Friday, June 22, 2012

The Extraordinary Stray Birds, Parlor Concert

Last evening, we hosted our fifth Parlor Concert in the loft at Lynden Gallery, the first was with the Reese Brothers, Tom and Kirk, long time friends.  Our musical "house concert" venue has been gaining popularity, this BYOB concert the first to sell out beforehand.  We limit seats to 35, and encourage concert goers to come a bit early or stay after to eat and drink, mingle with other guests, and partake in a salon style conversation.

I first met Charlie Muench as part of a jazz trio with Chris Smucker and Josh Bailey when they played for Eva Bender's Artist Reception in March of 2011.  He has since finished his degree in music education at West Chester University, on the main line in West Chester, Pennsyvania.  Bass may be second nature to Charlie, having inherited his love of the instrument from his father.  Classically trained, he found bluegrass harmonies compelling, and quickly connected with Maya deVitry and Oliver Craven when their paths crossed in 2010.

"Music exists in a time and place," says Charles, "reveling in the energy of each room, a connection to the audience is the essence of the show."  Our parlor space, or "the box"as noted by Charlie, provides the perfect acoustical setting for an intimate exchange between musicians and appreciative audience.  This is the first time I took advantage of the second level loft seating, and was surprised to find it the best seat in the house regarding the sound.

After three years of traditional university study, Oliver Claven traded in the books for the open road.  "I listen to people... then pay attention to that."   Traveling forty states and four countries as a fiddler, guitarist and harmony vocalist, he is developing his own repertoire of original songs.  Maya deVitry, a seasoned traveler herself,  spent time at University of Asheville, North Carolina, and at Berklee College of Music in Boston, before shoe leather hit the pavement - she made her way across Europe for three months "as a fiddling street performer."  

No stranger to musical performance, her family has a deep, rich history of musicianship.  Though the deVitrys call Lancaster County home for several generations, the tune in their hearts has wandered afar.  Pete deVitry, Maya's dad, spent time with the Gadjo Playboys, a Parisian style string band, and currently plays with Vinegar Creek Constituency a bit of a more eclectic take on American folk music.

Maya's brave and sultry voice rises firmly above the din of a family tradition, soulfully and skillfully weaving tales in the Appalachian genre - some old traditional tunes, others her own.  Listen to The Stray Birds first CD, "Birds of the Borderland," and you'd never know five of the seven tunes are contemporary.  Such is the consummate nature of Maya's song-writing and her soulful, fervent voice, sitting rock solid on the seasoned musicianship of this accomplished trio.

The Stray Birds will launch their new CD in July, and I for one, can't wait.  This young trio has "miles to go" before they sleep and I intend to follow them as shameless groupie.

To find out more about the Lynden Gallery and upcoming exhibitions, concerts and events, visit our website,  Want to be on our snail mail, or email update lists?  Give us a call 717.367.9236, or email us - we'll be happy to share!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Ned Wert, Bright Introspection

I love art.  Living with art, teaching an appreciation of art to another generation, learning to understand the process of invention and inspiration behind the work, the privilege of knowing the people, the hands, faces, trials and tribulations, and enthusiastic joys that create the work - my life is richer because of the arts.  It speaks to the deeper underside of my life, and enhances my journey through this world.

Through art I find both common ground and contentious discussion, as each of us connect with our visual worlds uniquely.  I see the color play, you see the shape of a tree.  I see shadow, you see light.  I find joy, you find repression.  I feel peace, you are jarred into discovery.  Art isn't about the image alone - it's about what you bring to it, the discussion around it, the people behind it - all of which are experiential and ever-changing.

I can say the same of music and literature.  Each time I hear a Concerto or read a Psalm, I bring myself to it - where I am at the moment, who I'm with, what I'm feeling - and it's different every time.  The lovely thing is that art, music and writing each have the capacity to capture a moment in time.  You'll never see it the same way ever again, in part because you now bring experience to it.  I believe this is why people bring a tattered piece of paper with a poem written on it to be calligraphied, an old print from home with no inherent value to be framed, or go back and purchase a painting - there is a connection, and it isn't stagnant.

This afternoon, I received an Artist Statement from Ned Wert, long-standing artist and friend.  He's finishing up a new body of work for a Lynden Gallery solo exhibition in October, and wrote a bit about what drives his enthusiasm for painting and his experiementation in this new collection.  He captures not only the magic in the making, but in the viewing, and I couldn't wait to share it....

The works in this exhibition represent two years of work in my studio and have been inspired by personal and shared experiences during that time.

During that time my foremost goal was to produce over 30 pieces that, while unified in an exhibition, would expand new visions of the artist’s thinking. For more than 40 years I have explored diversity in people’s cultures, as well as the natural landscape. My enthusiasm for personal interpretation, I  hope, leads people to respond with thoughts and appreciation. In two years there will be obvious changes in images. How I see and represent my ideas, and how they are placed in compositional arrangements, become the ingredients in my abstract paintings.

I sincerely love painting. My art has never been a hobby---not even when I was in my teens. Now, 50 years later, I maintain that the underlying character of my work is the joy of painting. The gestural movements I use to produce the brushstrokes as well as the constant excitement about color, what goes with what, represents my enthusiasm. I present myself with challenges and then get energized if my intent is working. When it doesn’t, I’m open to finding a new solution that works.

The final surfaces seen in these works, by no means show the initial attacks to the blank surface. Almost all of what I do is in response to what is already there after the beginning white surface is covered. I like to layer the compositional structure by adding seemingly unrelated elements that might disturb my thoughts. They often result in discovery----and that brings on more original thoughts to deal with as I continue.

I have always been an optimist and I preserve that attitude abstractly in my work. My work is never negative, morbid, nor secretive. I enjoy the “bright side of life” they sing in Monty Python’s “Spamalot!”

I am proud of this exhibition of new works. Painting is work and I love my job. It energizes me---what a pleasure it is each time I decide the painting is finished and I get to add my signature as the final touch.

Ned Wert

Brush Valley, PA 

Ned Wert's latest work will premier Friday, October 19 at the Lynden Gallery.  Kindly set the date aside.

The image above is "Urban Momunments" 30" x 42" acrylic on paper.  For more about the life and work of Ned Wert, and details for the upcoming exhibition, visit our website,