Shippensburg’s SHAPE gallery opens ‘Tranquility’ exhibit Friday
By AMBER SOUTH
Two local artists will display their representations of the area’s landscapes in an exhibit starting today at Shippensburg Arts Programming and Education Gallery.
Shippensburg area art teacher Sarah Maclay and Philadelphia-based illustrator and designer Kara Howland will give local scenery new life in the exhibit “Tranquility.”
A meet-the-artists reception at 6 p.m. today will kick off the display at SHAPE Gallery, 20 W. King St. Regular gallery hours are 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, through Jan. 25.
Maclay’s and Howland’s works demonstrate the influences of natural beauty and environments, vivid color and organic shapes, according to a news release from SHAPE.
Maclay said Wednesday she will have 16 pieces in the exhibit. Many of her paintings are a fantasy vision of the scenes she sees everyday while driving to and from her home in Adams County to Shippensburg, where she teaches art at Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary and Shippensburg Area Senior High schools.
“Mine are definitely a little more literal representations of the landscape,” Maclay said, comparing her work to Howland’s.
“I paint from memory and try and focus on landscapes I see everyday.”
What is not literal about Maclay’s paintings is the color. She likes using unexpected colors that are typically not the focus in a natural scene. For example, her representation of grass may not include green.
“I’m really fascinated when either the sun is setting or the sun is rising; the colors shift a lot from the normal daytime landscape,” she said.
A professional artist who has been showing and selling work for 15 years, Maclay hopes the Shippensburg show will help her connect more with the community. She first displayed work at Blue Parrot Bistro, Gettysburg, while she worked as a waitress there. She had her first landscape exhibit at Gallery 30 in Gettysburg, and also has a co-op gallery in the historic town.
After first crossing the county line to be an art education student at Shippensburg University, she will now bring her vision outside of her elementary and high-school classrooms and into the Shippensburg community at large. While she is the teacher, Maclay has found that her own artistic skills and style have been influenced by her experiences leading a classroom.
“I’ve realized how much I love the process of building technology, building knowledge, building on other people’s ideas,” she said. “I think the kids sense it a lot because I’m not faking my enthusiasm about what I do.”
Adding another element to the exhibit is the contrast between the artists’ styles, Maclay said. She and Howland never met before hanging their pieces in the gallery.
“It winds up that not knowing her and not seeing each other’s work, it was surprising to walk in and see how well they work together,” Maclay said.
A Shippensburg native, Howland now lives in Philadelphia and works as a graphic designer for the Pennsylvania Ballet. She draws inspiration for her works from pattern, organic shapes and balance.
Amber South can be reached at email@example.com and 262-4771.