Art Watch: First Friday

Dylan Gauthier highwatermarks video Brandywine River Museum of Art

First Fridays every month are always a frenzied and fun art event throughout the county, but this First Friday is particularly packed with art as it kicks off the holiday gift giving season.  This Friday, start in Kennett Square with the First Friday Art Loop, November Art Loop in Kennett November 3 from 6 to 9 p.m. Most every store in Kennett Square will highlight the work of a local artist, with food, wine and music, Kennett Square is a great place to be on Friday November 3!

The remarkable abstract paintings of local artist Torrey Kist will be showing at Philter Coffee this First Friday. With the best coffee and ambiance around, Philter is a great place to grab a delicious coffee or hot chocolate and start your art adventure through Kennett Square. Also of note are the "Pop up Salons" where various chosen apartments are turned into mini galleries. Go to the Historic Kennett website to find details about the pop-up salons and artists of November's Art Loop Kennett Square www.Historickennettsquare.com.

Sacred Hart by Lynnette Shelley Mala Galleria

Mala Galleria opens a new show opening this First Friday with the paintings of Lynette Shelley, who paints very strong almost graphic depictions of animals and birds that resonate with mythic and spiritual undertones. Lynnette's paintings bring to mind Celtic myth, with their measured design elements that enwrap a central animal figure. Well painted and delineated, her paintings are more than decorative and have a spirit and energy all their own.

I have bought several of her paintings as gifts, and you might check out her latest works and see if they resonate with you as well!  In the back gallery at Mala Galleria, you will see the works of several other fine local artists- there is always an artwork that appeals to someone's heart at Mala Galleria!  Venture across the street to check out Salt and Stone, one of my favorite art and locally made gifts store, as well as Metamorphosis Wellness Center that has super cool jewelry, artwork  and ceramics with a healthy and happy new age vibe.

Sending out a "Cheers" to Kennett Square's most celebrated artist, Robert Jackson, who has an important one man show in Gallery Henoch in New York City through the month of November.  In all, 22 large scale Robert Jackson paintings will be shown, featuring his lively animated still life creations of balloon animals, gumballs, vintage crates and interactive vegetables. A visual delight that brings a smile; rekindling childhood memories and setting a stage with juxstapositioned pop imagery, toys and iconic graphics, Bob Jackson's works are internationally collected and we are lucky to have his base camp right here in Kennett Square. In his new studio location, he has set up an ever changing window display that mimics his paintings, sure to delight every passer-by.  Stay tuned on November 15th from 1 to 1:30 p.m. when I will be interviewing Robert Jackson, artist Mark Dance and Mala Galleria owner Stella Scott on Art Watch Radio, WCHE 1520, to chat with them about their new shows.

The Station Gallery at 3922 Kennett Pike in Greenville Delaware opens its newest  show this Friday November 3, and ending  November 25.  The First Friday artist reception is 5 to 8 p.m. this Friday. The featured artist is painter Laura McMillan, who paints brightly patterned, whimsical furniture and framed paintings.  Working in a variety of media on a variety of surfaces, the artist has a light touch, with lyrical swirls of paint in pleasing colors.

Three Bays by Jon Redmond at the Somerville Manning Gallery

Just a few minutes from Station Gallery is the famous Somerville Manning Gallery which featured the paintings of Jon Redmond in "Recent Paintings" through November 11. Jon Redmond is a revered local painter of everyday scenes, with the quiet of a still life, he draws attention to the minimal objects in a scene, the angles and the light; Jon Redmond is "an artist's artist" with admirers and students throughout the art world. Somerville Manning Gallery is located at 101 Stone Block Road in Greenville Delaware, open until 5 p..m on Friday and until 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

If you would like to hear some very interesting artist talks this week, check out The Brandywine River Museum of Art where on November 1 video installation artist Dylan Gauthier discusses his amazing wall to wall ongoing museum video/audio installation at 6 p.m. and November 5th at 3 p.m. join the delightful Ana Vizcarra Rankin for a chat with Patricia Guardiola, Assistant Head of the historic Fisher Fine Arts Library at the University of Pennsylvania. If you have not been to the recent shows at the Brandywine you really must check them out! These are exhibits never before seen in our area, nor ever in our own Brandywine River Museum of Art. It really is quite exciting.

Ana-Vizcarra-Rankin-paintings Brandywine River Museum of Art

The top floor has a wonderful small exhibition space devoted to new gifts and acquisitions by the museum. The works are hung beautifully and there are some major stunners, including an image of Andy Warhol and one of Frolic Weymouth, both by Jamie Wyeth, as well as two mesmerizing NC Wyeth paintings and "Queen Anne's Lace" by Frolic Weymouth that is exquisite.

On the lower floor is a pop up painting installation by contemporary painter  Ana Vizcarra Rankin, where large unstretched canvases are painted with circles and notations with a nod to the heavens.  My understanding is that Executive Director Thomas Padon was talking with the Philadelphia Contemporary Director, and that the Philadelphia Contemporary had a show without a space for a month, and the Brandywine River Museum of Art had a space without a show for a month, and "tada!" this innovative pop up was born. Let's hope that they continue pop-ups of contemporary living artists - whether you like the work or not, it makes you think and react, and gives us all a needed nudge in the ribs that the arts are alive and happening all around us.

The other awesome new show at The Brandywine River Museum of Art  is the video/audio installation by artist in residence Dylan Gauthier. What was previously a gallery filled with a sublime Andrew Wyeth retrospective now has floor to ceiling videos that encompass two long walls. A few videos play simultaneously from different vantage points of the same area, that is our area of Pennsylvania. I initially walked in during a long passage that covered some farm area in Lancaster, which brought about a very dulled reaction from me. then it changed to a winter scene with the sounds and visuals of (to me) oppressive Chester County winter.

The images combined with the surround sound really bring out a visceral response, loving it or hating it! I popped back in when I heard water, and then I was hooked. Somehow the artist got cameras in the Brandywine River, and there was rapidly flowing water all around the room, energetic, delightful, powerful and captivating. I walked out absolutely floored. In just minutes I had gone through a huge range of emotional reactions to "place" that are completely subjective. Wow. Now that is a successful piece of art!  To look at something that we see every day and by cranking up the volume on the sound and visual space, our emotional reactions to place are accentuated. Arty or just for fun, any visitor will delight in this new video/audio installation, and a sincere "Bravo" to the Brandywine River Museum of Art for bringing this exciting art to us all, while enlivening our appreciation for their outstanding permanent collection.

Thomas Padon at Oxford Arts Alliance

Speaking of Thomas Padon, Executive Director of The Brandywine River Museum of Art, he spent the past weekend at Oxford Art Alliance as the juror for their Annual National Juried Art Show. If you missed his Sunday discussion of how he juried the art, awarded prizes, and sees art in general, then you really missed something amazing. Heads up, whenever an art museum or art association has a huge annual show, they pick a juror that has a unique and studied eye that we can all learn from. It doesn't matter whether you win or not (though winning is very sweet), to hear a discussion regarding a contemporary artwork with a gut reaction from someone with an extraordinarily keen eye is a huge treat.  I have seen many of these juror talks, and they are always fascinating and they always reveal the personal passion and active art eye of the juror, someone who has spent their lifetime devoted to the arts. Bravo to the Oxford Arts Alliance for creating such a terrific show (running through November 10) and to Thomas Padon for generously giving of his time and brilliant insight to this local art event. It was absolute art pleasure.

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About Lele Galer

Lele Galer is an 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.

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