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Chester County Press

Views of the town and city at Mala Galleria

02/05/2018 10:51AM ● By J. Chambless

'Cherry Street' by Teresa Haag.

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

Mala Galleria in Kennett Square opened “Around Town” last weekend, exploring the color, vibrancy and architecture of town and city living. The results are wonderful, and the show has a depth that will reward prolonged browsing.

Right off the bat, there's “Cherry Street,” a museum-worthy, three-panel collage by Teresa Haag that's layered over Chinese newspapers. The little bits of text peek out here and there in the dazzling jumble of signs and red walls. It's a show-stopper. Make sure you read the text panel about the Dave Matthews contribution to the work.

The watercolors by veteran artist Jack Giangiulio are unmistakable, each one a happy dance of tilted rooflines and walls, rendered in lush, vibrant hues that echo the rush and energy of city life.

Rhoda Kahler is a major contributor, with dozens of small stoneware slabs imprinted with letters and shapes and dabs of color to convey city architecture. They work in every scale, from only a few inches wide in “City Block” and “Gear City,” to the monumental, 17-piece “Mist,” which fits together like a jigsaw puzzle to become a room-filling statement piece. Kahler's sculptures – “Bulb,” “Cloud” and “Vessel” – are just as strong, with wonderfully textured surfaces.

Marie Wolfington Jones has a collection of oil paintings of traffic and intersections that are – believe it or not – luminously beautiful. The sheen of the resin coating on them gives the works a startlingly vivid quality, and they command attention.

Sarah Baptist paints in a sketchier, looser style, but finds beauty in the same sort of jumbled suburban sprawl. Her small “Buildings” has an Edward Hopper quality, and her larger paintings of places you might not think are worth capturing – “Yetter's Liquors,” “Lukens Steel” or “Beeman Alley,” for instance – are depicted with loving attention to detail.

Brad Earl, a professional architect from the Chester Springs area, shows his acrylic paintings of historic buildings and vintage movie theaters – both real and imagined – and they are uniformly wonderful. He clearly has a deep love for the way buildings used to be, and his paintings celebrate their timeless style in warm, glowing colors. “Cyclone” is a fabulous view of the vintage coaster, and “The Titanic Grill” finds a humorous juxtaposition of swordfish sign and the model of the Titanic in the window.

Earl's movie palace portraits, “Closed for the Season,” “Late Night at the Globe,” “Afternoon Matinee” and others, are nostalgic views painted with just the right amount of detail. They are masterfully done, and – like many other pieces in this show – will almost beg to come home with you.

Mala Galleria (200 E. State St., Kennett Square) hosts “Around Town” through Feb. 24. Call 484-883-5429 or visit

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