Art Watch: From Clayworks to Monty Python, all in one week

By Lele Galer, Columnist, The Times

The major art event of the week is happening this Saturday April 1st at the Wayne Art Center with an opening event for two major ceramic shows. The Wayne Art Center, located at 413 Maplewood Avenue in Wayne Pennsylvania, hosts “Ceramic Innovations” with 60+ ceramic artists selected by artist Chris Gustin, as well as “Essential Earth” which is an invitational ceramics exhibition of 25 artists curated by artist and educator Brett Thomas.

Both shows open to the public this Saturday April 1st with a reception from 5-7pm, and a “Meet the artists” discussion event from 3-5pm.

For anyone who has ever played with clay or thrown or coiled a pot, The Wayne Art Center is the place to be this month. “Ceramic Innovations” shows April 1- April 29. The juror, artist Chris Gustin is a well known ceramic artist and art professor who is famous for his beautiful ceramic vessels, and for founding Gustin Ceramics Tile Production in Newcastle Delaware.

In order to select from the many hundreds of artist applicants to the show, Gustin writes, “The pots that I respond to all speak of a clear, direct sense of the hand. The hand is celebrated in the work by its maker… And it becomes a necessary tool for the user in understanding the relationship of the object to its function, and subsequently, to how that object informs one’s life.”

While the show represents ceramics artists from around the world, closer-to-home Pennsylvania artists include: Jill Beech, Anna Chahbandour, Ryan J. Greenheck, Marguerita Hagan, Jennifer Martin, Wendy Liss, Matt Wren, William Sulit, Bruce Eric Riggs, David Ferro and Carly Van Anglen. This will be a ceramic feast for the senses.

Constructed Spiral by Neil Tetkowski

The “Essential Earth” ceramic show, also at The Wayne Art Center, includes 25 ceramic artists curated by artist and educator Brett Thomas. The selected works are both sculptural and functional ceramics that highlight the variety of forms that can be created with earthen clay. The exhibition poster shows “Constructed Spiral” by artist Neil Tetkowski, whose work responds to organic forms, often embedded with fragments of industrial machine objects, that merges the energy of the creative process with the combined “footprint” of man and nature in earth.

“Constructed Spiral” is an energetic swirl of heavy clay, with a metallic glaze, both spontaneous and grounded, lyrical and solid. There is also contemporary industrial pop constructions by VJ Paniker; three re-imagined in clay, rusted oil/paint remover cans that look identical to their real-life counterparts, and force us to look again and again at what is real, what is art, and why the artist chose that subject matter to make us look again.

This Thursday, March 30th painter Stephanie Lieberman will have an artist’s talk at Church Street Gallery in West Chester, where she has a one-woman show. Listen to the artist explain her inspiration and her painterly techniques for exploring her subject matter; food and refreshments abound, as does plenty of lively conversation before and after the chat.

Also this Thursday, from 5:30-7:30, Gallery 222 (at 222 East King Street in Malvern) featured artist Monique Sarkessian will have an art discussion event from 5:30-7:30. Monique will talk about her artwork and do a painting demonstration in the gallery.

Following the painting demonstration, join gallery owner Andrea Strang and fellow artists for an informal meet-and-greet, and enjoy French Champagne and “amuse bouche” by Chef Sylvie – what fun! End the evening with an artist discussion by Monique, who will be discussing her works in the gallery as well as the inspiration that she gleaned from her recent trip to France.

For performing arts news, remember to get your tickets for the premier of the Monty Python inspired hit Spamalot performed by The Resident Theatre Company at the newly renovated Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center in West Chester. This Friday is opening night, followed by a lively opening reception bash to celebrate the big show.

The show continues through April 16th and should be whole lot of fun!

The wonderful Kennett Symphony, directed by Michael Hall, will have a “re-imagined symphony experience” Saturday April 1st at 1pm in the Grand Ballroom of the Mendenhall Inn on Route 52. The theme is “Mendelssohn, Mimosas, and More” , and you can go on-line to get your tickets for $25, or get them at the door for $30. The Kennett Symphony is always a terrific treat, and if you enjoy this experience, please consider supporting this wonderful group with season tickets to their annual lineup of great performances.

The Kennett Symphony is a rare gem that so many people do not know about yet, though it moves every audience to shouts of “Bravo!”

This first weekend in April, Galer Estate Winery kicks off its Artist Pop-up show line-up of 25 artists, showing every Friday -Sunday through the end of May, at the winery location behind Longwood Gardens at 700 Folly Hill Road in Kennett Square.

A painting by John Pompeo, who has a op up event at Galer Estate Winery this weekend.

Most of the 25 artists were selected from the 175 Chester County juried artists who will be participating in the fantastic Chester County Studio Tour May 21-22. Visiting the winery’s pop ups shows are a great way to get a sneak peek at some of the Chester County Studio artists, and see which ones you would like to check out at their studio locations in May. This Friday photographer Robert Lott shows at Galer Estate from 2-6pm, and this Saturday, April 1st, painter John Pompeo has a pop-up shows, also from 2-6pm. Art and wine is a great combination!

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