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Chester County Press

'For the Love of the Sea' is a perfect summertime show

07/06/2018 10:57AM ● By J. Chambless

'Two Guards' by Joseph Sweeney.

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

This is the time of year that thoughts turn to beaches and relaxation, so the new exhibit at the Square Pear Fine Art Gallery in Kennett Square is very welcome. “For the Love of the Sea,” which continues through the end of July, looks at the beauty of nature and the bustle of shore town life with a nice array of styles.

In the front gallery, you can ponder the quiet eloquence of David Eldreth's abstract images that draw you in with their range of possible interpretations. The blending layers of color suggest sea and sky, and they look like hazy memories that have been captured in paint.

Elsewhere, Jack Gianguilio's four splashy watercolors of boats and docks have an appealing looseness and energy, and there's a solitary handmade paper work by John Baker that revels in the texture and glow of water.

Rhoda Kahler's painted stoneware slabs recall the essence of shorelines with elegant simplicity. Her surfaces are richly textured and expressive, particularly “Lands End” and “Quiet,” but “Fog” – a tiny 6-by-6-inch work – has a nice sense of large distance. Jill Beech's pierced clay vessels are a commanding presence. Although uniformly white, they have captivating, coral-like shapes and an array of holes upon holes.

There's a large collection of watercolors by Joe Milligan in one room. Although devoid of people, they register human presence with buoys discarded on the surf line, boat sails behind a sloping dune, and a vast expanse of sky over tiny buildings on a wave-washed point of land.

Joe Sweeney's wall of sunny beach views is delightful. While dark clouds have cleared the beach of swimmers in one painting, leaving only an empty lifeguard chair and a warning flag, elsewhere it's bright and beautiful – particularly the happy little puffball clouds in “Two Guards” and the sweep of bathers, gulls and red-roofed building in “Cape May Point 1.”

Randall Graham is another standout, with the tiny but perfect “Sun Day Umbrella,” a view of chair, umbrella and curling wave; as well as “Her Story,” a contemplative nude that is stunningly well done.

Kevin Cummins has a large selection of beach town etchings that have the vivid contrast and clarity of photographs. Large works such as “Pavilion at 88th Street, Stone Harbor” work just as well as the smaller pieces – “Beach Sitting” and “Beach Towels,” for example.

Carefully selected and impeccably displayed, the works in “For the Love of the Sea” add up to a mini-vacation if you can't make it to the shore this year. Stop by for a visit and you may find yourself slipping into that vacation state of mind.

The exhibition continues through July 31 at the Square Pear Fine Art Gallery (200 E. State St., Kennett Square). Hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit

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

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