An art Gallery Analysis
By Joseph Parish
One of my projects in my university art class was to visit an art gallery and organize an analysis of the gallery as well as to select one artist’s work which is on display. I was to discuss the merits of that selected work of art for all to see. As you drive towards the ocean, east of Lewis Delaware, you encounter a quaint little art gallery on your left with a full size sign above the gallery reading, “Peninsula Gallery”. After parking at 520 Savannah Road and entering the shop, you first encounter the friendly owners and operators, Carol and Tony Boyd-Heron. Both of these individuals are very knowledge in the field of art and in particular those clients with whom they represent.
The gallery is composed of four major sections, the main gallery with its general selection of art work, a separate featured artist exhibit area and two business sections for building frames and art restoration. On entering the gallery I was at first disappointed for I had expected the business to be larger than what it actually was. I felt it was unusually small however in all fairness; there were some unique and interesting paintings on the walls from some of Delaware’s outstanding local artists. I saw some harbor scenes in acrylic painted by Tara Funk Grime. Her works appealed to my whimsical nature however, my goal was to review the work of Frank Schoonover who was scheduled for an exhibit at the gallery between February 2nd and the 28th. Unfortunately, the paintings for Mr. Schoonover had not arrived at the gallery as of the time of my arrival.
Being somewhat of an artist myself, I inquired about the lack of any sort of modern styles of art being displayed in the gallery. In response, Mr. Boyd-Heron informed me that the studio’s customers who frequent the gallery were more conventional in their taste; therefore most contemporary art work was usually not available. Being a small gallery there were no specific tools in place to guide one to any significant displays. In lieu of a central focal point, I would have to state that if any art were of exceptional value above the others, it would likely be those which occupy the front display areas. These are the first works viewed as you enter the gallery.
I continued to take a short walk through the main section of the gallery and alternately chanced upon the works of Howard Eberle. I previously had never viewed any of this gentleman’s art. Although Mr. Eberle’s watercolor compositions were generally simple seascape scenes, he produced some very dramatic paintings with solid perspective and firm form. The longer I gazed at his art work the more appreciative I was to his style. His use of simple humble objects produced a spontaneous freshness in his composition and hinged closely to an abstract style. Even Mr. Eberle refers to his particular painting style as “abstract realism”. Viewing his work for any length of time provides a new found peacefulness for one’s soul.
Several of his art works feature such common objects as weather vanes, an old abandoned rocking chair, a badly weathered rowboat or other objects often overlooked by the non-artist eye. In his art we can view empty deck chairs as if they are inviting us to sit and observe the ocean from which it faces all within a type of surreal environment.
Much of his projects feature strong shadow textures and a certain amount of graphical influence perhaps as a result of his heavily inspired architectural background. I was very impressed by his use of lights and shadows to project a sense of time into the paintings.
Although Mr. Eberlie has several excellent works of art that I could select to analyze and discuss I have managed to break down my selection to one only. I will talk about his watercolor painting referred to as “Sunset Bay”.
This small painting is less than two feet by three feet, but packs an abundance of artistic strengths in its small package. It sits on the wall with other works from Eberlie’s collection of art. The only identifying data for the art work is a small card attached to the wall indicating the artist’s name. I was forced to do additional research in order to identify the piece of art accurately and place a specific name upon it.
As with keeping with the artist’s practice of simplicity we see white sand based against a receding sun. The horizon is clearly shown, indicating by both color and light that evening has approached. The darkness of the chair in the foreground reveals not only a measure of shadow but a sharp contrast against the lighter shades of the painting. The design aspects of the piece fit together perfectly and provide the observer with a feeling of closure and balance.
When I view this work of art I am first impressed at how my eyes are drawn into the declining sun on the horizon. The straight lines associated with the solid chair compliment the roundness we see in the fading sun. Both horizontal and vertical lines blend together in harmony while the artist has successfully transferred a feeling of calm with his weak and light shadowy effect. These cold black shadows of the chair contrast perfectly with the warm skylight shades. We can not view this painting without realizing how Eberlie has maintained an abundance of space on his canvas yet has overlapped that space with firm, solid objects with accurate proportions.
As we look at “Sunset Bay” we realize how often we have been in this particular scene without appreciating the full impact of what we were seeing. I have frequently taken my own folding lawn chair and visited the coastal towns along the Delaware shore and sat calmly at the edge of the ocean listening to the waves and hearing the gulls above while watching the distant sun go down slowly beyond the horizon. To do so, reveals a calm life at the shore with no human intervention other than me and Mother Nature. I truly have to thank Mr. Eerlie for bring back so many fine memories of my past years.
The website for “Peninsula Gallery” is clearly laid out and can be easily navigated without difficulty. Within its pages you will find samples of the artwork which is on display at the gallery and a list of upcoming exhibitions. Assuming that the art work had arrived to the gallery as planned the web site would have proven useful for this trip. It is unfortunate that the internet site could not provide a better view of the art pieces and further explanation of the art contained within the gallery, as that would have been very helpful prior to my visit. However, the owners have done as well as can be expected and no problems were experienced. Even though the expected exhibit was not present the experience was still enjoyable and worthwhile. I will likely revisit the site in the future in order to see what is scheduled and visit the gallery accordingly.
Copyright @2011 Joseph Parish