Art Watch: In The Pink for Valentine’s

Fall in love, with great local art works, for the holiday

By Lele Galer, Columnist, The Times

UTColLogoGalerThis most romantic week of the year starts with two art opening receptions at The Chester County Art Association in West Chester this Thursday February 11, from 5-8pm. At CCAA, both main galleries have very interesting shows.

in the pink“In the Pink” is in the main gallery and features a room full of juried artworks from a wide range of local artists who use “pink” in some way that draws attention to this unique and rather Valentine-esque color. CCAA describes the show’s theme as a fusion of red and white can be rosy, bubble-gum, hot, pastel, pretty, putrid, Pepto-Bismol, opera or ballet. Pink is a powerful color, especially when it shows up in artwork. CCAA wants to showcase the many ways in which the color pink can be moving, inspiring or provoking in our exhibition.” The Brandywine River Museum of Art‘s Director, Tom Padon, juried the selection of art for the exhibit. A whole room full of pink inspired art!


Emily Manko’s “Rocket Tile”

In the adjacent Huston Gallery, ceramic artist Emily Manko fills the space with strong, sculptural works that utilize paper-thin clay, wire, rope and clay shapes that refer to objects in the everyday world. Each art piece is carefully edited and presented to draw attention to the bare essentials of the image. At the most basic level, Emily’s works are absolutely fun to look at and strikingly displayed; at a symbolic level, her recurring shapes speak to her internal artistic symbology: paper leafs and scrolls are a symbol for the blank slate or an idea that an artist starts with, the hexagons are the building blocks of the work, and the rockets and houses stand for the artistic finished product. However, her images are more playful than literal, and she says that her work really “is open-ended, to be enjoyed aesthetically. I never want to make it one note.” Emily Manko’s show is entitled “Now/Then/When” which refers to the growth of her work and the significance of her symbols as she has matured artistically and personally over the past 5 years since art school. Start this art week off at The Chester County Art Association for two compelling shows!


Alan Sofer

Saturday, February 13 from 1-3pm, Church Street Gallery in West Chester offers what will be a fascinating discussion with exhibiting artist Alan Sofer. This terrific show ends February 27th, so try to check it out before it leaves town. Alan’s work has been in shows in universities and galleries over the country, and most recently is featured in a new book Encaustics, by Schiffer Publishing. Alan Sofer is an encaustic artist who applies layer upon layer of encaustic wax color and oil paint to create abstract compositions of forms, color and texture. He gouges, scrapes, and scratches at the surface, sometimes all the way to the bone, or wood of the panel. Each painting is very different from the other, as he varies his layering, drips and gouges with his personal response to the making of each work.

The Alan Sofer show is the first purely abstract show for The Church Street Gallery. While every artist offers high artistic quality, the shows “move back and forth between accessibility” explains John Suplee, artist and husband of gallery owner Carol Gilpin. “I regard Alan Sofer as an established master. His images have a seriousness and richness that set them apart….you see textural surprises and microscopic detail that makes his work so fascinating” John Suplee notes.  I am sure that the artist himself will be equally fascinating and that the room will be packed for this Saturday’s gallery talk!

Galentines1On the lighter side, at Galer Estate Winery this Saturday from 3-6pm, 11 local artisans will be showing and selling their work for a pre-Valentines shopping day. The pre-Valentines show offers welded and forged steel products, recycled glass hearts, hand-made candles, herbs, scents, vintage sewn and knitted items, jewelry by Vintage Faerie and more. A pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon, and full of very interesting artisans to talk to. Most of the wineries on The Brandywine Artisan Wine Trail are offering delicious chocolate and wine pairings and romantic treats to celebrate The Art of the Valentine. Sally Wilson, of Wilson Vineyard in Landenberg, will be holding a painting workshop to incorporate hearts in your paintings of sunflowers. Check out for details on each of the winery’s Valentine’s themed events.

If you are an installation artist who would like to exhibit in The Gallery at Franklin Common‘s next large show “Lighten Up” , in conjunction with the First Annual Phoenixville Art Show, contact Katie Naber by February 14. They are looking for cool installation projects that utilize reused products and take advantage of the large scale of the gallery space at Franklin Commons. It is a huge gallery space, full of terrific spaces for a creative imagination to explore. Flickerwood Winery also has a shout out to artists to create artwork for a wine label for their latest Pinot Noir. If you are inspired to create an original work of art for their label, send it to by March 1st 5pm sharp! The winner’s prize is $200 and a case of wine with their labels on the bottles. Sounds like a lot of fun!

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