Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC)

Natural Origins


Ellen Kalin, Green Earth Strata, Acrylic & Collage on Canvas, 18’’ x 36’’. 2012


Artist Biographies: 


Len Harris’s first career of forty years was as an aerospace engineer in industry and NASA.  He performed engineering research and participated in major aeronautics and space development programs. While working for NASA, Len attended studio art classes at Montgomery College, Maryland. For years, his primary interest was oil painting along the Potomac River or at remote sites in Montgomery County, MD. One of the few pieces of sculpture Len created while taking art classes was made of thin wood plies and is the origin of his current sculpture. He finally developed a technique to deal with large plies or ribbons of wood to achieve a light, free sculptural form.

As a sculptor, Len’s objective is to cause a maximum human response with a minimum of material. He tries to make visible what is essentially invisible, a defining form of a subject, be it an object, the human form, a human emotion, animals or birds, or the trajectory of a body in space.  Sensuous ribbons of wood define the compositions and to Len, a feeling of movement is established through their bending and twisting. The texture, color, and grain of the wood enhance the reaction to the images. Len starts with a sketch, but the final image depends on the feel of the wood as it is worked.


Ellen Kalin began her artistic life with a set of Rapidograph pens, with which she created minutely detailed pen-and-ink drawings. Later, she learned to paint and fell in love with color, eschewing the realistic for the intuitive. During her graduate work in publications design at the University of Baltimore, she took classes at MICA, where she learned photo-manipulation processes that she has adapted into the creation of her vivid abstract images.  With nature as her muse, Kalin creates textural atmospheres and vibrant landscapes using subtractive and additive techniques such as masking and collage, and often incorporates fine details in ink.

Kalin is a member of artists’ groups including Capitol Hill Art League, Pyramid Atlantic, Strathmore Artists, SoWeBo Arts, and Washington Project for the Arts. She has exhibited at the Touchstone Gallery, Gallery 788, The Pearl Gallery, and the Gaithersburg Arts Barn Gallery, and has had solo shows at SoWeBo Arts/Zella’s Pizzeria, Art at Penn Place/Black Market Bistro, and The Lutheran Center (Baltimore Inner Harbor). Kalin also does commission work for private collectors, interior designers, and corporate clients.


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