Art Watch: From wild African Dogs to Sound & Light journey in Wilmington

By Lele Galer, Columnist, The Times

Summer is a great time to take respite from the heat, and enjoy viewing art in the cool, open settings of a gallery space or museum. There are plenty of excellent shows currently on view at our local museums, galleries and art centers, which are continuing throughout the Summer, and this weekend we have two special new exhibitions to start up your art weekend ahead.

In downtown West Chester, Church Street Gallery welcomes painter Georganna Lenssen with a reception this Friday July 14th from 5-9pm, and in Wilmington, The Delaware Art Museum kicks off an amazing art week of events around multi-media artist Craig Colorusso’s new “Sound & Light” installation in the museum’s Copeland Sculpture Garden. Two very different art experiences that will take you from West Chester to Wilmington, with plenty of galleries to check out on the journey in between.

Georganna Lenssen in front of “Wall of Dogs Teeth” as seen at Church Street Gallery.

Georganna Lenssen’s show “The Fluid Image” opens at Church Street Galley at 12 South Church Street in West Chester this Friday and continues through August 26th. Georganna is an oil painter who works “loosely, intuitively and organically” with the subject matter mostly incidental to the artist’s exploration of the painted surface.

For example, she shows painted images of cupcakes, spoons, vases of roses, and even a roll of toilet paper. Each subject is rendered with a confident mix of brush, palette knife, drips and scratches that dazzle us far beyond whatever she chose as her model.

“Collision Repair” by Georganna Lenssen.

Her color choices in “Collision Repair” are wonderful mixes of turquoise , blues, grays, whites and a tiny splash of red. She admits that she would rather have no titles at all, and I agree with her, because it is all about the painting itself. Georganna Lenssen is a painter’s painter; her work will really wow, even flabbergast, anyone who loves to paint. Church Street Gallery has about fifty of her works on display, with sizes ranging from 6 inch to large 40 inch canvases. Georganna says ” I love working large…I think one of the best ways to keep being fresh is to change the sizes.”

Her largest paintings in the gallery are of African wild dogs, and I asked her about her choice of this subject matter, because in this example, the subject matter is as important as the painting of it. Her African Dog paintings are very powerful. She has a long association with African wild dogs, starting from when she saw a photo essay about them in National Geographic, and then later saw them in action at the Philadelphia Zoo.

The more she saw, the more she wanted to learn about them, so she got on the animal behavior committee at the zoo so that she could visit with them personally. She took hundreds of snapshots of them with her camera. Without understanding why she was so drawn to them, she wanted to express her intuitive response to them on canvas.

She explains “They are very intense, extremely intelligent, and they take care of each other. They are feral, thin and boney .. and they merge into one form when they move.” Her painting “Wall of Dogs Teeth” is central to the show and her other large dog painting is also very interesting, and more abstracted as it pictures multiple dogs merging into one. From images of cupcakes to snarling wild dogs, Georganna Lenssen’s paintings at Church Street Gallery will fill you with the power and magic of painting.

Sound and Light installation 2014, by Craig Colorusso, Delaware Art Museum.

As Monty Python coined, “and now for something completely different”, we go from painted canvases to a sound and light installation experience by artist Craig Colorusso at the Delaware Art Museum. The Sound & Light installation starts this Friday, July 14, in the Copeland Sculpture Garden at the museum and continues through to Sunday July 23. This exhibition is a “meditative art installation that explores the intersection of music, performance and sculpture.” The installation features the artist’s “Sun Boxes” and “Cubemusic” which encourage visitor interaction, meditation and mindfulness reflection. Interspersed throughout the ten day installation experience The Delaware Art Museum offers a series of conversations with the artists as well as meditation programs, including Tai Chi, sunrise , lunchtime and sunset yoga. The list of the meditation/yoga programs are available online at http://www.delart.org/exhibits/craig-colorusso-sound-light/. Online you can also see and hear a video of one of his Sun Box installations… it is very very cool and will be even better in the setting of the museum’s beautiful sculpture garden. The cost of these programs if free for members and “pay what you wish” for non-members. This Sunday they have at 7:30 Sunset Meditation on Mindfulness with meditative practice and discussion about work/life balance, all set to mesmerizing sounds and a beautiful garden on contemporary sculpture!

This Friday, the same day that “Sound & Light” opens to the public, the Museum celebrates their “Mad Man” exhibit with “Artini” from 7-9pm. Artini offers visitors Mad Man era cocktails to enjoy along with a hands-on art experience. Participants can sip cocktails while creating a painting inspired by retro patterns and prints (all the art supplies, light snacks and drinks are provided). Sounds like a great date night at the museum. While at the museum enjoying the “Sound & Light” and Artini, , make sure to check out their exhibition “The Original Mad Man: Illustrations by Mac Conner” as well as their wonderful permanent collection and their latest local artists’ show “Assemblage: A Regional Collective of Women Artists.” Summer happy hour at the museum is on Thursdays from 5-7pm, with live music and special themes to keep it lively and ever-changing.

Stay tuned to Art Watch Radio now every Wednesday from 1-1:30 on WCHE am 1520. This Wednesday July 12, the discussion theme is “writing about art” with art writers Lele Galer, John Chambless and Caroline Roosevelt.

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