Mala Galleria

John Baker
Jill Beech
Meghan Bergman
Jim Buckley
Ellen Catanzaro
Linda Celestian
Janice Chassier
Kristina Closs
Ki Crittenden
Thomas Del Porte
Karen Delaney
Jie Deng
Frank DePietro
Robert Dionn
Jennifer Domal
David Dziemian
Leander Fontaine
Mo Fontaine
Lele Galer
Judy Goodkind
Rachel Altschuler
Sue Ciccone
Jack Giangiulio

Jack Giangiulio grew up in Delaware County but has resided in Chester County for the past 20 years.  His watercolors reflect his observations from the New Jersey shore to the rural areas of Chester County and beyond.  His work ranges from semi-representational to abstract and everything in between.  He has won various awards at the Chester County Art Association and currently has paintings in local galleries.

Growing up in the countryside of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Sue was filled with a deep appreciation for the beauty of nature.  This area has always been and continues to be an inspiration to her and her art.  Nature is her muse and her work is an emotional response to the beauty of creation.  Sue’s painting style ranges from realism to representation, and all tell a story of the animals, people, and places she has met or visited along with her life’s journey.    It is her desire to connect the viewer in an intimate way to her subject.

Art has always been a part of her life, but painting was something not discovered till later.   Although she considers herself a self-taught artist, she gained invaluable knowledge through the instruction of other artists as well.

Over the years, and to this day, Sue’s work has been sold in multiple galleries and art shows.  She has been involved with many charities and continues to use her art to help with special causes when able.  Through the organization, Healing Art Works, Sue’s work has been placed in four well- known regional hospitals. 

Rachel Altschuler, a native of Chester County, Pennsylvania, showed an aptitude for art at a very early age. Throughout high school, she excelled in drawing and painting and was eventually awarded an art scholarship to Coastal Carolina University. While there, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Art Studio and a Master’s degree in Art Education. Upon graduation, Rachel began teaching in the art department at Villa Maria Academy High School. After five years of teaching, she left to pursue a career as a full-time artist. Since then, she has devoted her time and energy to her art.

 

Rachel’s work is a reflection of what inspires her most- her love of nature. Her bird paintings, while inherently whimsical, also capture a sense of mystery. Her attention to detail and bold use of color are what make these paintings come to life. Her work has been featured in several galleries and businesses throughout Chester County, and as far west as Colorado. One of her favorite places to find new inspiration is the Stroud Preserve in West Chester, a 574 acre protected wildlife habitat and “important bird area” as designated by the National Audubon Society.

Working with found images, Judy Goodkind builds her pictures from widely disparate sources.  Seamlessly integrating cut-outs and paint, she creates what one critic has described as "logical presentations of illogical reality".  Her visual allusions range through epochs of art history.  They are brain teasers and invitations to puzzle-solving.

Judy has exhibited extensively through-out the Mid-Atlantic region with 22 solo shows and numerous juried exhibitions over the past 30 years.  Her collages are included in the corporate collections of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, the American Association of Retired Persons, and the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals as well as many private collections.

Lele Galer is an oil and encaustic painter who uses a bright palette and expressionistic brushwork. She is particularly interested in color, mass and texture.She like to paint trees because she likes the strength and solidity of the trunks in juxtaposition to the color masses of vegetation in the forest. Her encaustic work uses primarily photographic images that she has taken and incorporated into a deeper world of wax, color and texture. For the past two  years she has been working in mig welded steel, making abstract sculptures with found and bought steel in relief or standing. Her sculptures range in size from 6 inches to 10 feet. Half of her time is devoted to steel sculpture and the other half to painting in encaustic and oil. Lele’s studio is in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Lele Galer  was educated at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco Art Institute. Most of the past 20 years she spent doing public art projects in schools and underserved areas, and she only returned to gallery work in 2005. Lele also owns and runs the local winery Galer Estate Vineyard & Winery in Kennett Square, writes a weekly newspaper art column, runs local art shows, runs a weekly Popup art show featuring local artists, she is an active Board/member of art organizations, and actively writes, teaches and lectures in Art History in the schools and local library.

Mo Fontaine is a painter, based in St. Ingbert, Germany. After graduating in art and illustration from Folkwang University in Essen (Germany), she painted for many years in the tradition of Informalism before, in 2006, she moved to figurative painting, using acrylic and oil. Her focus is now on the magic of colors, on playing with color fields, contrasts between complementary colors, and cold-warm contrasts. She intentionally suppresses or distorts depth of room. Mo captures the sensuality of surface structures and textures, such as the velvety or shiny skin of fruits or the glowing depth of ceramic vessels. Her empathetic treatment of the objects of her still lifes appears to give these quiet things a soul. In 2013, Mo begun studying the Japanese Rimpa School of painting and started a growing series of koi paintings.

