Betty Murchison's "Waiting,"
recalling a time when going to the market was an event.
(International Visions -- The Gallery)
acrylic paintings of Annapolis-based artist Betty
Murchison detail the quotidian rituals of African
American women and girls. Whether flirting, lounging
or chatting, her subjects enjoy quiet, anticipatory
moments before the action happens. Or maybe, these
canvases suggest, this is the action. Certainly the
young teen "Chloe," painted at an awkward
and lonely moment, offers a picture of quiet turmoil.
But even here, Murchison outfits the girl in a pretty
dress that seems to calm the inner angst. In fact,
clothes play a major role in this painter's pictures
-- most of her subjects are outfitted in sharp if
simple dresses, recalling a time when market excursions
were events. While in a constricted world for women,
these lives seem, through Murchison's eye, enviably