Straight from the Delaware College of Art and Design to the Delaware Art Museum, professor Alexi Natchev has his work exhibited in “Imagined Places: The Art of Alexi Natchev,” starting March 2. The illustrator was born and educated in Sofia, Bulgaria. Since moving to the United States in 1990, he has illustrated 17 children’s books, collaborating with major authors and publishers. His work has been shown in many international exhibitions and he has received several national awards. His illustrations conjure up an imaginary world of playful creatures, fairy-tale places, folktales and more. “Imagined Places” features over 60 works by Natchev, including paintings and prints representing the range of his career as an artist and illustrator. See how he researches the art and literature of a region for his illustrations in order to create a sensitive balance between fantasy and believability. “Alexi Natchev is deservedly celebrated for his colorful and imaginative children’s books and is an accomplished printmaker with impressive fluency in various techniques,” says Mary F. Holahan, curator of illustration. “We are thrilled to be able to display the whimsical and sometimes enigmatic illustrations of such a distinguished artist of our region.” 571-9590, delart.org
The good people of Brandywine Baroque are back with “Dazzling Music for the Sun King: Marais to Bousset.” Include François Couperin and Jean-Marie Leclair in the program and you will, frankly speaking, be delighted. The concerts happen Feb. 23 at Church of Our Savior in Rehoboth Beach and Feb. 24 at the amazing Barn at Flintwoods on Center Meeting Road in Wilmington. 877-594-4546, brandywinebaroque.org
City Theatre Company and Equality Delaware will present “8,” a documentary “play” by Dustin Lance Black about the federal case for marriage equality. A cast of distinguished community members will read the groundbreaking piece. Proceeds benefit Equality Delaware. See it Feb. 23 at Theatre N at Nemours. city-theater.org
See the The Harlem Gospel Choir, the premier gospel choir in the country, perform at World Cafe Live at the Queen on Feb. 23. The choir comes to us via a partnership between WCL, the Delaware Historical Society, Christina Cultural Arts Center and the Interdenominational Ministers Action Council to celebrate the Delaware Historical Society’s exhibition “Forging Faith, Building Freedom,” which opens in July. worldcafelive.com
NPR listeners and poetry aficionados, this is for you. Liane Hansen, Emmy Award-winning radio personality of National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition Sunday,” will be the mistress of ceremonies for this year’s Delaware State Poetry Out Loud finals. Upon retiring from NPR, Hansen moved to Bethany Beach from Washington, D.C. She joined Delaware First Media as an advisor in 2011, supporting the creation of WDDE 91.1 FM, the first Delaware-based NPR news station. Listeners of her “Weekend Edition Sunday” program know Hansen for her personal warmth, her signature voice, and her ability to engage her guests in lively, meaningful conversations. She will be a wonderful addition to an evening featuring some of Delaware’ best student poetry recitations. The competition happens at the Smyrna Opera House on March 6. Admission is free. smyrnaoperahouse.org
The excellent Music on the Brandywine series resumes at the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford March 7 and May 9. On March 7 hear Grammy-nominated pianist Andrius Zlabys. Zlabys began his instruction in his native Lithuania before studying at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music. He has appeared as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra. Zlabys will play works by Grieg, Franck and Brahms. On May 9, pianist Michael Djupstrom and violist Ayane Kozasa will present a program of works by Enescu, Porter and Schubert, as well as an original composition by Djupstrom himself, titled “Walimai.” Composer-pianist Djupstrom has won awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Composers Forum. He has performed in the United States, United Kingdom, France, China and Japan. Ayane Kozasa’s performances have been broadcast on Philadelphia’s WHYY. She currently studies at the Curtis Institute of Music. “It is a joy to experience the stellar talent of these exciting new performers in such a beautiful setting and acoustically live space,” says Brandywine Conservancy director Virginia Logan. We couldn’t agree more. The museum galleries will be opening, making for a winning combination of visual art and music. 610-388-2700, brandywinemuseum.org
Fee Fi Fo Fum
The Kennett Symphony of Chester County will present “Jack and the Beanstalk…and other Orchestra Favorites” during its annual Children’s Concerts on March 3 at the International Cultural Center on the campus of Lincoln University and on March 10 at Emilie K. Asplundh Hall at West Chester University. The Kennett Symphony’s Annual Children’s Concert has been a family tradition for many years. The hourlong program opens with Handel’s majestic “Entrance of the Queen of Sheba,” followed by Copland’s “Hoedown” from Rodeo. Short demonstrations of strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion follow, then flute soloist Nicole Ozdowsky, second place winner in the 2012 Instrumental Competition, will perform. “Jack and the Beanstalk,” the Kennett Symphony Children’s Chorus closes the concert. 610-444-6363, kennettsymphony.org
Rehoboth Beach Writers’ Guild presents guild members and area musicians doing short readings and performing songs on the theme of Body Parts in a Night of Literary Prose, Poetry and Song. It happens at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth Beach on Feb. 19—and it’s all free.
