Art Watch: A full circle collaboration at Mala Gallerie

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By Lele Galer, Columnist, The Times

With so many exciting art openings this Friday April 7th, it will be hard to choose which reception to attend! Before the weekend starts up, you might want to go to The Brandywine River Museum of Art this Wednesday evening to attend Phillips Collection Curator Susan Frank’s discussion of the history of the art at The Philips Collection in Washington DC.

This special lecture is from 6-8pm, and costs $20 for non-members and $15 for members of the museum.   Susan Frank will discuss the famed collector Duncan Phillips and his relationship to the artists featured in the Brandywine River Museum of Art’s current show “From Homer to Hopper”, which is made up of works on loan from The Phillips Collection of Washington D.C., through May 2.

Collaboration artworks by John Baker and Rhoda Kahler at Mala Gallerie.

My favorite pick for this week’s April 7th, First Friday openings is at Mala Gallerie in Kennett Square, which opens “Full Circle” for the month of April, with a reception from 5-8pm. Artists John Baker and Rhoda Kahler collaborate to create ceramic wall and table installations for this exciting new show.

Artist Rhoda Kahler, Mala Gallerie owner Stella Scott, and artist John Baker.

Rhoda Kahler was an art student of John Baker’s while she attended West Chester University in the 1990’s. He inspired her passion for clay, and they have been friends ever since. “Full Circle” refers to starting out working together as student and teacher, and coming together again to work collaboratively, bringing their artistic journey full circle. John Baker, recently retired from WCU, had been teaching at West Chester University for the past 41 years and the last 20 years, he was Chairman of the Art department.

In an interview, John said that Rhoda was “a model student..committed, focused, passionate,” and that as a teacher he loved sharing knowledge, “every teacher should cherish sharing knowledge.” Rhoda responded ” I haven’t stopped learning from him since he taught me in college! He is a continual teacher. It is such an honor to have a show with my mentor and friend. How lucky am I to have this collaborative show with someone who has influenced me so greatly? Throughout our collaborations on this exhibition, he is still teaching me new things… plaster, fiberglass, constructing new forms etc. I will always be his student!”

Coming from a shared passion for clay, a long friendship, and a mutual admiration of each other’s artistic talents, in “Full Circle” both artists learn from one another and create exciting new works that represent their joined creative energies.

Pieces range from large 25 x 25 inches, to very small 6 x 6 inch pieces, priced at $100 each. It will be hard to resist getting a set of them, as each one is completely different, but complement one another very nicely as a wall arrangement. There is plenty of texture, line, color and geometric shape to keep the eye interested, and the choices of each artistic element are well-thought out, so the resulting collaboration is calming, not busy. Both artists are also two of the most friendly, generous people that you will ever meet, so, chat with them at the opening, and buy one of their works to make your own home share in a bit of that creative, friendly spark.

Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery, located just behind Longwood Gardens, at 700 Folly Hill Road in Kennett Square Pennsylvania, features the ceramic art of Laurie Canfield this Saturday April 8th from 2-6pm, and the fascinating photography of Judy Wolinsky on Sunday April 9th, from 2-6pm. Every weekend in April and May, Galer Estate will feature different artists from The Chester County Studio Tour (May 20 & 21). A great way to get a sneak peak of some of the wonderful artists that will be a part of the Studio Tour in May!

The Station Art Gallery in Greenville Delaware shows “New Pastels – Around the Countryside” by local artist Helena van Emmerik-Finn, with an opening Friday April 7 from 5-8pm.

Bad Moon Rising by Torrey Kist, at Blue Streak Gallery in Wilmington.

Also in Delaware Blue Streak Gallery, at 1721 Delaware Avenue in Wilmington, opens “A Line Through Space” exhibition with 2 painters and friends Torrey Kist and Abby Patterson. Patterson and Kist come together to exhibit a selection of non-objective paintings and drawings which share similar formal characteristics of mark, line, and spatial interest.  Both artists are very much in the public eye these days, creating contemporary 2-D environments of color and line that liven up the walls of any modern setting.

Bells of Spring by Terri Morse, Palette and Page Gallery.

Farther afield in Elkton Maryland, The Palette & The Page, an art gallery that combines a love of literature with a love of the visual arts, opens “Volume and Depiction” on Friday April 7th. Leslie Marsh is a book artist who makes exquisite relic-like book covers that are a joy to see and touch, and Terri Morse is a popular watercolor artist who paints traditional pastoral scenes, with evocative colors and a knowing hand. Writer Tom Glenn will be at the opening reception Friday April 7 from 5-8pm, available to sign copies of his newly published novel , Last of the Annamese. Harpist Harmony Mooney will perform during the reception as well, so this art opening will have delights for everyone: art, music, the written word, and of course complimentary food and refreshments. Get in your car and head to 120 East Main Street in Elkton Maryland, for an unusual treat.

Don’t miss Living History/Art Watch Radio WCHE 1520 AM, Wednesday April 5 from 1-1:30pm, where my guest will be steel sculptor Stan Smokler.

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