Art Live: Pushing the boundaries

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"Calling Them In" by Mary Putman

The Delaware Contemporary’s exhibitions push boundaries and offer viewers something out of the ordinary. If you like experimental and edgy art, several of the current shows on view are for you. There is a lot to see and take in so prepare to spend an hour or two browsing the galleries.

In the DuPont I Gallery, see the bold acrylic paintings of “Look to the Land”, a Mary Putman Retrospective. This show opened in November and runs until April 15th, 2020. It covers 50 years of Putman’s career capturing rural Delaware and addresses issues around farming practices and rituals, memory, and her ambivalence toward land development. Of her work Putman says, “The tension between these conflicting memories of happiness and loss is the major theme.” Interestingly, Putman rents a hydraulic lift in order to take photos and draw sketches of the land she wants to capture on canvas. It gives her paintings an impactful aerial perspective. Stand outs are “A Map of the World” and “Calling them In.”

"A Map of the World" by Mary Putman

In the Dupont II Gallery, see “Mind the Gap” a group exhibition by contemporary Chinese female artists. If you haven’t seen it yet, go soon because it ends on January 30th. A stand out show of mixed media works. The title relates to the phrase you may have heard while traveling by train. It cautions pedestrians to look down when stepping onto a train or crossing platforms. This powerful show, curated by Wenlu Bao, covers topics on social roles, identity, memory and diverse cultures. The exhibiting artists are from several generations and include Caroline Chen of Wilmington,  LIN Yan, MENG Du, FENG Bingy, HU Xiaoyuan and XIE Kun. Most visually powerful are the pieces “Before the Dawn” by DU Meng (kiln formed glass, mixed media and tea) “Passing By #2” by LIN Yan (xuan paper, ink, rope, thread, wooden clip) and “You only related with the infinite” (aluminum, cardboard and oil pencil).

"Before the Dawn" by DU Meng

Other exhibitions include “A History of the World – Sort Of” by two of The Delaware Contemporary’s studio artists, Hugh Atkins and Jenna Lucente  which runs through January 27th. “Reconstitute” is an ambitious installation in the E. Avery Draper Gallery where clay is used in unexpected ways by Jacintha Clark and runs through February 23rd.  “Beijing Booster Paintings” is another bold show of large scale acrylic paintings and two mixed media sculptures by the internationally collected artist Peter Wayne Lewis of Beijing, China. Lewis is informed by American Abstract Expressionist painters and inspired by the world of jazz and runs through February 26th.

"Laniakea" (Diptych) by Peter Wayne Lewis

See “Malice’s Restaurant” in the Constance S. & Robert J. Hennessy Project Space where multidisciplinary artist Natalie Hutchings created a wild installation using props like vintage tables, countertops and other disturbing items along with audio and video to create an altered diner and runs through April 15th. Last but not least, enjoy the softer, quieter show of geometric paintings on relativity in “Gesture of Motion” by Haeley Kyong and runs through April 23rd. Open hours are from Tuesday to Sunday. Visit: for all the details.

Don’t forget to put February 7th on your calendar for the next ART LOOP and see new paintings by John Breakey, a group photography show featuring fourteen female luminaries: Lynn Cazabon, Lisa Tyson Ennis, Alida Fish, Bronwen Hazlett, Connie Imboden, Virginia Lockman, Rebecca Parsons, Laurie Beck-Peterson, Amie Potsic, Christine Shank, Jo Smail, Gigi Stoll, Paula Gately Tillman, and Midge Wattles.

Amie Potsic is also exhibiting work in a lobby exhibition titled, “Midnight Mass.” Her recent installations are beautiful in their presentation of silk panels with photographic imagery of trees. About the work, Potsic says, “Looking up at the illuminated silk, a conjured sense of our own scale, akin to what we feel in a cathedral or looking up at the forest canopy, enhances the experience of the artwork and museum’s architecture.”

Diane Cannon on exhibit at Square Pear
Michael McNelly at the Square Pear

Other events worth checking out this week:  In Kennett Square, see Square Pear’s exhibition “Winter Days” featuring artists Michael McNelly, John Pompeo and Diane Cannon among others.

In Abington, “The Solo Series Winter 2020” is on view at Abington Art Center and features installation artist Margaret Pezalla-Granlund, sculptor Patrick Coughlin and painter Robert Arnosky on view through February 22nd.

In Philadelphia, Fleisher/Ollman Gallery’s current exhibition is a must see, but hurry because this show ends on January 25th. It features large scale recreations of famous Philadelphia architecture by the autistic artist Kambel Smith.

Whatever you do this week, support the arts!



About Constance McBride

A native of Philadelphia, Constance McBride lived in Arizona for 16 years, where desert observations made a transformative impact on her work as a research based visual artist. Passionate about contemporary art, she was actively engaged in the local arts community. She served as a board member for several art organizations, managed an artist collective/gallery space, curated and juried several exhibitions and wrote for two arts publications in Phoenix. She taught ceramics at Shemer Art Center and Museum and exhibited her work both locally and nationally. McBride returned to Pennsylvania in 2018 and resides in Chester Springs with her husband and two dogs. In West Chester, she serves as a board member at The Art Trust Gallery at Meridian Bank and teaches ceramics at Chester County Art Association. She also teaches at Clay on Main in Oley, PA. She is a member of American Craft Council, Philadelphia Sculptors, and Women’s Caucus for Art, Philadelphia Chapter.

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