The new season of Wilmington’s Art on the Town launched with flair last Friday, presenting a dynamic, diverse range of exhibitions across galleries and alternative art spaces in the city’s downtown. Combined with the opening of new Market Street eateries, the ‘Art Loop’ drove a buzzy vibe on a beautiful, sunlit night that signaled the welcome arrival of spring.
TSD stopped by Jean Diver’s exhibition “Living in Mythology,” paintings and works on paper, at the Mezzanine Gallery at the Caravel State Office Building. Inspired by Howard Pyle, Jamie Wyeth, and Gustave Klimt, Diver selected work for this exhibition filled with symbolism and metaphors. Her mythological narratives were inspired by thoughts she had about ‘spiritual safe havens’ as a child. “Nature and being outdoors made me believe that I had superpowers.”
Young girls and boys, a black pug and cat served as her subjects. Her mythological influences were present in each of her works. “For instance, I did a paining in this show about ‘the boogie man.’ Where did this boogie man story come from? I do not know? I painted a funny picture of my dog with false teeth in his mouth, and he looked a little like a scary monster under a bed. A myth of a thing that doesn’t exist.
Diver’s solo exhibition was sponsored by the Delaware Division of the Arts.
Over at the Chris White Gallery, artist Michael Kalmbach said he has personally hung dozens of exhibitions in the very same space where his own work is now displayed. A well-known member of Wilmington’s art scene, Kalmbach was proud so many friends turned out to see his “Vibe Realm Series,” which refers to his zone of interest — “my ideas, my music, my zone.” The works include brightly colored geometric abstractions — a few with contrasting swirling brushstrokes.
Kalmbach has been interested in abstractions since his first fell in love with art. “When I was 16 I used to make a ton of hard-edge abstract work. My focus then was to eliminate all evidence of the hand— no brushstrokes, no mistakes… it was pretty much an impossible idea. Twenty years later, I return to the theme but I’m coming at it in a different way.”
For the last 10 years, Kalmbach has been a part of the Chris White Community Development Corporation, and the 23-unit “Shipley Lofts” artist live/work space, where he has supported countless artists as they developed their craft. In his role as head of the Creative Vision Factory CVF), Kalmbach provides opportunities for individuals on the behavioral health spectrum by putting them to work on large-scale art installations around the city.
Perhaps his most famous and first installation on behalf of the CVF — the red, purple and mirrored mosaic quilt on the exterior wall of the Christina Cultural Arts Center — can be seen right outside the doors of the Chris White Gallery.