HARRISBURG — As summer draws to a close, Harrisburg’s Gallery at Second brings a dual exhibition featuring photographic reflections of travel and oil paintings rich with the colors of the seasons.
The photography of Central Pennsylvania artist, Lisa Bennett, allows us to travel with her locally as well as across the country. Bennett states, “These photographs are an everlasting record of the moment I felt the most connected with my surroundings: with the mist that rises, the light that falls on the pavement, the fox that I share a mountain trail with, the trees that stand side by side — moments that gave me an awareness of tranquility and calmness, yet mystery and wonder.”
Bennett effectively uses scale to draw the viewer in to focus on details in many of the prints. In “Joshua Tree National Park, California, No. 1, 2014” a natural rock formation becomes more face-like upon close inspection. “Desert View Watchtower, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 2007” deceptively resembles a cloudy snow-covered landscape designed for a miniature model train set.
Several other prints have a nostalgic feel. The washed-out colors of the water and sailboat in “Hudson River, New York City, New York, 2013” and the close up of “Joshua Trees, Joshua Tree National Park, California, 2014” capture the look of old postcards or long forgotten Polaroid photos.
The way color is captured within many of the photographs communicates texture and movement in an abstract manner. One of the largest prints, “Lake Michigan, Chicago, Illinois, 2006,” is filled with the gradation of color across the surface of the lake to the horizon and into the sky.
“Fairfield, Iowa, 2013” has a shocking burst of bright color emanating from the corner of the image, interrupting the serene night scene.
“Near Denver, Colorado, 2011” is an image caught from above to highlight the grid-like topography, bisected by roads dotted with urban structures. The grid pattern appears cubist in form.
Bennett’s talent lies in not only capturing these moments but also in the ability to propel the audience back in time to join her in her journeys. To learn more about Bennett’s artwork, visit www.lisa-bennett.com.
Jill Peckelun is a Midstate alla prima plein air painter. Her work in oil paints is done “plein air,” literally translated from French as “in the open air” or outdoors. “Alla prima” is a method of painting in which the painting is completed in one session while the paint is still wet, in contrast to other methods that take place over several painting sessions with the paint drying in between sessions.
Peckelun’s paintings are characterized by thick layers of paint and prominent brush work. Her application of color creates images from the recognizable such as quaint neighborhoods as in “Tree Lined Streets” to the more abstract scenes of “Deep Woods” and “Crashing Sunset.”
Her use of rich colors highlighted with the occasional bright accent gives each piece striking depth. Her range of colors is reminiscent of the passing of the seasons.
In “Woods Melody,” the colors of the fall leaves surround the forest as the bright sunlight is diffused through the trees.
A piece for the end of summer, “Rolling Fields” carries the viewer from the green and gold of the fields and mountains to the pale blue sky in this vertical landscape.
Peckelun’s work is made up of beautiful patchworks of color that communicate a true sense of being out of doors and communing with nature. To learn more about Peckelun’s art, visit www.jillpeckelun.com.
Gallery at Second’s exhibition featuring Bennett and Jill Peckelun is on display through September 13. Gallery at Second is located at 608 N. 2nd St., Harrisburg. Gallery hours are 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and by appointment. For more information about the exhibit, visit www.galleryatsecond.com.
Joseph George holds a degree in history and art history from Dickinson College. He and his wife, Barrie Ann have spent much of their 20 years together travelling and visiting art galleries locally and throughout the world. Their tastes range from fine art to street art.