The mid-summer exhibitions at York’s George Marshall Store Gallery make inspiring visual connections between painting, prints and sculptural ceramics. Work by Wendy Prellwitz and Phyllis Ewen, two Boston based artists, are paired with ceramics by New Hampshire ceramist David Ernster. Still life paintings of flowers, interiors and local landscapes by Portsmouth artist Amy Brnger fill the back gallery and the dock level gallery space is reserved for a solo show by Brett X. Gamache. The exhibitions continue through August 20th.
In the front room is a group exhibition entitled Imprint, bringing together works by David Ernster, Phyllis Ewen, and Wendy Prellwitz. The unified theme throughout these three artists is a common interest in water and the sea. Ernster’s fascination with water and nature began as a child growing up near the Mississippi River. This early interest in the fossil formations he observed along the river is evident in the work he creates today.
The exhibit includes very large wood fired jars and platters that are decorated with heavy glazes and incised lines. The forms, colors, and textures of Ernster’s ceramics connect visually with the other work on exhibit. In several instances, it is almost uncanny how well they relate to one another.
The mixed-media artwork of Phyllis Ewen is equally influenced by the natural world with a fusion of art and science. The Somerville, Massachusetts. based artist aims to suggest a subtle commentary on politics, society, and nature throughout her work, no matter the medium. Her “Restless Sands” series is made up of collaged digital prints of the beaches on Cape Cod. Her collaged prints often include puzzle shaped pieces, a reference to the concern for the fragility of the environment.
Similarly, the combination of graphic and organic imagery in Wendy Prellwitz‘s monotypes and paintings are a result of the dualities that she observes in the fluidity of water – the known and unknown, the tangible and intangible. We could be looking into the depth of a pool of water or we could be underwater looking towards the sky. Either way, the effect is cooling, calming and meditative. Her mono prints combine layers of watery blues, overlaid with the grain of wood cut prints. She employs many of the same imagery and colors into her paintings. In Imprint, the works of these three, varied artists are thoughtfully presented in a cohesive dialogue with one another.
Surroundings presents two dozen oil paintings by Portsmouth, New Hampshire based artist Amy Brnger. Known for her still life, landscapes, interiors, and flower paintings, Brnger uses nature as a vehicle for expression and inspiration throughout her work. Her landscapes are often drawn from her surroundings on the seacoast, serving as a means to enjoy and record the region where she lives. Her painting Backyard, Noon recalls a quintessential summer afternoon in seacoast New Hampshire, no doubt a result of Brnger’s deep admiration for the area she calls home.
In the dock-level gallery space is Fresh & Ripe, an exhibition of paintings by Brett X. Gamache. Gamache’s vividly painted New England scenes illuminate the gallery space with their bright colors and fresh atmosphere. Fresh & Ripe includes a variety of subjects from lobster boats and surfing scenes, to still life and rocky shores. In Lowtide Lobsterboat, a snapshot of life on the water, Gamache captures the essence of the working waterfront. He paints mostly from observation, typically outdoors, and strives to capture the light, energy, and life that he sees before him. Gamache lives in Massachusetts and teaches at colleges and universities throughout New England.
The exhibitions continue through August 20th. Gallery hours are 10 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday, 1 to 5 on Sunday and by appointment. The gallery is a property and program of the Museums of Old York and is located at 140 Lindsay Road, York. 207-351-1083 www.georgemarhshallstoregallery.com