StreetscapeBrian Keeler Studios - fine art, illustrations, portraitures

Brian Keeler Reviews

Electric City/Diamond City Weekly- Scranton,PA

The Artists' Studio
By Alicia Grega-Pikul

From Electric City/Diamond City Weekly- Scranton,PA
A Gore-geous salute
Can you still access the imagination that once saw cuddly creatures in summer's cumulus clouds? If the concern of environmentalists and Al Gore is warranted, you may soon need it in order to imagine breathable air and a
world hospitable to humanity.

Inspired in part by the book and movie An Inconvenient Truth, painter Brian Keeler has curated a group exhibit titled The Sky Above Us - The Air We Breathe, which will open with a gala fundraiser on Friday from 5-11 p.m.
Proceeds from the $12 affair will benefit the Blue Heron Gallery as it celebrates its fifth anniversary ( in a restored building in downtown Wyalusing.

The Sky Above Us will showcase approximately 75 paintings, photographs, and collage works by 23 visual artists, including Tom Wise, Joanne Sonsire, Susan Dawson-Scranton, Karl Neuroth, Paul Bracey, Alice Laputka, Marvin
Baker, and Jan Ward among others.

"It's sort of a semi-invitational in that I told people that I knew had work that would be appropriate for it and so a lot of my artist friends (submitted work)," said Keeler. "But it was on our Web site and we sent out information, so it was open to anybody who wanted to send stuff in, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise because we got some really nice work from people I've never heard of before."

The exhibition is accompanied by a color catalog documenting selected works from the show juxtaposed with poems by regional writers. Devorah Namm, Barbara Tomaine, Megan Wolfe, Karen Blomain, David Elliott, and Richard Aston are among the participating poets who will read their work Friday. Keeler will also award five copies of Al Gore's book version of An Inconvenient Truth at the event to artists whose contributions he deems particularly exceptional as a casual sort of Juror's Award.

"The subtext of the exhibit is to draw attention to our air quality and with a hopefully beneficial environmental impact just by increasing awareness air and air quality," Keeler said. "The imagery will hopefully cause people to reflect on climate change and global warming."

The gala further boasts a wine tasting with cheese and snacks, a Lindy Hop dance lesson, and gypsy jazz in the tradition of Django Reinhardt performed by the Eric Aceto Trio of Ithaca, N.Y.

"The Lindy Hop is the original swing dance from Harlem," Keeler informed. "The name comes from Charles Lindbergh, as it was popularized at that time in 1927. But it's had a resurgence in recent years; it's become very popular all over the world."

This latest exhibit is the third in a series sharing the "thematic group art show accompanied by poetry and catalog" format that Keeler has presented at the Blue Heron. The first was titled Watercourse, a fact that has inspired the artist to assign an "earth" or "fire" theme to unify next year's project.

The Sky Above Us will remain on display through Columbus Day weekend (Oct. 5-7) as part of the annual North Branch Arts Trail, which travels from galleries in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre north along the Susquehanna River to Wyalusing, stopping at galleries and studios along the way. This year's event, Keeler informed, will see 28 venues participating. Following the North Branch festivities, selected works from The Sky Above Us will be displayed at the Laura Craig Gallery on Linden Street in Scranton from Oct. 18 to Nov. 23.

The Wyalusing-based painter put the image on canvas almost 20 years ago, but until now, he has never shown the piece in Pennsylvania. The reason for showing it now is a new exhibit titled Illumination - Fire, Light and Heat. The third in a four-part series focused on the classical elements of nature, the group show will open at The Blue Heron Gallery in Wyalusing on Friday, Aug. 8 with a benefit reception that includes a poetry reading, live jazz music and dancing as well as refreshments. It features work by 19 painters and 10 poets and is accompanied by a full-color catalogue available by purchase for $15.

A member of the board of the Wyalusing Community Corporation responsible for restoring the historic building that houses the gallery, Keeler is also the curator of the exhibition. His painting is one of several that interpreted the less blatant manifestations of fire.

"There is one painting is of an internal combustion engine. It's quite unique in its unpicturesque quality," he said. "It's just an engine removed and sitting in a black background, kind of vignetted."

The intrigue in doing a thematic show of this sort, said Keeler, lies in the artists' differing interpretations. While some contributed work completed years ago, others were compelled to create new work specifically for the exhibit. Keeler pointed to Tom Wise as one example.

"It used to be that he gave me assignments; now I'm giving him an assignment and he really took it and ran with it," Keeler said. "He did these beautiful paintings of a girl with a candle."

Many of artists and poets - all from either New York or Pennsylvania - have submitted multiple works. In addition to paintings, the exhibit includes photography and sculptures.

The first exhibit in the series was a tribute to the Susquehanna River and its tributaries. It was followed last year by an exhibit inspired by Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth titled The Sky Above Us. The shows have been well-received, but Keeler said he may insert a show of paintings created on his annual trips to Italy into the Blue Heron's next summer slot.

"There's no rush. Earth will be an easy one to do because it encompasses landscape and most people have landscapes in their repertoire, where as something like fire and air were a little more difficult to get," he said.

Illumination: Fire, Light and Heat will remain on display through the North Branch Arts Festival, closing Oct. 12. A selection of the work will then move to Laura Craig Gallery in Scranton. Admission to the Friday, Aug. 8 reception is $10 and includes food, a wine tasting by Hidden Creek Winery, poetry reading at 6:30 p.m., a Lindy Hop lesson at 7, and jazz/swing music by Bill Washer Jazz Trio at 8.

Call 746-4922 or go online to for more information

Web Site Developed By D3 Web Design
Home | Prints | Illustrations | Gallery | Events | Books / Catalogs | Videos | About Brian | Links | Contact

© 2007 Brian Keeler Studio. All rights reserved.