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A timely visit to Rogue Art Gallery

Meandering through an art gallery is like reading a compilation of short stories written by various authors, each with a personal story at stake.

Most local art galleries are currently open to give and receive human interaction. We owe it to ourselves to complete the connection art affords and that many are missing just now. Artists need to create. Every work of art is a page from their autobiography that they’re willing to share in plain view. It’s a chance they risk. There’s no admission — looking is free. Such an opportune soul diversion, when you think about it.

I was pleased to find the doors of Rogue Gallery & Art Center, located at 40 S. Bartlett St., in Medford, open to serve on an ordinary Thursday.

“We actually feel fortunate to be open,” says Executive Director Kim Hearon. “We don’t have as many people in, which we miss, though we’re a very safe place to come to. You don’t have to worry about a crowd, and there’s lots of space here, and we have tall ceilings and good circulation. And it doesn’t cost you anything.”

While unable to host artist receptions with wine and cheese these days, there’s plenty of quiet space allowing for a good linger. Time sort of stands still in a gallery. The work speaks for itself and offers a chance to suspend life as we know it on any given day — an escape from sweating over the small stuff.

Hearon and staff are ready, willing and eager to add fresh dimension to an otherwise humdrum week from 10-5 Tuesday through Friday and 11-3 Saturdays. They close Sunday and Monday.

Offerings hang in three galleries. The Main Gallery currently highlights the work of talented photographers Bruce Bayard and Tom Glassman. It’s entitled “Minimal/Maximum,” and though their styles are quite different, neither produce anything close to mundane photographs. A great deal of thought to detail and composition goes into each page of their story. One image, “Pastoral Pastiche with Angles” by Glassman, caught my eye — and someone else’s, because it was gratifying to see the red dot signaling a sale. With the prices, there should be more before the show comes down Feb. 19.

It was delightful to enter the Community Gallery with scenes from Baldasarre Mineo’s Italio Gardens splashed over the walls. A collection of plein air pieces created by visitors to the gardens enliven the space, bringing spring that much nearer. I’ve written about the two-acre wonder of Italio Gardens, a lush gem tucked along Cummings Lane in Medford. Baldassare welcomes visitors each Saturday, and artists by appointment. I pictured these talented women lit out like butterflies in the gardens, each one magnifying nature’s magic. My personal favorite was “Italio Gardens” by Susan DeRosa. Its soft atmosphere and careful brushwork felt peaceful, like nothing could go wrong there.

The Members Gallery holds a rotating collection of work by gallery members that can be purchased outright or rented for two months at a time, with the rental price going toward purchase.

Their Artisan Gift Shop is a rich storehouse of carefully chosen items, many made by local or regional craftspeople. This is a great place to find a unique piece of jewelry or glassware for someone special, while supporting the gallery and artists. I came home with a yet-to-be-named elephant. It followed me.

Though normally working alone, artists need the people equation to inspire their work. According to those with whom Hearon visits, many are feeling the dearth of human interaction dampening their muse. There’s no energy fix while sketching at coffee shops or mingling with friends. As with writers and musicians, most artists don’t thrive in a vacuum, they need the consumer to complete the story. A gallery visit isn’t the worst way to spend a lunch hour.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer. Reach her at pcdover@hotmail.com.