Painters bring the outdoors inside for annual exhibit
By J. Chambless
'Andy's Home' by George Bodine.
By John Chambless
Each year, the Chadds Ford Historical
Society -- situated in the heart of spectacular scenery, historic
barns and homes, and sites previously painted by members of the Wyeth
family -- gets artists from around the region to go out for a blitz
of painting to see what happens.
The result of all that on-site painting fills two rooms at the Chadds Ford Historical Society's Barn Visitors Center through March 14. You get a clear sense of how new these paintings are when you catch the unmistakable scent of wet oil paint in the galleries. It's interesting to see artworks that are so fresh they're not even quite dry.
You will recognize plenty of these places – the Kuerner Farm, for instance – but just as many others will be unknown to you.
Among the strongest groupings are the four oils by George Bodine, whose mature style and confident compositions are immediately captivating. The tiny reflective highlight on a hanging lantern in the barn interior “Hill Girt,” the still water in “Karl's Pond” and the serene isolation of “Andy's Home” put a new twist on Wyeth Country.
Crista Pisano goes very small – only a couple of inches high – in her tiny panoramas of Chester County countryside. They are small in scale but richly evocative of winter chill.
There's an arrestingly vivid barn painting by Kirk Larsen, wryly titled “I'm That Easily Red,” and Valerie Craig's “Rocky Hill” is a slope of brown hillside and the barest suggestion of a winding road. It's subtle but atmospheric.
J. Stacy Rogers has three oils of barns that show great skill with textures and light, and Alison Barry's “Taylor's Auto” captures all the quirky character of the gabled garage.
All the works by 28 artists in the show are for sale, but browsing is free. You'll want to stop by to savor these places that you may pass by every day, but never notice. It's a very rewarding visit.
The 11th Annual Plein Air Art Display continues through March 14 at the Chadds Ford Historical Society (1736 Creek Rd., Chadds Ford). Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 610-388-7376 or visit www.chaddsfordhistory.org.