By John Chambless
Bryan DeProspero is still a student artist, but his solo show at Bookplace in Oxford proves that he's already something special.
The show of 45 landscapes, titled "A Sense of Place," has a strong focus on Chester County locations. The blue-on-blue reflective water in "Octorara Reservoir" is immediately striking, and there's just enough detail on the shoreline to draw you closer.
In long, horizontal vistas such as "River Span" and "Behind Bookplace," DeProspero gets a panoramic scale that envelops the viewer. "River Span" has beautiful reflective water and stream bank shade, and his view of the decidedly unbeautiful rear of the Bookplace building is made dramatic by the ominous, swirling blue clouds of an approaching storm.
Reflections are also gracefully rendered in "Lily Pond" and "Richie's Pond," which link sky and water with dazzling depth and color.
In works that feature architectural elements, DeProspero shows sharper brushwork, getting a precise rendering of concrete and metal surfaces. In "Electric Factory No. 1" and "Electric Factory No. 2," displayed as a diptych, the buildings -- which are ugly by any usual definition -- are captured with the elegant light of Renaissance cathedrals. "Under the Bridge" imbues another nondescript structure with majesty.
DeProspero has an eye for unusual scenes, such as the industrial waterfront and park walkway in "Penn Treaty Park," and the nondescript curb and trees in "Tasker Street."
Even the smallest works -- "Saniga Creek" or "After the Flood," for instance -- have lovely little details that make them stand out. "Granogue Estate" uses a whitewashed barn wood frame to complement the autumn hues of the scene. Elsewhere, the wide, black frames DeProspero uses perfectly accent his paintings.
He is clearly a gifted artist who is only going to improve. Catch this show -- and its very reasonable prices -- before the rest of the world finds out how good DeProspero is.
"A Sense of Place" continues through Nov. 30 at Bookplace (2373 Baltimore Pike, Oxford). Hours for the bookshop and gallery are Friday from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Call 717-951-6418 or visit www.bookplaceoxford.com.