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Chester County Press

Contemplating water in all its moods

03/05/2018 10:35AM ● By J. Chambless

'Sycamore Mills' by Peter Quarracino.

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

Looking forward to the arrival of spring, the theme is “Wonders of Water” at the Mala Galleria this month, and it couldn't be more welcome.

The show opened last Friday in the midst of a winter blast, so there is another artists' reception scheduled on March 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. In the meantime, the show has an appealing mix of artists and mediums, highlighted by Peter Quarracino's magical paintings. They are contemplations of water that are almost abstract, but vividly realistic at the same time. “Blue Wind” and “Blown Away” capture wind-rippled water in a symphony of blue-green spots, while “Misty Morning Brandywine” and “Sycamore Mills” are more traditional landscapes that also revel in the reflections on the river.

Sarah Yeoman's watercolors also contemplate the water's surface – dazzling reflected sunlight in the striking “Waterlily World,” and a vivid blue stream in “Tributary.”

In the center of one gallery are clay vessels by Meghan Bergman that recreate layered barnacles in richly textured detail. Bergman also has several wonderfully imaginative tea sets that go beyond function into the realm of art, particularly the wryly titled “You Didn't Really Want Tea, Did You?” that bristles with unwelcoming spikes on the handle and spout. Her fish cups and pitchers are also great fun.

Maryland artist Geraldine McKeown looks at bodies of water and man's construction in her watercolors “Red Sails-Campobello Island,” “St. George's-Venice” and others. Madeleine Kelly shows a series of river views that have expressive, feathery edges that suggest the movement of the water and a breeze stirring the trees.

Rhoda Kahler has a large, multi-piece wall sculpture that looks like the ocean floor, and an earth-toned vessel with that has an ocean-blue glaze on the inside. Mala Galleria owner Corien Siepelinga shows her own “Wandering,” a moody acrylic painting that has a splendid surface and multiple layers of shadowy imagery, suggesting vistas within a complex, dreamy composition.

Portia Mortensen is spotlighted in the front gallery with two large, abstract oils that capture the shimmering blue-green of tropical water, but have intricately worked surfaces that mimic the surface of the water itself.

Jill Beech is represented by two clay vessels that resemble exotic corals. They have wonderful detail, achieved by making hundreds of piercings through the clay.

If you can't wait a moment longer for the soothing calm of wind on the water, this is the show for you.

“Wonders of Water” continues at Mala Galleria (200 E. State St., Kennett Square) through March 31. Call 484-883-5429, email, or visit

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email

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