘Taking It Outside’ Presented at Gallery Har Shalom

Opening reception on Sunday.

An opportunity to escape to lovely scenic places captured by talented artists will be presented at the Gallery Har Shalom show “Taking It Outside” which opens Sunday, Jan. 6.

The exhibit will include paintings, photographs and ceramic with wood pieces. According to Gallery Committee Chair Fran Abrams, "‘Taking It Outside’ assembles a group of artists whose work extends far outside their studios.”

Abrams explains: “The goal of the gallery is to expose the members of Har Shalom and the residents of Potomac to high quality artists from around our area.”

Abrams and her committee decide the theme for each Gallery Har Shalom show based on the works of the artists they select. “That’s where our creativity comes into play,” said Abrams. “The work inspires us.”

The free show will feature paintings by artists Melissa Miller, Gaithersburg, Md. and Barbara French Pace, Washington, D.C.; photographs by Marc Weinberg, Frederick, Md.; and ceramics by Shelley Stevens, Frederick, Md.

The opening reception will take place Sunday, Jan. 6 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The exhibit will run through Monday, Feb. 25. Gallery Har Shalom is located in Congregation Har Shalom, 11510 Falls Road, Potomac.

Melissa Miller is inspired by nature — rural scenes, abandoned farmhouses and seascapes. She said, “I will frequently revisit a scene over and over again to observe the nuances of subtle seasonal changes in color and light. The painting ‘emerges’ in my studio out of imagination, sketch, and memory usually taking dramatic license from the original stimulus.” She often captures “houses sleeping in the blue twilight haze” or “wisteria creeping on power lines.” Miller is an occupational therapist with the D.C. Public School System. Although she resides in Gaithersburg, she identifies herself as a Southern painter who “loves this land and its people.”

Barbara French Pace has chosen East Coast vistas for this exhibit. A multifaceted artist, French interprets the world through painting, drawing, and photography. Her oil and acrylic paintings capture landscapes from rural reflections to city sites. Her paintings are textured and vibrant — and portray not often-seen monumental sights but smaller, more significant scenes which invite reflection. She said, “In my media, I seek to capture the light patterns, textures, and atmosphere of rural and urban landscapes in ways that reveal deeper meaning than the surface image.” In addition to her artistic career, Pace is a foreign affairs analyst. She earned degrees in international relations, and also completed a post-graduate program in publication design.

Photographer Marc Weinberg has been shooting landscapes since he was a child, using his dad’s Kodak Brownie camera. He now utilizes digital photography to capture his “wow” moments. He believes that “beauty is everywhere.” His landscapes capture lonely trees, lovely seascapes, glorious, colorful wildflowers and cold Gettysburg winters. He tells his photography students, “Go ahead! Disable all automatic camera functions and use your incredible brain to capture moments through your magicalm mysterious machine! You'll be amazed what you can do.” Weinberg is an instructor at Frederick Community College, The Griffin Art Center in Frederick, The Rehoboth, Del. Arts League and contributing photographer for The Frederick Magazine and Montgomery Life Magazine.

Shelley Stevens’ creative work begins with a walk in the woods in search of interesting deadwood from which she crafts a one-of-a-kind ceramic and wood sculpture or functional object. She is known for her ceramic and wood teapots. "I love both wood and clay ... they look like they naturally go together," said Stevens. The ceramic and wood combination offers complex technical challenges in getting the ceramic, which shrinks as it dries and is fired, to fit the wood in the end. Stevens holds a MFA in ceramics from GWU and a BS in mechanical engineering from Cornell University. She is an award-winning ceramics instructor at Northern Virginia Community College's Loudoun Campus.

For further information about the exhibit, call the Har Shalom office at 301-299-7087. The gallery is open typically, Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., and Friday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Call first to confirm. Gallery Har Shalom is located at Congregation Har Shalom, 11510 Falls Road, Potomac.