‘Color Blast’ Exhibit Brightens West Campus Gallery

by Diane VanDyke

Montgomery County Community College continues its 2014-2015 fine arts season with the exhibit “Color Blast,” which opens on Monday, Nov. 3, at the Fine Arts Gallery, North Hall, 16 High Street, Pottstown. A “Meet the Artists” reception is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 12, from 5-7 p.m. Both the exhibit, which continues through Dec. 12, and the reception are free and open to the community.

“Color Blast” features the vibrant artwork of three artists, who are brought together through this exhibit and their shared enthusiasm for color: Valley of Peace Burke of Long Island, New York; Lois Schlachter of Spring Mount, Pennsylvania; and Patricia Wilson-Schmid of Lederach, Pennsylvania.

While color unites the exhibit, each artist has her own distinct style and personality, as reflected in the art.

“Winged Victory,” 2014, oil on linen, by Valley of Peace Burke

“Winged Victory,” 2014, oil on linen, by Valley of Peace Burke

Working as both an artist and a registered cardiac surgery intensive care nurse, Valley of Peace Burke reinterprets the visual elements of the medical world into an artistic expression that explores the interwoven relationship between body and spirit. She believes and portrays the body and mind as “sacred and whole.”

“Color is healing. It carries life and beauty into the world. I have spent most of my life near the sea and am influenced by the elements of nature. These elements are also internal, as the human body is a microcosm of the earth,” she says.

This multi-faceted artist has studied oil painting under Judy Dupic in France and has traveled and painted throughout England, Ireland, Italy, Mongolia and Spain. In addition to her nursing degree, she also is a master of oriental medicine and acupuncture physician. Her great-grandfather, Joseph A. Burke, was composer well-known to the Philadelphia area during the 1920s-40s, and his songs were recorded by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Bing Crosby, among others. Valley is pleased to be exhibiting in the Philadelphia area where much of her family resides.

“Dancing the Night Away,” acrylic, by Lois Schlachter

“Dancing the Night Away,” acrylic, by Lois Schlachter

As an abstract artist, Lois Schlachter is in love “with the line, handsome vibrant color and a comfortable composition” and describes her work as simply “fun.” Working directly from her hand to the canvas, she lets her imagination direct her as playful and colorful images emerge.

“I feel that acrylic paint gives me the brilliant and intense color that I love,” she says. “I use color to navigate the viewer’s eye across the canvas providing an avenue to discover one fun spot after another.”

Schlachter is a graduate of The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and The University of the Arts, formerly Philadelphia College of Art. She will be exhibiting approximately 40 acrylic works on canvas in a variety of sizes, all of which were created in the past 15 years.

For artist Patricia Wilson-Schmid, her style spans the range from representational to abstract, based upon her feelings when she views and interprets her subjects. Like her co-exhibitors, color profoundly impacts her work.

“As I paint from my emotions, the act of painting is who I am,” she says in her artist’s statement. “It is a line, a color, a shape, or an effect of light that inspires me. My spirit than directs me through the painting. Time embellishes my approach. In the end the paintings and I have traveled through much effort and feeling. Color is the vehicle by which I express my feelings. It is a part of who I am.”

 “Dancing the Flamenco,” by Patricia Wilson-Schmid

“Dancing the Flamenco,” by Patricia Wilson-Schmid

Wilson-Schmid enjoys working in oil, watercolor, acrylic and pastels and has been painting since 1962. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Penn State University and has taken post-graduate courses at Temple University, Lehigh University, Penn State University, Samuel S. Fleisher Art Institute and Montgomery County Community College. She has exhibited her work at various galleries and shows throughout the tri-state area, as well as in juried international online exhibitions hosted by Upstream People Gallery.

The show is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Mon.-Thurs., 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. and Fri. 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. For more information about the exhibit or the gallery, contact MCCC Galleries Director Holly Cairns at 215-619-7349 or hcairns@mc3.edu.

For the more information about upcoming exhibits and activities, like our Facebook page at facebook.com/DestinationArts, and visit our website at mc3.edu/arts/fine-arts.

Help support the arts and art education programs at Montgomery County Community College by becoming a Friend of the Galleries. Donations are tax deductible. For more information, contact the College Foundation at 215-641-6535.

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