Art Live: Bold portraits at the Square Pear

Al Moretti is in the spotlight at Square Pear Gallery in Kennett Square this month. While Moretti’s musical and artistic accomplishments stretch back to the 1970s, these days he is creating exciting new works in acrylic, painting musical icons who have influenced his life and career. You’ll see many of his bold portraits in gallery owner Corien Spiepelinga’s main gallery space on East State Street, including a striking portrait of Civil Rights activist Dr. Martin L. King. There’s a connection here. King declared once that jazz was the ability to take the “hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph.”

Brownie by All Moretti at Square Pear Gallery

Fans of Moretti’s work won’t be disappointed. Portraits of major performing artists are on view, including a striking one of the larger than life jazz great, Miles Davis and of a local great Clifford “Brownie” Brown, considered by many musicians and scholars to be the most brilliant trumpet player of his generation and a true legend of modern jazz. For Moretti performing and visual art is forever intertwined, “When I play music I think of color, and when I paint I think of sound. Sound is light heard, and light is sound seen.” Works will be on view through the end of the month. The rest of the gallery’s space is filled with plenty of winter themed works by local artists including Jack Giangiulio, Michael McNelly, Barbara Grant, Kim Hoechst, Karen Weber and more. A generous collection of pottery made by local artists Bridget Hughes, Suzanne Kent, Victoria Kavalerov, Jacqueline Henisee, and Hope Mead is also on view. Visit here for more details.

Tapestry Room by Jane Irish at Locks Gallery

In Philadelphia, Jane Irish’s contradictorily beautiful new “Tapestry Paintings” are on view beginning today at Locks Gallery. Central to this new exhibition, the works are made of oil and distemper on hand-stitched linen and muslin.  Irish has long been interested in anti-war protest, in fact, since she was 16 and a student at the Barnes Foundation, stating at one time in an article, “All artists have this one thing that they are trying to make more relevant to our present history – mine is to show the continued relevance of resistance and peace movements from the Vietnam War era.”

The press release states, “With paint and fabric, Irish creates narratives that borrow images of pain and suffering from masterpieces like Caravaggio’s The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist while using a mainly soft, pastel palette. A prolific and self-described “history painter” Irish said this about her work, “I think of myself as a sort of international regionalist, finding the history of Philadelphia, and then letting that history lead me around the world.”

Glazescape 20.01 by Lauren Mabry

Also on view are new ceramic pieces: architectural “finial” ceramic sculptures and a group of ceramic vessels which are loaded with narratives and motifs. As in her paintings, Irish says, “My work constitutes a reflection on paradoxes of decoration and political order. One can be oblivious to what is contained in the wallpaper or on a vase, but one does so in unrealistic detachment from the world. It is all right there is front of us, but not easy to see.” Her intent in critiquing the patriarchy while also trying to correct the paternalism she sees in decorative arts always results in fascinating work. The exhibition will be on view through March 27th by appointment only. Email for more information and to schedule a visit.  For more details on the show, visit here.

Other events worth checking out: Ceramic enthusiasts may want to tune in for this week’s Lunch & Learn at The Clay Studio. The guests are local ceramic artist Lauren Mabry and Leslie Ferrin, Director of Ferrin Contemporary (situated on the campus of Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art). Visit here to join in this Thursday, February 25th at 12 noon.

Be sure to save the dates: The 72nd Annual Chadds Ford Art Show & Auction is coming up. This year the show will be a virtual online auction held from March 18th to March 21st. Artists, as usual, will showcase a variety of works that satisfy every taste and budget.  More on this in a few weeks.

Whatever you do this week, support the arts!!




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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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