HAGERSTOWN, MD. >> Over time, every artist chooses the medium he or she is most comfortable using. Ask any number of artists why they decided to paint with watercolor or acrylic, for instance, and they will reply because it is the most natural or most forgiving.

Two artists who will be exhibiting their work beginning Aug. 15 in Just Lookin' Gallery, 40 Summit Ave., exemplify this type of choice.

The show, "Contours/Contrasts," running through Sept. 20, will present the work of a master of classic pencil drawing and the other, the raised tactile feel of metal repousse.

"Both artists are phenomenal," said Eileen Berger, owner of the gallery. Michael Gibson, from Canada, uses a pencil with such dexterity that, at first, it seems to be a photograph. When examined more closely, the pencil strokes are evident as is the richness of shading and tonality.

"Most people would say I'm a photorealist, but I'm just really into drawing with particular attention to detail," said Gibson. In fact, his work is so precise, that he sometimes accompanies it with a note stating that "this is not a photograph." His work has become popular, especially among Asian and European collectors.

In a technique that could not be more different from Gibson is the work of Jamaal Sheats, who has delved into many art forms, but particularly metal relief sculpture, to stunning effect. His work is informed not only by personal experience but also by travel to Africa, where on this three tours he studied the culture, historic monument, and artifacts.

He has captivated local collectors for more than 13 years, matching his growing national acclaim. He was one of eight artists commissioned by the Tennessee Art Commission to create a work for Nashville's Music City Center and has created the National African American Music Museum's Legend Awards.

Reflecting his passion for art education, he has been a guest lecturer at several universities and is now a faculty member in the art department at Fisk University, Nashville.

For the gallery opening Aug. 15 and 16, Sheats will demonstrate metal work, although he will be using aluminum for the occasion, as it is easier to work with. The openings are from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. both days.

Just Lookin' fills an overlooked niche in the art world, bringing to the attention of the public the talent of artists of African or African-American descent, said Berger. It's renown has spread, attracting collectors through the East Coast.

Regular hours are 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

For more information, contact the gallery at 301-714-2278 or

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