Art Live: Focus on women

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Katee Boyle's Studio
"Memory Dress and Rosary" by Katee Boyle

This May, Mother’s Day wasn’t the only day on the calendar slated to celebrate women. On May 15th and 16th Scarlett Thicket Farm in Kennett , is celebrating the art of four women. Katee Boyle’s Scarlett Forge Studio is situated on the property and Boyle is hosting fellow artists Leah Wells, Lauren E. Peters and this columnist. Be prepared to see an eclectic array of art in this lovely location. See Studio #53 on the Chesco Studio Tour map.

Boyle has spent the last year working in the studio while simultaneously managing her busy household.  She’s not only been preparing for the tour but is also getting ready for a solo exhibit later this year in Philly. When asked about what she’s been working on she said, “I am closing out my fifth year at Scarlett Thicket with the timing of this studio tour so it serves as of dual reason for me to share and celebrate new work prime for exhibit.

Timescapes II by Constance McBride

As the host, there is no coincidence that the barn gallery will be curated with the work of four very powerful artists sharing personal yet very universal narratives. The rich history and aesthetics of what I consider to be one of the most bucolic settings in Chester County makes for a dream-like backdrop to realize an artist’s work. I am honored that these artists accepted my invitation to join me this year.” Boyle uses a variety of materials and techniques to create visual narratives which on the surface seem sweet and nostalgic. Take a closer look though and you’ll notice it’s really an examination of the messiness of life. Boyle reflects on universal themes: life cycles and life quakes. About her choices for this event, Boyle added, “I will be sharing dioramas exhibiting some materials that are new to me and am thrilled that Carlos Alejandro is again joining me in collaboration to extend my narratives through the medium of photography and his inventive processing and finishing techniques. There will be so much more than meets the eye and I hope many will come out to look.” For more about Boyle, visit here.

Work by Leah Wells

Photographer Leah Wells spent last year exploring and developing processes using indigo, oxidized metal and handmade paper. A self-described late bloomer, Wells is a multi-talented artist these days but a creative life was on hold for many years while she raised her girls and held down a career in business. “This is my third act; playing piano, songwriting, fine art, photography and making all started seriously for me after the age of 45. It has been part of me all along and I have always dabbled but I never truly gave myself the permission to explore it in a meaningful way.” Asked what 2020 has taught her, Wells said, “It’s taught me that time is a gift...the greatest gift perhaps. An unexpected year to explore new techniques in a concentrated way without the constant demands and distractions of a workplace environment. And, for realizing how truly creative and productive I can be when I have some time to myself.” In addition to the studio tour, Wells has a collaboration coming up in September. See more of her haunting, ethereal images by visiting her on Instagram here and her website here.

"self-portrait (prey)" by Lauren E. Peters

Lauren E. Peters normally works out of studio 2A-1 at The Delaware Contemporary (TDC). The painter is quickly becoming known for her wildly colorful self-portrait series which were featured in a previous Art Live column. While the past year had its challenges, it taught Peters to stop making excuses. “I’ve learned to not make them, or as many of them, in terms of creating the paintings I want to make. I stopped saying that I wanted to do things but didn’t because I didn’t have the time.”   When asked about artists who sparked her interest in portraiture Peters said, “I started painting self-portraits after seeing a piece in a magazine by Chantal Joffe. She has been my North Star in all of this. When I was in college I absolutely adored Cindy Sherman, and I love when people ask me if I was influenced by Sherman. It was a number of years between these things but I like the idea that she was planted in there somewhere.”  Peters will be showing work again at TDC in July. For more about Peters and her work, visit here.

Other locations for the tour nearby include but are not limited to Diane Hulse with Jill Haas (#50), Linda Benrdt with Elizabeth Breakell, Pat Scarano and Robin Sesan, (#51), Lisa Fedon (#52) and Rachael Calderin (#54).  For full list of studios on the Chester County Studio Tour visit here.

Another event worth checking out this weekend is a must see show opening on Friday, May 14th at Somerville Manning Gallery (SMG). Featuring some heavy hitters of the art world, it’s partially titled after a great book published in 2018. “9th Street Women and Their Legacy” includes works by Elaine de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner, Grace Hartigan and Joan Mitchell, along with contemporary artists Marie Theres Berger, Mary Page Evans, Cheryl Levin, Melissa Meyer and Bill Scott. Visit here for more details.

 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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