WC hosts exhibit by ‘Murphy Artists’

News Journal

WILMINGTON — Several local artists will exhibit their work in the first show of the new year in Wilmington College’s Harcum Art Gallery Jan. 21 through March 5.

An opening reception for the group known as the “Murphy Artists” will be held Jan. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the gallery, located in Boyd Cultural Arts Center. Normal gallery hours are weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by special appointments arranged by gallery curator Hal Shunk, professor of art.

The Murphy Artists have studios above the historic Murphy Theatre in downtown Wilmington.

“Through a wide variety of mediums, these very talented artists from our community will showcase their talents,” said Shunk, noting their work spans the artistic media of paintings to sculptures to interactive installations.

Several of the artists displaying their work include Mary Beth Thorngren, Linda M. Johnston, Jeff T. Becker and Dan Kennelly.

Thorngren cited one of Pablo Picasso’s most recognizable quotes: “Every child is an artist; the problem is how to remain one once we grow up.” As an art teacher, she stresses the “making of art and not necessarily the outcome.” Indeed, she seeks to cultivate the “child artist” working “in a stress-free environment, unencumbered by a box of set rules.”

Thorngren’s intrigue with the “wonderment and innocence” of the young mind led to her series of paintings addressing “the fragile nature of this aspect.”

Johnston finds the art of creating so totally absorbing that “time is forgotten, food is forgotten and the coffee gets cold every time.” Vivid color is a defining component of most of her work through the painting media of oils, acrylics and watercolor.

A certified Master Gardener, the colors and shapes of flowers often flow from her mind to canvas. Johnston also is “fascinated” with portraits, as “every face has its own character and charm, and the process of portraying that onto a canvas with only a paintbrush is truly a challenge and great pleasure,” she said.

Becker is passionate about nature and four decades in the field of taxidermy provides a foundation for his sculpture depicting the “special moments in time” of his subjects and turning them into an engaging story.

“I strive to represent the subjects with anatomical accuracy while portraying the spirit and energy of the living creatures,” Becker said. “Nature ignites passion, so allow my work to take you to those wild and unspoiled places.”

Kennelly is a nontraditional student at Wilmington College that is learning to express himself through painting, sculpture, printmaking and constructions. A conceptual artist, he seeks to provoke thought or emotion as his audience views his work. Indeed, two of his pieces require audience participation in that the viewer must work with the artist to view the piece.

“Without participation, there is no concept to consider,” he said.


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