Leander Fontaine has been working as artist, illustrator and cartoonist since 1981. Published in magazines, newspapers, books; on magazine, book and CD covers; on web sites and in other media (even tattoos) in many countries worldwide.  His drawings and paintings are in private collections in the US, Canada, Japan, UK, Germany, France. As syndicated cartoonist, he had his gag cartoons appear in many German-language newspapers and magazines.

Born near the German-French border, he worked from Germany before moving to the US in the mid Nineties. He lives near Downingtown, Pennsylvania. From 2005 to 2012, he enjoyed his managerial and expert role in a company he founded (unrelated to his art) so much that he temporarily reduced his artistic output. In 2012, however, in line with his life-long fascination by monochromatic art, he begun a new generation of ink on paper works in which he uses Asian (sumi-e) techniques.

David Dziemian lives and works in New Jersey with his wife, two kids, two cats, several fish and a love bird. He received his MFA from Montclair University and has exhibited his works across the country. He is represented in the New York by Marion Royael Gallery. David is an adjunct professor at Brookdale Community College as well as a teacher working with the Monmouth Arts High School program.

"A long time ago, a mentor of mine told me that when you can’t think of what to paint, paint the things around until you find your direction. Almost 20 years and an MFA degree later and I’m still painting the things around me, finding beauty, mystery, and inspiration in both the mundane and the unique that surround us. My work is about light, shadow, perspective, and perception. But there are deeper ideas within, allegorical ideas intermixed with observations that are a celebration of the process of painting and the joy of bringing to life my vision of reality."

Jennifer Domal is best known for writing designs on eggshells using melted beeswax, dye and acid, an art form known as pysanky. Her Polish-Lithuanian heritage first introduced her and her passion for abstract and idealized forms, pattern and repetition, line and dot influenced her decision to continue using eggshells. Ancient cultures and traditional art forms that use pattern, line and bold color captivate her eye and will often find a way into pysanky and batik eggs. Designs are written on shells as small as quail and bobwhite up to emu and ostrich, although the artist admits duck are a favorite for the porcelain like finish.

Domal grew up in Bucks County and moved to Chester County soon after graduating from West Chester University. She went back to West Chester University to attain a BFA in Studio Arts as a “mature” student after finally realizing that she was an artist. Domal has won awards in exhibitions for drawings, paintings and pysanky. She sells her work online, at shows and festivals, and in galleries. She teaches privately and at local art associations.

Robert Dionne studied illustration and fine art at The Art Institute of Boston. The epicenter of the Golden Age of Illustration was The Brandywine School of Illustrators. Today’s standard bearer of the tradition, inspired by Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth, is Robert S. Dionne. Not far from the Brandywine River Museum, Dionne now works with spot-on quality and technique of paint application. Every painting sustains and illuminates the strength of our regional past. In addition to fine art, Dionne is also a highly sought after decorative artist and muralist due to his focus and deep appreciation for the 18th Century Brandywine history.

Frank DePietro grew up in the blue collar city of Scranton, a former coal mining region in northeastern Pennsylvania. Frank had an early interest in art.   His parents noticed this penchant for art and enrolled him in a summer oil painting class at Marywood University when he was ten. The experience propelled his life-long interest in painting and he continued to take lessons with his instructor at here private studio for several years. In 1993 Frank entered Bloomsburg University undecided on a field of study.  Within his first year it became clear to him that the path he wanted to follow was a career in art. He studied with well-known ceramist, Karl Beamer, who demanded dedication from his students.  Frank was molded over the next few years by Beamer’s mentoring and has carried this dedication and passion with him.  In addition to studying ceramics with Beamer, Frank studied painting with Vincent Hron, another great artist and contemporary painter.  Hron’s teaching style was far from Beamer’s methodology, but they both had one thing in common, they took a sincere interest in Frank and watching his work develop.  Frank graduated from Bloomsburg in 1997 with a B.A. in Studio Art; his concentrations included drawing, painting, ceramics, and a minor in Art history.  Art history has always played a significant role in the underlying messages of Frank’s work. After graduating, Frank moved to Philadelphia PA and continued his pursuits in painting. In his time spent there he continued his studies in art, getting a post baccalaureate teaching certificate at Moore College of Art and Design as well as participating in painting courses at Tyler School of Art and Studio Incaminati. Over the 12 years spent in Philadelphia Frank participated in an extensive list of exhibitions both locally and nationally and received several awards for his paintings and teaching practices.

