Peninsula Gallery's October exhibit to feature two coloristsPassion Shared, The Artistry of Color has opening reception Oct. 6
Mitch Lyons of New London, Pa., has been called one of the true innovators in the art world because of his development of a clay and clay-slip-based process to produce colorful clay monoprints. Lyons, along with local artist Aina Nergaard, will be featured in a new exhibit at the Peninsula Gallery, 520 E Savannah Road: Passions Shared, The Artistry of Color. The exhibit will open with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6.
Lyons earned his master of fine arts degree in ceramics from Tyler School of Art, and his bachelor of fine arts degree in graphics from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pa. Originally, Lyons was a potter, and he continues to produce unique ceramics that will also be featured in the show. Since 1968, Lyons has been pioneering his image-making from a slab of clay. Firs, a slab of stoneware clay is rolled out about 1/4-inch thick. After the slab is allowed to dry, colored slips are made using China clay and permanent pigments. These colored slips are brushed on, dried and rolled into the clay slab, one color over another, building the design with images, colors and textures on the matrix.
Once the slab is rolled flat, a moistened piece of paper/canvas is placed over the slab. Pressure is applied using a rolling pin to transfer the clay slips onto the substrate. The artistic result is one of color and shape, some in a dropped form that harkens to Jackson Pollack and others of the early abstract expressionist period. Because of the arrangement and choice of color, the prints can evoke a variety moods, from one of high energy and movement to one of restrained serenity.
Lyons’ clay monoprints can be found in numerous private and public collections throughout the United States, including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Woodmere Museum, American University and the University of Delaware. Lyons has had exhibitions of his work at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; Noyes Museum, New Jersey; Kalmar Lans Museum, Kalmar, Sweden; and the Vonderau Museum, Fulda, Germany. He is a recipient of a Pennsylvania Council of the Arts Visual Arts Grant. He has taught at West Chester University, Moore College of Art, Rowan University, Alfred University and the University of Delaware. In the past 10 years he has led more than 100 workshops.
Aina Nergaard is the third generation of women in her family to be an artist, with her mother and grandmother accomplished artists in their own right. Originally from Spain, Nergaard attended the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes in Spain. She has lived throughout Europe and has been a resident of Lewes for several years. She says unequivocally, “I consider myself a colorist working with abstract forms and colors. While I paint, things happen as the work progresses. I have a primary image in my mind that develops into the rest of the picture field. My paintings are nonrepresentational. The important thing for me is to arrange these forms and colors on the pictorial field to achieve a balanced composition. I work simultaneously with positive and negative shapes, placing equal importance on both.” The result is a vibrant, balanced composition.
For Nergaard, art is as much about the doing as the final resulting image. For this show, each piece represents a specific piece of orchestral music. Her process was to start by listening to the piece repetitively and then begin to construct the image while listening to the music time and again. In 2006, Nergaard was recognized as one of the top 10 contemporary artists in the region and has successfully exhibited her art at numerous regional and national juried art exhibits. Her work is included in multiple corporate, private and university collections.
The Peninsula Gallery is currently in its 16th year and presents fine art from more than 20 artists, monthly exhibits, and framing and restoration services. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday. Phone 302-645-0551. The gallery is closed on Monday.