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The Contemporary Eye

January 28, 2005 - May 8, 2005


The James A. Michener Art Museum in New Hope, Pennsylvania announces The Contemporary Eye, featuring the work of twelve Bucks County artists working in a variety of styles and media. From abstract to realist, in paintings, sculpture, and collage, these artists offer an exciting survey of the local arts scene today. The Contemporary Eye opens January 28, 2005 and runs through May 8, 2005 in the Museum's Carol and Louis Della Penna Gallery in New Hope.

"The continued vitality of the creative community in our area is part of what makes it a unique and nourishing place to be," Museum Director Bruce Katsiff says. "This exhibition is part of Museum's commitment to supporting and highlighting the important contributions of the many artists working here today."

Doylestown artist Judith Heep's work combines the abstract with the seemingly real, such as animals or people with fields of color, in a mixed-media format. She begins by casting her own paper from molds, achieving a different texture and color each time, and creating unique 'prints' embellished with painting, drawing, stitching, and collage. (right: Judith Heep, Eight Dogs, 2000, cyanotype and oil stick on handmade paper, H. 15 x W. 14.5 inches)
In his acrylic paintings, Robert Ranieri of Kintersville suggests both the density of architecture and open areas, which are at times flooded with warm or cool light. From his training as a classical singer, he imparts to his canvases shapes and organization of color that intentionally mimic sound, especially that of the human voice.
Solebury artist Mavis Smith uses a painting process of semi-transparent layers of egg tempera to gracefully hint at narratives that are never fully explained. Her figures at first glance appear ordinary - until, upon closer inspection, we see bizarre elements such as gills on a human face, or a devotional frame surrounding a nude woman, that cause us to reconsider.
Mixed-media artist Marilyn Gordley of Pipersville works in a semi-abstract style. Her paintings often tell the story of her life, including her unusual portraits in which the faces sometimes protrude from the canvas in a bas relief fashion. Viewers find a personal connection to her subjects, and often impose their own stories onto the scenes. (left: Marilyn Gordley, Portrait, acrylic, H. 29.5 x W. 29.5 inches)
A powerful portrayal of our society's disenfranchised infuses Trenton-based Susan Twardus' works both charcoal drawings and paper sculptures with a noble sadness. Her figures, in their genteel shabbiness, evoke empathy rather than judgment. Of special interest are the sculptures in which figures rise from a stack of New York Times newspapers that form the pedestal.
A Moscow native now living in Lambertville, NJ, Valeriy Belenikin is an academy-trained draftsman. His humorous, sometimes biting observations of the human condition peer behind the elaborate facades people construct to hide their weaknesses. The hyper realistic oil paintings include elaborate compositions of objects and people, as well as finely drawn portraits. (left: Valeriy Belenikin, Mirror, 2003, oil on canvas, H. 50 x W. 49 inches, collection of the artist)
After undergoing a series of medical tests, photographer Ann Lovett became interested in the "luminous beauty" revealed by x-rays and other imaging systems. A former Bucks County resident now based in New Paltz, New York, her series The Book of the Body explores the interior and exterior worlds of the human body. It consists of enlarged x-ray images juxtaposed with dramatic close-ups of the body's surfaces.
When painter Charlotte Schatz moved her studio to the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia, she became fascinated with the many abandoned buildings nearby. These deserted factories, with their twisted pipes and powerful abstract forms, became the subject matter for a series of paintings that investigates the geometry and architecture of the urban landscape.
New Hope painter Al Lachman is known in Bucks County for his colorful, evocative images of houses and buildings. In the late 1980s he was moved by the homeless persons he met on the streets of New York, and made a series of paintings and works on paper depicting some of these desperate lives.
Morrisville-based artist Ricardo Barros' photographs are featured in the monograph Facing Sculpture, a collection of portraits of contemporary sculptors. His images for this project often include visual references to the artists' works or their inspirational sources. His probing photographs suggest how each artist uniquely transforms materials and reinvents space. (right: Ricardo Barros, Vladimir Kanevsky, 1998, carbon pigment digital output on paper, H. 14 x W. 14 inches)
Valerie Von Betzen's twilight and evening scenes of river towns along the Delaware River from Easton, Pennsylvania to Lambertville, New Jersey explore the variety of light sources emanating from the shops, taverns, automobiles, and bridge guardhouses unique to these towns. Von Betzen is inspired by the haunting beauty and quiet, lonely qualities of life in small river communities.
Woodworker David Ellsworth of Quakertown developed a process called hollow turning, which resulted in the creation of thin hollow wooden vessels that are considered both craft objects and formal sculpture. Inspired by his prior experience of working in clay, his love of wood, and Native American ceramic and basketry forms, Ellsworth's creations express the spirit and pulse of his raw materials.


In conjunction with the exhibition, the Museum will present an "Artists Studio Open House Tour" on Saturday, April 16 from 10 am to 4 pm. This special self-guided tour offers a rare opportunity to go behind the scenes, meet the artists in their own studios and learn about their techniques, what inspires their creativity and what new works they have in progress. Participating artists include: Ricardo Barros (Morrisville, Pennsylvania), Valeriy Belenikin (Lambertville, New Jersey), Marilyn Gordley (Pipersville, Pennsylvania), Judith Heep (Doylestown, Pennsylvania), Alan Lachman (New Hope, Pennsylvania), Robert Ranieri (Kintnersville, Pennsylvania), and Mavis Smith (Solebury, Pennsylvania).

The exhibition is sponsored by Jane M. Yeuroukis, Inc. and Kelchner's Horseradish Products, with additional support from N. T. Callaway Real Estate Broker, LLC and Sally French - The Market of Fine Art.

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