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Chester County Press

A summer getaway in Kennett Square

07/15/2019 02:16PM ● By J. Chambless

'Day at the Beach' by John Slivjak.

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

There’s a clear summer light throughout the Square Pear Gallery in Kennett Square this month as part of the current show, “A Day at the Beach.”

In the front room, Liz Finley’s large expanses of sky blue and curling surf set the perfect mood. They would be shimmering centerpieces in anyone’s collection, but they just set the stage for the diverse show.

Joe Milligan’s gray-toned watercolors of off-season, or cloudy, beach days strike a contemplative mood. Milligan’s “Morning Set-Up” is a summertime view of a family’s belongings placed on an empty beach, awaiting the arrival of people.

West Chester artist Catherine Quillman shows a collection of small, square views of long-ago beach scenes and quaint cottages that are charming in a cartoony way, packed with lovely details. Lisa Budd’s underwater watercolors of fish have a fascinating depth and a sense of swirling currents, in addition to their striking blue tone.

David Eldreth’s five small, open-ended abstracts could be beach views, if you choose to see them as such. Kevin Cummins shows eight etchings of contemporary resort towns, such as “Beach at Bethany,” which is a brilliant depiction of people, surf and sky. “Steel’s” captures the retro architecture of a boardwalk salt water taffy stand.

John Slivjak’s glowing oils of people in the surf have glistening highlights and sun-baked colors that flawlessly evoke the sensations of swimming and sunning.

In a different medium, Alejandro Lemus shows several nautical-themed bronzes of mermaids and whales that combine form and movement in masterful ways.

The show as a whole reflects a careful selection process, and the impeccable eye on color, media and styles gives “A Day at the Beach” very well-rounded appeal. It’s the best way to visit the shore right here in Chester County – and you can do it without sunblock.

“A Day at the Beach” continues through July 31 at the Square Pear Fine Art Gallery (200 State St., Kennett Square). Call 484-883-5429.

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It’s always good to foster the arts in young people, and the “Empowering Youth” exhibit at the Oxford Arts Alliance is doing just that this month. The show recognizes the work of the Garage Youth Center locations in Kennett Square and West Grove.

A pencil portrait by student Brittney Bautista

 The Garage locations provide after-school and youth development programs. Leading the exhibition is Brittney Bautista, who has seven pieces in the show. Bautista is in 11th grade at Kennett High School, and clearly shows artistic promise in her expressive portraits and in a finely rendered still life of berries done in colored pencil.

Elsewhere, the show is a mix of work by students who have taken part in Garage programs, examining themes in art history through their own original work. It’s an interesting idea for an exhibition, showing the creative spark in the region’s youth, and possibly giving an important boost to an artist of the future.

The Oxford Arts Alliance (38 S. Third St., Oxford) hosts the “Empowering Youth” exhibit through Aug. 9. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. visit www.oxfordearts.org.

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

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