Plein air paintings usually aren’t this large—48” high—because they take so long to finish, especially if they are distant, panoramic views as one might see from the window of an auto driving through the countryside. But that’s the kind that Baltimore artist Henry Coe is now showing at Gallery KH. Or at least they feel plein air because there’s the rough, quick, excited brush work and the sense of actually being on site for one thrilling moment on a beautiful, sunny day. Actually, these paintings were finished made in a studio, start to finish, but they were based on plein air sketches, not photographs. That’s what makes them so enjoyable, as well as that energized surface that one would more likely find in modern abstract painting. So it’s the best of both worlds: the fun of feeling like you’re outdoors, along with the formal intensity of abstract painting. As an extra bonus, Gallery KH is also showing the landscapes of several of their other artists, all of them very good, and all of them quite different. (Chris Miller)
Henry Coe shows at Gallery KH, 311 W. Superior St., (312)642-0202, through January 5.