Two artists in the spotlight at Chadds Ford Gallery
'Summer Nights at Longwood' by Pamela Julian-Smyers.
By John Chambless
Two painters who studied under artist Karl Kuerner are sharing the spotlight at the Chadds Ford Gallery this month. Marie Kirkwood and Pamela Julian-Smyers depict animals with great detail, but their styles diverge just enough to keep the show consistently interesting.
In “Summer Nights at Longwood,” Julian-Smyers depicts the glowing glass orbs and distant plastic-bottle sculptures from the 2012 installation at Longood Gardens, and she captures the otherworldly appeal of the exhibit. Her atmospheric view of paper lanterns hanging in a window overlooking a moonlit winter night (“Studio Dreams”) is another highlight.
Julian-Smyers also shines with her large “Petals and Paper,” a painting of a lantern hanging in a blooming dogwood tree that glows with springtime hues. The light mood of this work is nicely balanced by the riveting gaze of the curly-haired ram in “Tag You're It.” Even in the small scale of “Passing Time,” a still life of bottle caps, a bottle opener and peanuts, Julian-Smyers draws you in to admire the details.
Her large showpiece is “Spooked,” a strong composition of a snowy owl coming straight at you, but there's something more intriguing about the glittering hummingbirds and dangling red jewel in “Make Believe.”
Marie Kirkwood's pantings of animals are meticulously researched, and in pieces such as the peacock portrait “Grace,” she depicts every delicate strand of feather. Her moonlit view of wolves, “Dark Encounter,” is a dramatic composition that has strong backlighting. Her small painting of a monkey on a branch, “Moonlighting (Squirrel Monkey),” is charming in its own little way. Don't miss the lovely texture of the marsh grass in her view of grazing wild horses called “Island Ponies.”
Chadds Ford Gallery (1609 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford) presents "Spirit," by Marie Kirkwood and Pamela Julian-Smyers, through Sept. 28. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.awyethgallery.com, or call 610-388-2412.