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Chester County Press

Gallery show draws local artists and barn swallows

06/01/2015 01:48PM ● By J. Chambless

Art patrons flocked last Saturday to 'Abstractions,' a show featuring the works of nine local artists, held at the Scarlett Thicket Farm in Kennett Square.

By Richard L. Gaw
Staff Writer

At “Abstractions,” the annual exhibit hosted by Peter Welling at his Scarlett Thicket Farm in Kennett Square on May 30, there were very few of the trappings of a typical art gathering. 
First off, the event was held in a barn with a stunning view of endless gardens, not a white-walled, over-lit gallery. Rather than flaky pastries filled with goat cheese served by a waiter, a hot dog vendor doled out franks with unlimited helpings of mustard, ketchup and sauerkraut. Instead of walking to and from paintings and photographs balancing flutes of champagne, they carried bottles of beer. Instead of a jazz ensemble in full tuxedo regalia playing in a corner, the background music was front-and-center guitar and banjo.
As an added lack of pretension, barn swallows flitted in and out, slightly disturbed by the fuss being made.
“It's a really good party, with some high-end art,” Welling said. “These old barns are useless as an ag facility, so they're being morphed into party barns. I guess you could say that this gallery show is a parody of your typical art opening, so we have hot dogs, chicken wings and a trunk full of beer.”
About the only similarity with other, more refined art gallery openings was the art itself, showcased on the walls of the barn and in its open space by some of the leading photographers, sculptors and artists in the area. “Abstractions” featured the work of artists Terry Anderson, Dennis Beach, Karen Gowen, Gerald Harris, Mia Muratori, Frances Roosevelt, Stan Smokler, Vicki Vinton and Peter Willard.
For Muratori, an abstract painter whose studio is in Wilmington, being at Welling's show was a first. 
“Being in Peter's beautiful venue was a major reason for me to be here, as well as the fact that I have great respect for the other artists in the exhibit,” she said. “When I look at the walls of the barn, it makes me feel like I'm a contemporary cave painter. What most artists want is some kind of human communication, so that's really where it all starts. There's nothing pretentious about that, and that's what we have here.”
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail [email protected].