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Chester County Press

A barn full of art that goes beyond the ordinary

05/26/2016 12:43PM ● By J. Chambless

A landscape triptych by Vicki Vinton.

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

The huge, historic barn on Route 926 in Kennett Square is impressive any time of year, but for one weekend each summer, it's packed with artworks that go well beyond the usual barns-and-bridges stereotype of Chester County art.

“Abstractions,” to be held in the barn at Scarlett Thicket Farm on June 4, is a unique gathering of artists who push the boundaries, and the chance to see their work in one place is an open-ended invitation to explore.

This year's show, hosted by Peter Welling, features paintings, sculptures and mixed-media works displayed against the burnished wood walls of the barn. From 2 to 7 p.m., you can mingle with the artists and discuss their work – or take home a treasure. This year's artists are Denis Beach, Katee Boyle, Dev Devereux, Lele Galer, Eo Omwake, Frances Roosevelt, Stan Smokler, Vicki Vinton and Peter Willard.

Dennis Beach, based in Wilmington, Del., creates multicolored plywood sculptures. Repeating simple geometric shapes in single works of art, the artist creates minimalist sculptures that suggest highly abstracted natural forms and function.

On her website, sculptor Katee Boyle writes that she “is a visual storyteller. Keep in mind, some work is not quite so literal and different readers might not get the same story. That's OK. As long as you get something.”

Galer, a sculptor and painter, writes on her website, “I am an oil and encaustic painter who uses a bright palette and expressionistic brushwork. I am particularly interested in color, mass and texture. My encaustic work uses primarily photographic images that I have taken and incorporated into a deeper world of wax, color and texture. I have been working in welded steel, making abstract sculptures with found and bought steel in relief or standing. My sculptures range in size from 6 inches to 10 feet.”

Omwake, a longtime contemporary artist, writes of his work, “I am conservative, in that I believe in classic painting. Yet, I also believe in pushing the boundaries of what art can be. … Art is about expression.”

Smokler's steel sculptures recall the visual wit and cunning assemblages of Picasso and Gonzalez, as well as the American voices of David Smith and Richard Stankiewicz. Out of these sources, he has developed a unique palette, applying industrial cast-offs, "found objects," to create sculptures which deliberately deny their past history in order to serve a new formal purpose.

Vinton writes, “I like using anything but a brush to apply my materials, and the more tactile the better. It is the touching, scraping, coaxing, and basic unpredictability of it all that I enjoy. … I am intrigued and fascinated with the ideas of time passing. Whether it be an aged piece of paper, caked cracked paint on a board, rusted iron or the late afternoon dappled sunlight in a grove of trees. It all means something has happened and still can. Time is not stagnant.”

The barn at Scarlett Thicket Farm is at 284 W. Street Rd. (Route 926), Kennett Square. From Route 82 going north, turn left at Route 926, and the barn is one mile on the left.

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email jchambless@chestercounty.com.


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