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Chester County Press

‘Poetry of the Body’ celebrates the human form

04/09/2019 09:42AM ● By J. Chambless

‘Love of Summer’ by John Slivjak.

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

There’s plenty to like in the Square Pear Fine Art Gallery’s new “Poetry of the Body” exhibition, but chiefly it’s Olga Nielsen who claims first place, both in the amount of her work on view, and its supreme skill, whether in pastel, bronze or terra cotta.

Nielsen fills a whole room with nearly 30 works – from the understated but just right pencil study, “Pensive,” to the unguarded, reflective expression of the subject of “Heather,” to the lovely sculpture “Summer Night,” in which a sleeping woman has kicked off the sheet covering her, leaving it clinging only to her calves.

“Midnight Message,” in which the subject is glancing down at her cellphone, takes the classical nude into the present day, but all of Nielsen’s nude pastels are elegantly and sensitively done.

In the front gallery, Al Moretti has three eye-grabbing paintings of ballet dancers that capture the heat and energy of performance, much like his vibrant portraits of musicians seen in past Square Pear shows.

Rob Sigafoos does wonders with car parts in “94 Dodge,” reimagining them as a sketch done in metal – the essential elements of the figure depicted with sparing elegance.

John Slivjak’s beach scenes radiate summer heat and light, particularly the exquisitely chosen highlights in “Love of Summer,” which shows figures in the surf on a perfect day. There’s also a wonderful warm tone to the skin of the beachgoers in “The Lifeguard.” Slivjack’s nude oil, “Laura,” is another masterpiece of light and skin tones, with the subtlest reflected light on skin bringing the reclining figure to life.

Marianne Tebbens shows a series of clay female torsos that are sensuous and tactile, particularly the cloth textures she achieves. There are intriguing underlying messages to them, especially the one covered with slender snakes, and the one being embraced – or smothered – by multiple hands. In any case, they are a strong grouping, and they leave an impression.

“Poetry of the Body” continues through the end of April at the Square Pear Fine Art Gallery (200 E. State St., Kennett Square). Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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