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Chester County Press

Exploring the subtleties of the human form

02/12/2018 11:47AM ● By J. Chambless

'Glance' by Lisa Bartolozzi.

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

The ability to convey the weight and subtleties of the human body, and express something of the personality of the sitter, is one of the foundations for any artist. This month, Bookplace in Oxford is celebrating that tradition with “Any Body,” featuring works by 15 artists.

One of the strongest works, Alex Cohen's painting “Standoff,” is a vertical composition of a woman standing in a bathroom, seen through the open doorway, facing the viewer. Her features are obscured, and she is lit by the glow of the vanity to her left. It's right in all respects.

Ruth Ansel has three studio model pencil sketches that show a mastery of line, and “Seated Figure,” with the model sitting on a stool, facing away from the viewer, has a classical air. It looks ancient due to the mottled paper.

Gillian Pederson-Krag has a masterful etching, “Garden” with a central nude statue in a thicket of slender trees. It has a wonderful tone and reflects a dazzling level of skill.

Acclaimed regional artist Lisa Bertolozzi has two charcoals and an oil that are standouts in the show. The small charcoals “Red Profile” and “J: Front” have a soft-focus photographic quality that's magical. Her oil, “Glance,” captures an introspective, fleeting gaze with tones that recall the work of Renaissance masters.

Dennis Young shows two paintings of models in dramatic, contemplative poses, with skin tones and textures that are powerfully rendered. The pose of the model in Mark Bockrath's “Standing” is expressive, conveying not only her body contours but also a slight edge of timidity. It's a strong piece.

In the center of the gallery space is a seven-figure tabletop sculpture by Harold Kalmus, “Expulsion of the Money Lenders,” that's a technical tour de force and bristles with drama. And the two “Empty Vessel” ceramic sculptures by Marijke van Bucem are serene and voluptuous, expressing the essence of the female form with sensitivity and grace.

“Any Body” continues through March 4 at Bookplace (2373 Baltimore Pike, Oxford). Hours are Friday from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Call 717-715-4775 or visit

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