Everyone's invited to the party All kinds of works show up at the 'Show up and Show Show'
BY MARY ELLEN WRIGHT, Correspondent
The event was strictly B.Y.O.H., as in Bring Your Own Hammer, in Wrightsville last weekend.
While dozens of Lancaster County and York County artists brought the tools and the talent, the staff of the lowercase gallery on Front Street supplied the nails as they prepared for the Show Up and Show Show, which opens today.
Saturday afternoon, the appropriately named Robert Hammer hung his tarot card-inspired, pen-and-ink illustration, "The Five of Cups," on a gallery wall that was rapidly filling with local artists' paintings, sculptures and photographs.
Hammer, a commercial illustrator who lives near the lowercase gallery, explains the seated woman in his drawing has dropped three drinking cups, signifying disappointment in her past, and left two upright, which symbolize hope for the future.
"In the tarot card," Hammer adds, "there's a bridge, as well, so I just used the Wrightsville Bridge" in the background.
That nearby span over the Susquehanna is an appropriate symbol for the show, an exhibit of single works by each of more than 60 artists hailing from both sides of the river.
All were prompted, via e-mail or social media, to show up at the gallery last weekend, pay a small fee and hang their work.
The exhibit opens this evening with an artists' reception as part of the monthly Columbia-Wrightsville-Marietta Fourth Friday event.
"It's just a fun way for all the artists in the area to come together, at the same time, just spontaneously," says the show's curator, Heather Heilman Loercher, who runs the lowercase gallery with three other artists.
"Our goal is always to bring [together] people and artists from York and Lancaster … since we're right here at the river," she says.
Loercher, who helped coordinate similar exhibits some years ago for the Lancaster Museum of Art, fought to be heard over the din of artists pounding nails, chatting and commenting on each others' work.
Susan A. Reed, of Manheim Township, walked into the gallery carrying "Inside a Colorful Lifeboat," a photograph she took in Ocean City, N.J.
"Most of my photos are of the Jersey shore," Reed says after hanging the photo of a small vessel filled with a life preserver, rope and oars in bright, primary colors.
"I do a lot of landscapes, cityscapes --nature shots mostly," Reed adds. Nearby, a painting by Loercher's mother, Donna Welsh of Marietta, is wired for sound.
The picture is part of a 20-piece series she's working on, based on the short piano Nocturnes of Romantic composer Frederic Chopin.
Whoever buys Welsh's "Nocturne No. 1 in B Flat, Opus 9," a swirling acrylic abstract in black, white and celery green, will also get the attached MP3 player, loaded with the piano piece that inspired the work.
"This is the visual interpretation of the music," Welsh says. "I'm fond of puzzles and mystery and intrigue, and I like to bring that into my work and kind of invite the viewer inside to figure out what's going on."
In front of one of the gallery's windows overlooking the river, Blanton Amspacher is drawing legs. Lots and lots of legs.
Amspacher, a metal sculptor and jewelry maker from Red Lion, is creating a creepy-crawly installation titled "Studied."
His work consists of 80 tiny glass vials containing insect specimens floating in alcohol, accompanied by a notebook filled with his detailed, ink-and-brush-pen illustrations and taxonomy charts for each bug.
"I've always been an insect nerd," Amspacher explains. "Ever since I was a little kid, I used to run around in the field behind my house and play with bugs."
He now raises more than 20 species of cockroaches, along with spiders and scorpions.
Amspacher will bring some of his little darlings to the Show Up and Show artists' reception this evening: Prepare to meet some of his live Madagascar hissing cockroaches, which he calls "interesting" and "harmless."
Lancaster County works in the exhibit include a colorful clay-tile mosaic table by Jeffrey Himes of Willow Street.
Lancaster city artists' contributions include Deborah S. Serdy's mixed-pattern "Hare Apron," embellished with pink fringe and a plastic bunny face; Jeffrey Moser's "Film Study" sculpture, a shimmering, variegated wheel of tightly wrapped film, and Shalya Marsh's decorative, pod-shaped "Rattle Set" in brown, terra cotta and white ceramics.
The show contains works ranging from photography to bronze sculptures, and from fiber art to mixed-media paintings.
"It's great for all kinds of artists --people who just want to get themselves out there, students that are boosting their exhibition record," Loercher says.
"We're grass-roots artists who appreciate all kinds of art from all walks of life," she adds. "We just want to be part of the synergy between the counties."
"Show Up and Show Show''
Opening reception, tonight from 6-9
Cont. through March 2
Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Fourth Fridays from 6-9 p.m.
211 N. Front St., Wrightsville