It's hard to believe, but "Not So Still Life" is the first show devoted to this venerable genre at the equally venerable Salon des Amis Gallery, 2321 Yellow Springs Road, in Malvern. Owner Robin Hotchkiss has gathered a rich selection of diverse examples of the form, from classically rendered work in the best tradition of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to art that is downright radical.Nearly two-dozen artists offer up their creations, with painting in the majority, but there is also sculpture and photography. The show runs through Feb. 29.

Mike DeLuca offers up "Paper Whites," which yields a global impetus. The title flowers are something of a ruse, though, as what draws the eye immediately are the two vessels. The one on the right is dark turquoise and squarely of Europe and America in origin, while the white one on the left is covered in blue designs influenced by Asian art.

The long stemmed paper white in the foreground symbolically joins our planet's two hemispheres as one entity. Indeed, this cultural exchange is a breath of fresh air in these times of ingathering and nationalism, and thus, this painting can be seen as a harbinger of a better tomorrow.

Kennett's own Carol Lesher stretches the still life theme into landscape territory with "Waiting." This depicts an outdoor scene, possibly a rich, green grass covered backyard. A white deckchair is adjacent to a white table, atop which rests a clay flowerpot filled with purple and yellow blossoms.

Overarching this scene is a green canopy of foliage that lends the scene a hint of mystery, as does the pale violet sky, while crowding in from the right side of the painting is a massed bush covered with thick, dark pink flowers. The overall effect is indeed anticipatory and the question remains. Just who is to arrive?

Equal parts comic and strange is "Bonz," by one of my favorite artists, Jeff Kimmel. This is a tightly packed piece that features a tiny figurine of a pooch reminiscent of the RCA Victor mascot. Instead of listening to his master's voice, however, this hound is captivated by the towering box of dog biscuits that rises close by like the slab from "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Adding to the mystery is a clear glass vessel that is empty but for the light glistening over its transparent surface, and a strange object in the lower right hand corner. Dog food or shoe polish? And yes, there's more, as is always Kimmel's way.

"Dish of Raspberries," by Kathleen Scott Gallagher is much more than just that. This is an interestingly elongated painting that depicts a silvery dish filled with raspberries, each one luscious and rendered with a poetic sensibility. Yet the real show stopper here is how the vessel reflects the abstract tablecloth that lends the metal surface an organic feel to complement just what reside in the dish's recess.

Another point that heightens the reality of the work while yielding further richness is how light works its way across it, as if a cloud from afar were finally getting out of the way of the sun so that it could shine in full on the dish and its charges.

For information and directions, please call 610-647-6010.


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