Alumna-curated exhibition “Reference/Material” on display now

By: Anthony Holsapple, Contributing Writer

On view in the Center for the Arts until Oct. 15, “Reference/Material” is a survey exhibition that presents a wide array of contemporary artists and media, from abstract paintings and sculptures to video, in homage to the Modernist art movement.

The exhibit is curated by Towson alumna Alex Ebstein, who participated in the Studio Art master’s program and worked with  Susan Isaacs, the CFA’s head curator, as a grad student.

“Reference/Material” began as an assignment in Ebstein’s “Curating Contemporary Art” class, but soon became something bigger.

“Dr. Isaacs brought the idea to me after discussing my work and thesis research,” Ebstein said. “I had curated extensively through my own gallery projects and independently, and Dr. Isaacs extended the opportunity for me to combine a number of my passions in this long-term project.”

The works on display range from collages of book pages rotating on motorized canvases to geometric shapes floating and dashing around the paintings.

One artist with work on display, Paul Simmons, demonstrates the concept of modernism through two of his acrylic works. “Untitled 2015” shows geometric shapes dashing around a warm pink background, embodying energy and dynamism, while “Untitled 2016” depicts two wavy shapes floating along a mellow blue background.

“I was thrilled to curate this exhibition,” said Ebstein. “And I believe my enthusiasm was infectious. Everyone was happy to be included.”

Included in the gallery are two of Ebstein’s favorite artists, Carolyn Salas and Jim Lee. Isaacs admires all the pieces.

“It is a terrific show and the way the works relate to one another is excellent,” Isaacs said.


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