In spring of 2010, Frank relocated with his wife and two daughters to Kennett Square in Chester County Pennsylvania. Frank literally moved into the backyard of one of the great gardens of the world, Longwood Gardens. The unlimited access to Longwood began to slowly influence the subject matter of his work.  Inspired by his new environment and the crisp realist tradition of Brandywine Valley Artists, Frank had an abrupt shift in styles. He was particularly intrigued by the water lilies in the Water Lily Garden at Longwood.  His encounter with this subject would evolve his work and he would later take a class where he could immerse himself in the water lily pools to get up close and personal with his subject matter.  He has departed from the primitive expressionist imagery of his early work to the highly realistic depictions of nature that you see today.

Jie Deng is a photographer specializing in portrait and still life photography. As a little child, she loved to draw. When she grew up, she found camera is the best tool to express herself, much like a brushis to a painter. Jie finds inspiration from things around her -- a tomato, a berry, a flower. She loves to put them in a composition that reflects her vision. Jie Deng grew up in Chengdu, a beautiful city in the Southwest of China. She has lived in the United States for eight years, and currently lives in Kennett Square with her husband and daughter.

Karen Delaney has been a sculptor for 25 years. She actively exhibits in galleries and group shows in the region and has shown both nationally and internationally. She has works in many private collections and in several institutions, including one permanently installed 13’ sculpture as far away as the Danube River in Hungary. Karen has a MFA from Radford University in Virginia where she was also a Graduate Teaching Fellow. She has taught art studio and art history and the Indiana University of PA, The Anglo-American College in Prague, and Emmanuel College in Boston.  She has a Certificate in Museum Studies from Harvard University and has worked in the education department at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. For nearly three years she was the executive director at the Chester County Art Association, and today she is CCAA’s exhibitions coordinator.

Thomas Del Porte intends to tell a visual story within each stroke of paint. His paintings are made with thousands of little jeweled, thorn like curls, each stroke acting as an individual painting. He paints from direct observation in the attempt to capture a unique portion of the infinite qualities of light, line, color and spaces that nature provides. His goal is to communicate a visual quality that reveals something new within the movement and drama of the images he translates. Thomas Del Porte’s interests range from the western traditions in painting to modern art. What is important and aesthetic to Del Porte as an artist surpasses most adjectives and falls within a lasting impression of the art itself. His hope is to persuade his viewers into a longing to lose oneself in the work, just as he has done in the process of creating it.

 

Del Porte has been a student of several Delaware masters and has studied at the famed Barnes Foundation while it was still in Merion, Pennsylvania. His passon for learning about art is an ongoing endevor. Del Porte teaches his love for art and painting to private students and groups. He has been on the adjunct faculty of the Delaware College of Art and Design and was the former President of the DCCA artist guild. Del Porte's paintings have won numerous awards. His work can be found in private collections in the United States and Europe. He is an active participant in the gallery scene in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. His studio is located in Wilmington Delaware at Two Pear Studio.

Ki Crittenden is a ceramic artist of over 30 years. Her work is influenced by nature, trees, and ocean life, light and earth tones. She studied fine arts at University south Korea and then began creating and selling art in Seoul, Korea. After immigrating to the United States, her career as an artist blossomed in Seagrove, North Carolina, a haven for many distinguished potters. Moving up to Pennsylvania has allowed Ki to bring her work to a much larger audience. Ki's artwork is inspired by nature and incorporates light and colors the reflect sunsets, sunrises, and the eternal cycle of the seasons, in her artwork you can see scenes from the world around you and patterns that are organic and feel like they come alive with light.

Kristina Closs is a self-taught watercolor and oil artist. Her work is known for its light and almost transparent quality. She takes the things of day to day life and illuminates them. Birds, cabbages and landscapes are some of Kristina's favorite subjects. Kristina grew up in Largo, Florida and graduated from St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland with a B.A. in Philosophy, History of Science and Literature. She lives and works in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Her work has been shown in galleries all over the Eastern United States and is collected internationally. Her illustrated book of poems was displayed alongside the original works of William Blake. She has been featured in Martha Stewart's Craft blog, Divergent magazine, Good Things by David, and Humans of Kennett Square. Besides painting, Kristina is an avid baker, gardener, orchid addict, and reader.

As a child, Jim Buckley was inspired by his uncle, master craftsman Howard Lattomus, who collaborated with Herny duPont at Winterthur. He maintains Howard's legacy of craftsmanship by working in his original shop in Montchanin, Delaware. Jim's work as a professional cabinetmaker and woodworker spans 17 years of creating pieces ranging from traditional fine furniture to one -of -a-kind modern pieces.

As an artist, Buckley creates work which embodies the spirit of preservation while enhancing nature's marvels. He recognizes the importance of water in nature and how its smooth flow nurtures and shapes everything, even a fall tree. Because of wood's relationship with water, each piece has its own mysterious charter, especially the unusual or imperfect specimens. His challenge is to find each piece's opportunity for re-birth while preserving the integrity of its original form, spirit and voice.

There is such beauty in nature...the sky, the sea and the land around us emits an energy that is inspiring! When I look around, I feel color and beauty that moves me to create!

