Sordoni Art Gallery in Wilkes-Barre opens Susquehanna River themed exhibit June 11
WILKES-BARRE — When Stanley Grand, interim director of Wilkes University’s Sordoni Art Gallery, was planning the space’s latest exhibit, he followed several criteria. The show was to be of high quality, beautiful and, more importantly, accessible and relevant to the people of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
The subject he chose: the Susquehanna River.
“Upstream & Down: The Susquehanna” opens with a public reception from 2 to 5:30 p.m. June 11 at the gallery, 150 South River St. It features 16 artists, mostly from Pennsylvania, inspired by the river.
The Susquehanna rises out of Ostego Lake in Cooperstown, New York and empties into the Chesapeake Bay, making it a dominant natural feature of the landscape through New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
A variety of perspectives and techniques makes for a visually stunning exhibition,Grand said. “All the selected landscape artists are very accomplished, and their art is quite beautiful.”
Scott Write of Lancaster submitted a piece entitled “Release” that portrays Three Mile Island and its massive cooling towers. Ithaca, New York resident Brian Keeler’s submission shows a Pittston landscape, looking at the Fort Jenkins Bridge from beneath a riverside willow tree.
Robert Stark of Union Dale has been painting images of the Susquehanna for 45 years.
He has exhibited in Washington D.C., Augusta, Georgia and the federal courthouse in Scranton, and his paintings have visited more than 140 world capitals through the U.S. State Department’s “Art in the Embassies” program.
His submission for the exhibit is part of a series, “The New American Landscape.” The artist said the style of his painting is a combination of abstraction and realism.
“It’s one that needs to be seen over a period of time,” Stark said. “It’s contemplative, and it’s a study of color value.”
Grand said the different approaches to depicting the Susquehanna offer a spectrum of feeling.
“I wanted to highlight different visions of the river and to present it in its various moods,” Grand said.
Tom Dougherty of Dallas has shown in exhibits from Maine to Florida and painted the Susquehanna River since the early 1980s. Growing up in Avoca, Dougherty hiked Campbell’s Ledge and helped clean up Wilkes-Barre after the Agnes Flood of 1972.
“I had a connection with the river,” Dougherty said. “It seemed to be an important part of the Valley.”
His submission, “River View” depicts the Market Street Bridge and the surrounding landscape of Wilkes-Barre. He describes its style as impressionist with a bit more realism than his typical work.
Grand said he hopes exhibits like “Upstream & Down” will help the Sordoni Gallery gain trust and support from the local community.
“I think you can have great, wonderful art that is relevant to people’s lives and has an effect on people,” Grand said.
The exhibit also has an agenda.
“Increasingly, we are aware that natural resources are something to be treasured,” Grand said. “If we realize what a beautiful treasure we have, maybe there will be more responsibility toward it.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter @TLArts
IF YOU GO
What: “Upstream & Down: The Susquehanna” art exhibit
Where: Sordoni Art Gallery, 150 South River St., Wilkes-Barre
When: An public reception opens the exhibit from 2 to 5:30 p.m. June 11. Summer hours for the gallery are Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.