The Best of Still Life




You, the Aesthete

If you enjoy still life painting, see “The Aesthetic Moment: The Art of Still Life” at Delaware Art Museum, which opens Sept. 1. This Outlooks series exhibition features 11 regional painters with different styles, but a common love for the genre. “Aesthetic Moment” is an apt title, given that “aesthetic” derives from the ancient Greek word for "perception." The still life arrangements are uniquely perceived and rendered by the artists, then perceived uniquely again by the viewer. The featured artists are Stanley Bielen, Deborah Deichler, Dolya Dogal, Paul DuSold, Renee Foulks, Frances Galante, Scott Noel, Carolyn Pyfrom, Carlo Russo, David Shevlino and Frank Trefny. The guest curator is Paul DuSold of Philadelphia, who has shown his work widely across the United States over the last 30 years, concentrating on still life. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and has taught at various regional art schools. His unerring eye reveals a range of still life subjects, themes and styles that will astound you.

The museum’s centennial celebration continues with “100 Works for 100 Years.” The exhibition shows the evolution of the museum’s holdings through at least one work—including new acquisitions and gifts—for each year of its existence. See it indoors and out in the sculpture garden. If you’ve ever wondered how the museum became such a force in Pre-Raphaelite art, this is your chance. The exhibition ends Sept. 16. On view until Sept. 9, “Tales of Folk and Fairies: The Life and Work of Katharine Pyle.” We’re all familiar with the life and work of illustrator Howard Pyle, but probably not as well acquainted with the oeuvre of his younger sister, who became one of the most prolific woman writers and illustrators of her day—even if she did spend a good portion of her career working in the shadow of her famous brother. Her poems were published in the Atlantic Monthly and Harper's Bazaar while she was still a girl, before she went on to study art at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women and the Drexel Institute as a prelude to working as an illustrator. Her output includes 50 books, most famously Anna Sewell's “Black Beauty.” See more now. You’ll be charmed. 571-9590, delart.org

Commercial Success—The Eagle has Landed

Little-known fact: The library at Hagley holds the records of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Hence “100 Years of Picturing the Nation’s Business: Photographs from the Collection of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America,” which celebrates the chamber’s centennial. The exhibition shows famous—and not-so-famous—photos, some capturing significant moments such as reaction to the stock market crash, aftermath of the Dust Bowl and news of the Titanic sinking, some showing iconic companies such as Ford Motor Co. and American Airlines in their earliest days. The exhibition opens Sept. 8.

Speaking of Hagley, how about this? The du Pont family came to America on a ship named American Eagle, then began manufacturing Eagle Gun Powder. Needless to say, the bird was an important symbol, one that Mrs. Louise du Pont Crowninshield collected and displayed in her ancestral home, Eleutherian Mills. See them during The American Eagle: Symbol of Freedom and Enterprise to the du Pont Family,” on view through Jan. 1. 658-2400, hagley.org 658-2400, hagley.org

Feelin’ Free at The Freeman

If you’re looking for great family entertainment over the holiday weekend, head to the beach. The best young dancers from the incomparable First State Ballet Theatre perform classical and contemporary highlights of its repertoire on Aug. 30. On Aug. 31, soaring vocals, ace musicianship and dynamic performance will add up to a concert by The Bronx Wanderers, who perform classic popular tunes from the 1950s and ’60s Aug. 31. Whether your thing is doo wop or rock, you’ll be movin’ and grooving. 436-3015, freemanstage.org

Museum Tour

Before summer ends, get to Brandywine River Museum for “Summer Sojourns: Art on Holiday,” which shows nearly 100 paintings, drawings and prints made while their famous creators were visiting other parts of the country, as well as Europe, Asia and the Mideast, on summer vacations. The exhibition includes work from  N.C. Wyeth’s visits to Port Clyde, Maine, including “Herring Gut” and Untitled (View of Eight Bells), and works that show how the ocean and dunes in Rehoboth Beach inspired some of Howard Pyle’s paintings of pirate lore. There’s more, of course. See it through Sept. 3. (610) 388-2700, brandywinemuseum.org

