Mixed Media: Contemporary art and chocolate

When Enough is Never Enough by Sam Whalen on exhibit at Delaware Contemporary

Last Wednesday I ventured out to the Delaware Contemporary for the Robert Straight Q&A which is part of an ongoing series entitled ON ART. Delaware Contemporary hosts this series. Admission is free, and it is open to public.

On this occasion, we were joined by about 30 other art enthusiasts, many of whom were art students at Delaware College of Art and Design, or University of Delaware, in the Constance S. & Robert J. Hennessy Project Space. The room was filled with artists, students those interested in art, young and old, as Robert Straight delved into his inspiration, practice and artistic timeline.

He started the talk by declining the microphone and instead, walked towards the center of the room and unfurled a snakelike paper trail that twirled from his hand all the way down to the floor. Straight explained that prior to the pieces on display in the room, he had worked to cut a piece of paper to create the longest strip possible. He accomplished this feat by winding around and around the sheet with his scissors until the paper was one thin, curling thread. This became the inspiration for his exploration of space and pattern in his work.

On display in the same room, older pieces lined the walls -pieces from when he worked on a standard rectangular frame. Later work followed, in which he painted on custom made curved frames. Two sculptures stood which he created by plastering balloons, stood prominently in the center of the room. One of the sculptures, a sinewy, tan piece which several conic appendages popping off it, he declared was a self-portrait. An excellent and well attended talk, I look forward to attending more of the Delaware Contemporary’s ON ART series.

Delaware Contemporary is open until 5 p.m. on all days except for Wednesdays when the doors stay open until 7 p.m.,  I perused the other galleries. I lingered in the exhibition DOMESTIC: 2017 MFA Biennial in the Marc Ham and Carol Bieber Art Space. This show featured work by regional MFA artists: Ashton Bird, Caroline Hatfield, Courtney Ryan, Hector Rene, Kimberly English, Natalie Hutchings, Sam Whalen, and Taryn Pizza. The energy and vitality of the work captured me as it felt like it had just landed in the art space after all nighters in which they were lovingly created in the studio. I was definitely an art studio night owl, and I continue to find the electricity and magic of art really extends from burning the candle at both ends for an academic critique.

The space was beautifully curated to suit a veritable casserole of different media. In the center of the room, Ashton Bird’s installation “Exterior 2 (Remix)” juts up through the center of the room, as though it has just burst through the floor. Reminiscent of a childhood fort, this piece is made from recycled woods, tin, clays and roofing felt.

Split by Taryn Pizza on exhibit at Delaware Contemporary

Other pieces included a photography series by Hector Rene Membreno, (MFA at Hunter College in New York) “An Index of Patriotic Consumption,” which toyed with a pop dialogue between advertising and the military. Taryn Pizza, an MFA candidate at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, created a playful installation entitled “Split”. The piece features a door against the vertical wall and then an outlined shadow of said door on the floor.

I was personally struck by local University of Delaware MFA candidate, Sam Whalen’s series, “Enough Is Never Quite Enough”. Comprised of satin acrylic medium, acrylic paint, iridescent pigment powders, glitter, dye, GAC 800, these paintings are presented playfully as laundry pinned to a clothes line. These three clothes like paintings feature warped, violently enthusiastic faces which appear to be talking to each other. The flesh tones, occasionally punctuated by oddly appealing red blemishes and black outlines, stand out against the nearly translucent background. This exhibition is up until March 18th, and I’d suggest checking it out as it has something for all those who appreciate contemporary art.

Birches by Marlene Dubin on exhibit at Station Gallery

Station Gallery will be reopening its doors after the post-holiday hiatus on February 2nd for their Winter Group Show featuring Marlene Dubin, Elain Lisle, and Mary Ann Weselyk. This show runs the gamut with abstract work, oil landscapes, and still life paintings. Join Station Gallery in welcoming these artists at their First Friday Wine and Cheese Opening Reception on February 2nd from 5 - 8pm. This exhibition runs through February 24th.

As far as closings, Beverly Bruns’ exhibition, “Keeping It Real, Colors of The East Coast” at the Exton Studio of Chester County Art Association will be closing this Saturday, January 27th. Check it out before it’s gone!

This week, I will be hosting Art Watch Radio on WCHE 1520AM from 1:00 to 1:30 p.m. Occasionally, I’m allowed to slip into the station and try my hand at interviewing wonderful regional artists. This week, I will be interviewing my dear friend Estelle Tracy creator/blogger for 37 Chocolates on the Art of Chocolate. As we are both regulars at Philter Coffee (the office of choice for Kennett writers), I have had the pleasure of learning more about her career as a professional chocolate critic, yes chocolate critic. If I hang around long enough, sometimes even get to taste whatever she’s writing about at the moment. I can’t wait for this interview, and I hope you can join us tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Caroline Roosevelt

Caroline​ ​Roosevelt​ ​is​ ​a​ ​writer​ ​and​ ​artist​ ​based​ ​in​ ​Kennett​ ​Square,​ ​PA.​ ​She​ ​received​ ​her​ ​B.A.​ ​in Art​ ​History​ ​from​ ​Connecticut​ ​College​ ​and​ ​a​ ​Post​ ​Baccalaureate​ ​certificate​ ​from​ ​Pennsylvania Academy​ ​of​ ​Fine​ ​Arts.​ ​She​ ​has​ ​previously​ ​written​ ​art​ ​coverage​ ​in​ ​Seattle,​ ​WA​ ​and​ ​Philadelphia, PA.​ ​She​ ​currently​ ​co-hosts​ ​Art​ ​Watch​ ​radio​ ​on​ ​1520​ ​WCHE.

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