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Chester County Press

Oxford Arts Alliance opens season with 'Through Your Looking Glass'

01/24/2017 01:04PM ● By J. Chambless

'Brandywine River Museum' by Randall Graham.

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

The theme of the new exhibit at the Oxford Arts Alliance, “Through Your Looking Glass,” has brought in plenty of paintings of windows, but the variety of styles and subject matter is well balanced.

Walter Leis has a pastel, “East Quoddy Light Through the Fresnel Lens,” that shows a red-roofed building viewed in diagonal slices, giving the image vitality and freshness. It seems to reassemble itself as you look from one edge to the other.

Tracey Rothenberger is the spotlighted artist in the show, and “Farm Table” has a distinctly Carolyn Wyeth air about it, with velvety surfaces and an unusual through-the-window viewpoint.

John Sauers gets at issues of life and death in the sketchy charcoal and chalk “Transcendent.” And “Passage,” by Judy Petersen, is an arresting tangle of intermingled gray shapes with a central section that coalesces subtly as an alley between buildings. It's a very effective painting that challenges and then rewards you with remarkable details.

Randall Graham's “Brandywine River Museum” is a tour de force rendering of raindrops on glass, with the distinctive red brick museum seen, slightly out of focus, beyond. Graham gets extra credit for going so large with the work, making each drop and rivulet that much more demanding to paint.

Joe Milligan's watercolor, “Kitty Hawk,” catches an intriguing architectural detail of crazily overlapping shutters on an old house; and Milligan's “Star Barn” is a gray-black arched window, weathered siding and creeping vine that, at first glance, looks like a photograph.

Carole Huber deserves applause for her innovative use of strips of cloth in “Portals to Distant Universes,” a large, swirling collage that succeeds on several levels.

Among the photos, Anita Bower's series of the second floors of buildings in downtown Oxford is a nice grouping, and will inspire you to look up the next time you're walking downtown.

There's a subtle mood of melancholy in “Silver Garden Selfie” by Deborah Allen, in which visitors taking a photo in the beautiful Longwood indoor garden look almost lost in shadow. Tracey Grumbach's photo, “I'll leave the Window Open for You,” suggests a story with two pairs of shoes sitting outside a second-floor window.

Richard Greenwood's “Patience is a Virtue” is an image of a cat on a windowsill that has immaculate composition and a satisfying color palette. Likewise, Helen Wagner's view of a sleeping chamber at Ephrata Cloister masterfully manages a tricky lighting situation, and conveys both comfort and stillness.

Tracey Grumbach's digital photo, “There Are Joys That Long To Be Ours,” a hazy view of three crows on a roof, has a memorable, dreamlike quality.

“Through Your Looking Glass” continues at the Oxford Arts Alliance (38 S. Third St., Oxford) through Feb. 11. Visit

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