Art Watch: James Welling featured at Brandywine River Museum

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Street Road Artist’s Space featured at Galer, Sept. 13

By Lele Galer, Columnist, The Times

UTColLogoGalerAt The Brandywine River Museum of Art, Thursday September 10 at 6pm there will be a fascinating talk with contemporary photographer James Welling and Thomas Padon, Director of the Brandywine River Museum of Art on the influence of Andrew Wyeth’s paintings on Welling’s artistic exploration in photography and installations. Welling’s exhibition “Things Beyond Resemblance” continues through November 15th. Welling is quoted, writing “I realized I had never stopped thinking Wyeth..he had become a part of how I see..” Many of us can relate to that quote who live in the Chadds Ford area. Cheers to the museum for putting together such an interesting concept for a show and bringing this California based photographer to our attention.

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James Welling’s Glass House, courtesy Brandywine River Museum.

The result of this inspiration-based exhibition is a kind of conversation through art, artist and muse, and the viewer is left equally inspired and moved as they are invited to participate in the interplay of images. The viewer looks for the notes of inspiration, where the two artists come together, what each was looking for when they saw what they wanted to capture. Just as all of us who live in the Brandywine area are often suddenly struck with a tree, hillside, or farm that gets a certain shift of light, we suddenly feel like we see what Andrew Wyeth was aiming for and “we get it”. This show is about art, the creative process, seeing, and being moved beyond inspiration. When we look again at Andrew Wyeth’s works, we see them in a fresher light.

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Gradients. Courtesy Brandywine River Museum.

When you are at the museum, take the time to walk around a bit outside and view the James Welling sculpture installation “Gradients”. Welling’s color files (Gradient maps) from the photographs he took for the “Things Beyond Resemblance” show were fused directly onto metal sheets that are now posted throughout the museum’s 200 acre park. It is rather beautiful to see these strong, contemporary, brightly colored shapes working with and against a quintessential bucolic Brandywine scene. It helps to appreciate them when you know that the color gradations are really expanded digital samples of Chadds Ford color. This installation pushes us to see our area in a new way. Like a painter with a palette, the Gradients show distills our reactions to local color by organizing them into units; then, the units are reunited with the landscape and we look from one to the other with a newer understanding.

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Galer Estate Winery in Kennett Square, will have a Pop up Art show of Street Road’s “Sailing Stones” exhibition on Sept. 13.

The Street Road Artist’s Space is always pushing the bounds of how we see something as art, and encourages the viewer to not see passively but to join in and collaborate. On Sunday, September 13th from 3-7pm, Galer Estate Winery in Kennett Square, will have a Pop up Art show of Street Road’s “Sailing Stones” exhibition. Artists Emily Manko and Emily Artinian will be on site with a show of stones re-imagined by local Chester County artists, and stones for the visitor to augment and add to the studio’s ever-growing collection. The show encourages the viewer to look at the most common natural object, a rock; hold it in your hand, see it for its natural beauty or see it as a blank canvas that you can add to. Art is as much seeing as doing, and Street Road is always inspiring us to do both (with a sense of humor).

September 12 and 16, Art Partners Studio in Coatesville is offering an exciting Master Workshop series that “memorializes Coatesville’s industrial landscape” of Lukens Steel Mill. Lukens Steel Mill has its roots in the 1700s as a producer of iron and nails for the new settlers. In the 1800s the site started producing steel plate, and expanded rapidly with the growth of the railroads and riverboats. The company was extremely successful and was the main business in all of the Coatesville area, employing hundreds of workers throughout the region. In 1998, Lukens Steel was sold after almost 200 years in operation, and 400 jobs were lost. The loss of Lukens Steel Mill devastated the local economy, which is slowly coming back with concerted community efforts, such as the initiatives through the Arts Partners Studio. The workshops take this industrial, history-laden environment as the point of inspiration. Artist and PAFA professor Jill A. Ripinski will be offering a plein air workshop on the grounds of the mill, and photographer and University of the Arts lecturer Vincent Feldman will be offering a photography workshop with the interior and exterior of a standing mill as the subject matter. This Master Workshop was made possible through a grant from The Stewart Huston Charitable Trust, and you can still sign up for these workshops online (www.artpartnersstusio.org) or by calling the Studio at 610-384-3030.

Lele Galer is a local artist who has chaired numerous art shows, taught art history and studio art, public art and has chaired, written and taught the Art in Action Art Appreciation series for the UCFD schools for the past 12 years. She worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and wrote for the Associated Press in Rome. She has been dedicated to Art History and art education for most of her adult life. Lele and her husband Brad own Galer Estate Winery in Kennett Square and she is on the Board of the Chester County Art Association and The Delaware Valley Art League.

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