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Chester County Press

Exploring layers of grey in solo show by Vicki Vinton

04/20/2015 11:12AM ● By J. Chambless

The gallery at Bookplace in Oxford is devoted to Vicki Vinton's abstract works this month.

The associations and connections you make with Vicki Vinton's show of abstract paintings at Bookplace in Oxford come gradually, in fragments, as you pick out identifiable shapes or gestures in the richly layered works and try to get your bearings.
There is indeed a lot of grey in the show, titled “Fifty Shades of Grey … And Red and Green,” but that doesn't diminish the impact of the works. If anything, the muted color palette forces you to look deeper.
The pieces done on panels have splendid surfaces – crackled, overlapped, splotched and scratched – that recall ancient frescoes. 
In the blue-toned work “High 5,” you can see the shadow of a hand. In “Ahoy,” you can pick out the shapes of boat hulls – but they could just as easily be little seascapes, rendered as if through the haze of memory.  “In the Wake” and “Blush” are earth-toned and have fascinatingly complex surfaces.
The works on canvas lack the almost sculptural element, but “Circus” suggests the tumult of a ferris wheel or three-ring spectacle, and “Tax Man” is an expressive little portrait in which the telling details are etched into the surface of the grey-on-grey paint.
“Moon” is a complete departure -- a smooth and sinuous composition on a wood panel that suggests mountain shadows and the inky vastness of space. But are we on the moon, looking toward a tiny dot of Earth, or are we on Earth looking at a tiny moon? Vinton isn't saying, and that's the allure of this uncompromising exhibit. You're given just enough of the familiar as a welcome, but then you're left to free-associate as you get lost in Vinton's endless swoops, swirls, spatters and etched lines that only lead you to further discoveries.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” continues through May 15 at Bookplace (2373 Baltimore Pike, Oxford). The gallery and book shop is open Friday through Sunday. Visit

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, e-mail [email protected].