Foodscape a deliciously quaint Baltimore affair

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Local,Dan Collins

Consider the crazy quilt which is Baltimore: the Mobtown home of the Know Nothing Party and "The Star-Spangled Banner," John Waters and Honfest. It all seems so ? well, quaint.

Foodscape fits right in.

"It started out as a spoof of Artscape," explains Jim Burger, local photographer and unofficial ambassador for all things Baltimore.

"In the first years of Artscape, there really wasn?t any art, but plenty to eat, more a fried-dough-and-hot-dogs festival with art shoved off to one side. So a couple artists (Ron Russell and Kelly Lane) had the idea to do a show that poked fun at this.

"It?s an absolutely all food-themed show. We have underlined the fact that you can?t just go through your files and find a piece of art that happens to have an apple in it and say, ?This is my Foodscape piece.? We all do pieces specifically created for the show," Burger said.

"Food has been a theme for artists since before the Renaissance. You could ask, why would I want to look at Cezanne?s oranges, for that matter. We have taken a classical theme and Baltimore-ized it."

Foodscape has been held at the Mount Royal Tavern since the first show.

"When it comes to Baltimore and things quirky, the Mount Royal Tavern is pretty much headquarters. You want to get the full experience of the art scene, you?re going to end up at the tavern. And it?s also the hottest week of the year and the tavern is air conditioned," Burger said.

The 2006 lineup of artists, in addition to Burger, includes Ron Russell; Laura Vernon-Russell; J. Kelly Lane; Ann Naito; Terry Haney; Richard Roth; Michael Hamilton; Kini Collins; Mark Harrell; and Sydney Hopkins, showcasing photographs and paintings related to nature, politics, "and, of course, gratuitous nudes," Burger said.

Ron Russell says he looks forward to the show every year. Most of the artists in the show have participated for the past 22 years.

"This is a real social event for us, so I invite a lot of friends and neighbors tocome down and see the show. Foodscape is a chance to let my hair down a little bit. Every day I?m Jim Burger, the commercial photographer, and I don?t have much call in my professional life to photograph nudes for corporate clients. I also wouldn?t want to make a living photographing nudes day in and day out. A lot of us have jobs, we work in one field or another, so this is our chance to flex our imaginative muscles," Burger said.

IF YOU GO

» Foodscape, a whimsical spoof of Artscape, featuring food-theme art works in various mediums

» 5:30 p.m. Sunday; exhibit runs through end of July

» Mount Royal Tavern, 1204 Mount Royal Ave., Baltimore

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