Last Thursday night, The Gallery at Penn State Great Valley in Malvern, Pennsylvania opened Symmetry, a juried exhibition presented by the local non-profit arts’ organization, Chester County Art Association. I was pleasantly surprised at the beauty and high caliber of the gallery, as it is located on the second floor of the campus’ Conference Center: a bastion of elaborately-planned corporate marketing events, amid a professional studies graduate student population of MBAs.Karen Freedman, a painter who employs encaustic style of painting as her primary medium, exhibited two pieces at this event, as well as offered a lively gallery talk at the opening. The artist explained how she meticulously plans each of her pieces based on a pre-designed matrix of hexagons, diamond and triangular shapes that are then individually developed into a robust multi-colored palette of geometric abstractions. In my last review of Freedman’s work presented on artdoesmatter, I discussed how the artist uses the encaustic medium, incorporating warmed beeswax and powdered pigments into compositions that are sculpted into definitive geometric forms. Freedman’s past professional experience as an art director and graphic designer further assisted her highly-tuned innate color sense, despite the artist admitting in her gallery talk that she would disregard her classes in color theory as an undergrad in art school, thinking it was something she “wouldn’t ever use.” West Chester, PA artist Jennifer Domal’s exceptionally detailed ink drawings are actually a result of the artist spending a great deal of time last year bed-ridden from bronchitis/mononucleosis and too weak to work on her clay, decorative egg and sculptural work. Domal explains on her website as well as her gallery talk last week: “My fascination with the ancient art of India, Islam, China and Africa with the symbolic patterns and rhythmic borders gives me a place to put my story telling.” What’s the most symmetrical aspect of this drawing is that if you were to turn the piece around in any direction, each parallel side is an exact replica or mirror-reversal of the four sides of her decorative pattern. This work would not be nearly as fascinating if created on computers or software. However, one can readily see by its exactness in each panel that this drawing is not one easily or quickly achieved, as the artist herself sat with a Staedtler ink pen in-hand, “hand-drawing her drawing” intuitively as she moved forward, and with no pre-existing plan.
Symmetry: Juried Art Exhibit by the Chester County Art Association can be viewed at The Gallery at Penn State Great Valley, 30 E. Swedesford Road in Malvern, Pennsylvania through March 8th, 2013, with fifteen area artists showing approximately thirty-three different works of art.
(Images are courtesy of the artists.)