Skip to main content

Chester County Press

Dreamy abstract paintings invite you to linger

02/19/2018 09:26AM ● By J. Chambless

'No. 40' by David Eldreth.

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

David Eldreth's solo exhibit at the Oxford Arts Alliance is a big showcase for his open-ended and dreamy abstract paintings, which are about as far as possible from the traditional pottery he produced over his long career.

These contemplations of sky, earth and horizon – or whatever else they suggest to you – work in all sizes, from the smaller format, about the size of an LP cover, to the sort of statement pieces that would be the focal point of even the biggest room.

They work so well because they allow each viewer to make a connection with a place or a memory. Some people might see distant mountains under a brooding sky, while others could see a stormy ocean. And Eldreth isn't giving any clues. The works are merely numbered, not titled.

You will have your own favorites, but the ones that struck me the most are No. 34, a midnight blue scene with a lighter jagged line to the left that recalls surf breaking on a shore. Then there's No. 9, a huge panel, again in dark blue, that has a lighter horizon, a soaring sky, and a smudge of darker gray that suggests drifting smoke from a bonfire. Or whatever you'd like it to be.

Some of the skies are vividly colored pink or red, and not representational, but visually pleasing and dramatic nonetheless.

The more grounded-in-reality works include No. 6, an earth-toned ground overlaid with heavy clouds; and No. 35, a rare sunny view with a white cloud over a golden ground. No. 40 is a large work with a white smudge on the right that, to me, is a beach house. Except, of course, it isn't – it's a splotch of lighter color.

It's a testament to the appeal of these dreamscapes that you see more in them the longer you look. You'll need to bring your imagination to this show, but you'll be rewarded with maybe a dozen little trips to your favorite places. Silent, calm and introspective, these paintings are a soothing balm for hectic daily life.

Art by David Eldreth continues on view at the Oxford Arts Alliance (38 S. Third St., Oxford) through March 10. Eldreth will discuss his work on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. in the gallery. Hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended hours on the first and third Fridays of the month until 8 p.m. Visit www.oxfordart.org.

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

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Chester County's free newsletter to catch every headline