Blue Screen, Blank Canvas
What digital information floats in cyber space, and what of it is worth your time? Find out as The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington presents “This Space Is Intentionally Left Blank” by Texas artist Kerry Adams, on view through April 21. Adams’ installation integrates traditional installation art and technology through the use of tablets that display live Twitter feeds. The installation encourages the viewer to engage with the exhibition by posting comments to Twitter with the hashtag #leftblank while within the installation. The exercise creates a literal dialogue with visitors about the ubiquitous nature of technology and the role of individuality and community in daily life. Introducing text, electrical cords, and tablet computers as aesthetic, sculptural elements, the exhibit hinges upon social media and physical engagement. According to the artist, being able to tweet to her exhibition “will allow you to add to the dialogue about attempts to communicate, failed communication, and the moments we miss right in front of us as we search for what is out of reach.” Ironically, as viewers approach the tablets to read the messages, a motion sensor forces the Twitter streams to turn off, metaphorically enabling us to unplug from the screen-based chatter and to re-engage with our present surroundings. According to Pear Analytics, most tweeting includes spam, self-promotion and babble. Only 3.6 percent of tweets are considered newsworthy and 8.7 percent of pass-along value. In “This Space,” Adams’ work would seemingly suggest the gallery as a test site for face-to-face conversation. 656-6466, thedcca.org
The Father of Illustration
“Before Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth rose to the height of their profession as illustrators, there was Felix Octavius Carr Darley, whose skill in book and magazine illustration made him one of the most popular artists of his time and earned him a reputation as the Father of American Illustration,” says Audrey Lewis, an associate curator at the Brandywine River Museum in nearby Chadds Ford. Go there to see his work in “The Magic Pencil of the Amazing F.O.C. Darley.” The self-taught Darley, active till his death in 1888, drew for works by such literary giants as James Fenimore Cooper and Nathanial Hawthorne. He settled in Claymont at a time when his work was so popular, books were advertised as “illustrated by Darley.” Take a look through March 10. 610-338-2700, brandywinemuseum.org
A Picture of Today
The year 2012 might have been Delaware Art Museum’s 100th anniversary year, but the celebration continues with “State of the Art: Illustration 100 Years After Howard Pyle” through June 1. The exhibition features more than 60 works from eight of the most important contemporary illustrators. In 2011, the museum launched its centennial celebration with a major retrospective dedicated to illustrator Howard Pyle. “State of the Art” marks the celebration’s end and reflects on Pyle’s legacy. In the century since his death in 1911, American illustration has diversified into a wide range of art forms, including animated films, computer-generated images to graphic novels and conceptual art. “No single exhibition could possibly do justice to the noisy, rambunctious history of illustration over the past century,” says curator David Apatoff. “I’ve chosen instead to feature eight individuals whose diverse talents demonstrate that illustration is no longer the singular profession it was in Pyle’s day. It pervades our culture, reaching out to us from billboards, television, store windows, and computer screens.” Meet the artists.
Bernie Fuchs began his career creating realistic paintings for automobile advertisements. By the 1960s, he was at the forefront of illustrators whose impressionistic works redefined the field. He eventually became known around the world for his sense of color and design. He passed away in 2009.
Milton Glaser is among the world’s most celebrated graphic and architectural designers. His achievements range from the “I ♥ New York” logo to complete graphic and decorative programs for public spaces. He has been the subject of one-man shows at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Mort Drucker is one of MAD magazine’s most famous artists. An influential caricaturist, he is renowned for his pen and ink work. His TIME covers are in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Phil Hale pushes the boundaries between fine art and illustration by making powerful compositions and combining traditional realism with moody, complex, evocative themes. Though highly regarded for his covers for books by Joseph Conrad and Steven King, Hale is recognized around the world for his fine art.
Sterling Hundley combines traditional artistic media with digital tools. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Vibe and The New York Times. Hundley has won gold and silver medals from the Society of Illustrators in New York and the Illustrators Club in Washington, D.C. He is an instructor at The Illustration Academy and a professor in the Department of Communication Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University.
John Cuneo’s drawings have appeared in many major publications, including The New Yorker, Esquire, Sports Illustrated and The Atlantic. He is highly regarded for the humor in his work and has been awarded several medals from the Society of Illustrators.
Peter De Sève began as an editorial illustrator in the 1980s and is well known for his covers for The New Yorker, along with his illustrations for TIME and Newsweek. He has also created character designs for animated films produced by Disney, DreamWorks Studios, Pixar, and Twentieth Century Fox, including “Mulan,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Monsters, Inc.” and “Ice Age.”
Ralph Eggleston was the art director at Pixar for “Toy Story,” the first full-length computer-animated film, as well as for “The Incredibles.” He was also the production designer for films such as “Finding Nemo” and “WALL·E.” His work has been recognized for its color, composition and sense of fantasy.
Curator David Apatoff began his career as a professional cartoonist and illustrator. He has illustrated children’s books and worked in a commercial art studio. He is the author of “Robert Fawcett, The Illustrator’s Illustrator” and “Albert Dorne, Master Illustrator,” and he writes the popular blog Illustration Art (illustrationart.blogspot.com). He has written extensively for Illustration Magazine and other publications. Apatoff practices technology law for a multinational law firm in Washington, D.C.
This is one cool exhibition, with something for everyone in the family. 571-9590, delart.org