Linda Celestian, a Delaware-based artist holds a BFA from Moore College of Art and Design and has received multiple awards from the Delaware Division of the Arts. She has been in numerous solo and group shows at venues such as the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Independence Seaport Museum, LGTripp Gallery, and GoggleWorks Center for the Arts. Her work acknowledges her love of nature and her childhood spent immersed in it. Celestian views nature as a metaphor for human experiences and emotional states of being. Her paintings and sculptures imitate the organic flow of nature and natural formations, drawing inspiration from aerial photography, the ocean, lakes of her childhood, and the creek in her neighborhood. Celestian writes about her art: “I’m in partnership with the laws of nature. I allow the paint to run and puddle forming river like patterns that emulate the earth’s surface. The correlation between these imaginary waterways and our own circulatory system illustrates the connection between earth and mankind.”

While Janice Chassier discovered a love of ceramics as a child, it has only been in the past eight years that she has taken the journey back to clay. Through the many courses in her graduate studies at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland she has honed her artistic ceramic skills. Her work may look like plants and waterfowl, but its purpose is to depict people; teams of people working together towards a common goal, the many kinds of students that teachers find in a classroom, husbands, wives, children, siblings and the ever changing stages of life. As a teacher she sets the stage in which students create. As an artist she creates work for people to use in their homes. She envisions that the consumer will use her creations to create. It might be collaging three dimensional functional and sculptural pieces against a backdrop of tiles to make a layered collage. And then as the need or season changes, the homeowner may move them again to create something new. Change, movement, nature, stages of life; true to her beliefs as an educator, she wants people to use her pieces to create.

Organic objects and underwater life inspire artists Meghan Bergman: "I enjoy bringing the extreme texture and movement found underneath the sea to the surface of my ceramic artwork. Each barnacle piece looks as if it has been aging over time under the sea like a rugged sandy rock growing life on the surface. The organic foot that holds the form appears like an underwater cave that has been formed from years of erosion. One can almost expect to see a fish peering out of the shadows. Through the use of mostly matte glazes, with a hint of shiny glaze, this gives the illusion of water remaining on the surface of the piece. Each treasure looks as if it has been taken from the sea. The edges of the trays are inspired by ocean waves, which carry the rough rocky form covered in barnacles and shell marks. The foot of the teapots and mugs mimic the peaceful motion of a stingray swimming as the clay is lifted up and down. My fish mugs have a surface texture of shell marks, scales, and individually crafted stamps. From experimenting with different textures, I’ve found inspiration for new pieces. For example, my fish eye teapots are covered in fish eyes to the point it starts to look more like octopus tentacles. I want my work to appear like a creature or treasure discovered at sea, that requires a long look to fully appreciate the piece. Wood firing is another way I like to complicate the surface and add depth to my work. By layering slip, glaze, or just letting the natural ash cover the piece, there are endless subtleties to discover on the surface. Objects in nature are never identical; they grow by chance and are a product of their environment. Their surroundings create a perfectly imperfect “wabi-sabi” nature, just like wood firing. Not only does wood firing create a more rugged natural looking piece, but it is also lends itself a wonderful community atmosphere conducive to learning from others and sharing knowledge."

Creating is an integral part of Jill Beech's life. Working with clay and metal connects with Earth and that transformation is alluring and fascinating to her - as it has been to humans through the ages. Jill's functional and sculptural work is mainly made from porcelain or stoneware clay, and less frequently low fire earthenware clay. Horses, and to less extent other animals, influence both the forms as well as the images on the decorated surfaces of functional ware. Imagery from travel also has influenced her forms. Over the past few years, in addition to working with clay, she has been working with copper fold-forming, using commercial patinas on the finished forms, and making wall panels, leaves for mobiles, and wearable wrist cuffs. Other work includes clay monoprinting and wire sculptures. Jill's studio is near Ercildoun and is open by appointment and at annual open studio days.

Artist Information A - G

John Baker received his Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Delaware, studied at the University of the Arts and earned his Bachelors of Arts from West Chester University. He has been a Professor of Art at West Chester University from 1974 to 2015. He had also been chair of the Department of Art & Design and gallery director for the past 18 years. He had established several global initiatives providing opportunities for international artists to share their work and expertise with the university community. He had also established numerous collaborations for his faculty to exhibit their works within international exchange programs. His own artistic work has been exhibited in over 100 international, national and regional exhibitions. He is represented in private, corporate and museum collections. Selected collections include; The University Museum, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Delaware Art Museum, Sumitomo USA, AT&T, MBNA America, Capital University, Beijing, China.

In both vessels and wall pieces, John likes to design a quiet rhythmic energy often associated with the feeling of landscapes that are influenced through travel. Subtle changes within color and textures aid the viewer in seeing something new each time.