The Baltimore Sun
April 11, 2015
By Mary Carole McCauley

At a first look and even at a second, you’d swear it was magic.

Those three white towels, two folded neatly and the third rumpled and hanging every which way — surely they’re made of terrycloth and purchased at a department store, not carved from white Carrara marble in a stone quarry by the 34-year-old Baltimore artist Sebastian Martorana.

Those two little boys curled up on a mattress, their heads barely heavy enough to dimple a pillow — surely they’ll wake up any moment from their nap. But that nap, which was carved in stone by the master sculptor William Rinehart, has been going on undisturbed since 1869.

“Rinehart’s Studio: Rough Stone to Living Marble,” the new exhibition running at the Walters Art Museum, makes a strong case for the undiluted trickery that lies at the heart of sculpture’s appeal. It’s the delight of being fooled into believing something to be true that we know in fact is faked. It’s the triumph of our five senses over our better judgment. And the thrill is not unlike the one experienced when we watch a magician put a beautiful lady into a box, saw her in half, wave a wand and then restore her to life.

Rarely has being snookered been so much fun.

In some ways, the 40-object show is about the way that the magic wand (or perhaps, the magic chisel) is being handed down from one generation of artists to the next.

“Rinehart’s Studio” contains about a dozen sculptures, including the one by Martorana, who, like Rinehart, studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art — which in the 19th century was called the Maryland Institute for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts. . . .

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