If ever you were even slightly disturbed by your own body, you may be interested in “Entropy” by Carson Zullingier at the DCCA through Sept. 9. The artist explores the inner self through a photographic examination of the body’s decline from birth till death. “We see metaphors for youth and age, dark and light, good and evil, and the spiritual and the physical,” says curator J. Susan Isaacs. “The gallery space represents a tomb and a laboratory,” reflecting Zullinger’s interest in both Egyptian funerary architecture and physics. How do our inner and outer selves relate to the universe? This is one way to look at it. Also at the DCCA: “And the WORD is…” a group exhibition of work by four contemporary artists who use religious language in their work. That work ranges from humorous and ironic to revelatory. Stephanie Kirk's photography shows messages on church signs such as, “God wants full custody, not a weekend visit,” and, “You think it’s hot here?” Blind sculptor David Stephens’ large wooden panels offer words from the Bible carved in Braille. Martin Brief’s 14-panel installation shows written book titles searched from Amazon.com containing the word “God.” Nick Kripal steel and salt installation takes center stage, spelling out “Epiphany.” All of it will make you think. 656-6466, thedcca.org

Winterthur’s “Uncorked! Wine, Objects & Tradition,” features 300 objects and imagery created in response to our love of wine. “Uncorked!” shows how wine was marketed and consumed in America and Britain from the 1600s through the 1800s. View unique wine bottles, decanters and cellarettes, lead figures of Bacchus, “Champagne Charlie” song sheets, advertisements and more. The exhibition will be on view through Jan. 6. winterthur.org/uncorked

A highlight of every season at the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover is “Award Winners,” an annual celebration of achievements of Delaware Division of the Arts Individual Artist Fellowships recipients. “Award Winners XII” honors Newark violinist Xiang Gao, “a rare and soulful virtuoso,” according to The New York Times, who has performed for heads of state around the world, among other top-tier visual and performing artists and writers. “Award Winners” is one of the Biggs’ most important annual projects, helping it achieve its mission of celebrating diversity, educating artists and building awareness of the arts. “The Fellowships recognize the best and most talented artists residing in Delaware. It is a fantastic opportunity for all of them to come together to be recognized in the museum setting at the Biggs, and for the public to get to know them through the Award Winners exhibition and related programs,” says Kristen Pleasanton, program manager with the Division of the Arts. Some will even lead workshops throughout the year. It’s an opportunity to see, hear and read the best, as well as study at their knees. See “Award Winners XII” through Oct. 21. 674-2111, biggsmuseum.org

 

Broadway, Broadway, Broadway

Don’t neglect Clear Space Theatre Company’s Summer Repertory Season, with runs of “Cabaret,” “Annie” and “Broadway at the Beach” soon coming to a close. The three shows play in two-day rotations, Tuesday through Sunday through Sept. 2. In “Cabaret,” Katharine Ariyan, a seven-year veteran of Clear Space, plays the unforgettable Sally Bowles. Ariyan began performing at the age of eight when she attended a summer theater camp at the Delaware Theatre Company. She joined Clear Space at age 12. “Since my first year of ‘Scrooge!’ I’ve been taught by the Clear Space staff in their Broadway Bound program, my high school theater classes, and in numerous productions as an actor, crew member, and even as an administrative intern.” Ariyan moved on to study theater at Towson University, where she just completed her freshman year. Though Bowles is usually played by an older actor, the character is actually a mature 19-year-old nightclub chanteuse. “I’m intrigued at how brash Sally is, there is always a fire burning under her,” says Ariyan. “I also admire her strength. She fights through her tough times with everything she’s got.” See what Ariyan brings to the role, as well as parts in “Annie” and in the musical revue “Broadway at the Beach.” 227-2270, clearspacetheatre.org

Guide Lines

The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts is recruiting a new class of volunteer guides—and you could be one of them. A seven-week training course will prepare you to develop tours for children and adults. No previous teaching or art experience necessary—just an enthusiasm for learning about contemporary art and for working with people. For more, contact education assistant Sarah Ware at 656-6466 ext. 7106, or sware@thedcca.org. Applications can be found at the DCCA front desk and online at www.thedcca.org/guideprogram

 

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