Art Watch: New moon rising over Chester County

By Lele Galer, Columnist, The Times

This week there are some very special art events that are opening in our area. From big art openings at two local museums to space-clearing- new-moon rituals in Cochranville, there are always interesting art activities in and around Chester County every week.

A view of Chester County by photo contest winner Lee Schlingmann.

Before we kick off the art week, congratulations to wonderful local photographer Lee Schlingmann who won this year’s photography contest for “the place you love most in Chester County”; a contest with almost 400 applicants, made possible through the Chester County Planning Commission, Lee’s beautiful image won the big prize!

The Brandywine River Museum of Art opens its new blockbuster show “From Homer to Hopper: Experiment and Ingenuity in American Art” this Saturday February 25 through May 21. This show is organized by the curators of The Phillips Collection in Washington DC, and specifically concentrates on American artists from 1870 – 1950 who are considered “masters of the modern art movement in America.”

Also at the museum, this Saturday, February 25 is the gallery talk “Things to Come: Contemplating Andrew Wyeth Gallery talk” at 2pm; this is free with entry to the museum. Become a member at the museum and get their weekly emails of art happenings as well as special preview entry to their major art shows – a great way to be in the know, have some good art fun and support our area’s greatest cultural institution at the same time!

Further afield, the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover, Delaware shows “SYNE Language”, with artist reception opening this Friday, February 24 at 5pm, showing through April 30.

The Biggs Museum of American Art is located at 406 Federal Street in Dover, and exhibits a broad range of American art including fine art by Childe Hassam, classic illustration by Frank Schoonover, master cabinetry, sculpture and contemporary art in diverse mediums. The SYNE art group is comprised of well known artists from Chester County and Delaware that each presents art that offers a contemporary alternative to traditional realism. This new show includes the 8 SYNE artists: Mitch Lyons, Valetta, Helen Mason, Carla Lombardi, Margo Allman, Deborah Stelling, Ken Mabrey and Rick Rothrock. Meet the artists this Friday and check out this wonderful museum in Dover.

The Art of Chinese Brush Painting.

Two fun art discussion/lecture events are happening this Thursday, February 23. At the Freeman’s Art Gallery , 503 West Lancaster Avenue in Wayne, artist and teacher Huangxin (Derek) Wang will lecture on “The Legacy of Chinese Brush Painting” from 6-8pm.

This should be a fascinating talk! Mr. Wang has a unique and rich understanding of this Chinese art medium, as his father was a famous and revered Chinese brush painter in China, his brother is a famous contemporary artist in China, and Mr. Wang is both a teacher and an artist in our area. I enjoy hearing him talk very much as he moves seamlessly from one era to the next, explaining the use of recurring imagery, in context with the time period and the artistic flourishes that distinguish the leading artists of each time. It should be packed, so you should reserve your space by calling or emailing Freemans in Wayne.

The other fun, interesting talk is a casual art panel discussion at Radley Run Country Club, in the Mansion house, this Thursday from 6:30 – 9pm. It is $25 at the door and includes food, drink and the lecture, as well as a $25 certificate towards buying any art at the upcoming Radley Run Art Show. Guest panelists include: Karl Kuerner (artist and teacher), Laurie Murray (artist and interior designer), Andrea Strang (owner of Gallery 22 in Malvern), Lele Galer (artist, Art Watch write and radio), Wayne Simpson (artist and architect), and Diana Karnas (art collector). I’m looking forward to it!!

One small gallery and artist space that might be off your art radar is The Palette & The Page, located at 120 East Main Street in Elkton Maryland. Check out their website and see the long list of creative workshops that include leather tooling, framing as well as small gallery openings. Their next show is “Constructing with Dot & Clay” which will feature pen and ink artist, William Dodds and contemporary ceramic artist, Victoria Kavalerov. The fun opening event will have food and drink as well as music by pianist Tom Christiansen, Friday, March 3, 2017, 5pm-8pm.   While you are in Elkton, you might visit Timeless Tiffany Stained Glass Supplies, 1769 West Pulaski Highway in Elkton, and check out their gorgeous glass and art supplies as well as their extensive list of classes for stained glass. If you ever wanted to try out stained glass, this is the perfect place to start, and the closest large stained glass resource to Chester County.

If you are a plein air painter (you paint outside) and would like to enter a great plein air competition, go to the Wayne Art Center’s website and apply to be in one of the great plein air contests on the east coast. The deadline for the application is February 28, and the contest runs May 8 through May 15 2017. There are $15,000 worth of prizes, a fun gala show and celebration, and lots of beautiful venues to paint. Also, of note, winter classes at Wayne Art Center start up this month, with 70 classes and 15 artist workshops, there is a lot to choose from.

Full Moon by Emily & Andrew Manko, Street Road Artist’s Space.

For the most un-traditional art event of the week, stop by Street Road Artist’s Space, 725 Street Road in Cochranville, this Sunday February 26th for a New Moon ritual from 10am-10:30am. The event includes coffee and conversation from 9:45 – noon. Cochranville artist Sasha Boyle will welcome in the new moon with a blessing ritual, to” anchor the intention of beauty and inquiry” that is central to the theme of Street Road Artist’s Space. Sasha will use smudging with cedar, to clear negative energy and help encourage and affirm a positive and creative message. If you would like to learn about smudging techniques for your home, check out Denise Linn’s famous book “Sacred Space”, visit a workshop at Salt & Stone in Kennett Square, or incorporate what you learn at Street Road Artist’s Space for your own home or workspace. “Space clearing” is an age-old ritual that is popular now, and an novel way to clear out the winter cobwebs and start afresh creatively for the Spring.

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