Thought Lot brings West Virginia to Shippensburg


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The exhibit, “You, Me, Many,” is a collaboration between Shippensburg’s Thought Lot and The Slant Factory Art Space in Charles Town, W. Va. Local photographer and curator of the exhibit, Rebecca Zullinger, says her guiding vision “is to pull more of the community and more families into the space” with a dynamic exhibition representing a range of ages and genres. The show merges the work of established artists with pieces by emerging local student artists and community members.

As you enter the factory-turned-art gallery, you are greeted by a portrait of a feisty looking character titled Taco, one of The Slant Factory’s Joshua S. Hawkins’ shirtless portraits. Hawkins’ subjects are stripped of the artifice provided by clothing and rendered in a minimalist color scheme that focuses on the naked truth of the individual. But what is most striking about the series is Hawkins’ instinctive ability to capture the personality of his subjects through careful attention to facial expression. Also from The Slant Factory is visual artist Anne Cropper, a master of “reclaimed wood trash” and natural materials. Her mixed media 3-D wall sculptures have a playful philosophical quality.

“Mad Man Band” guitarist Mike Dempsey’s urban, graffiti-esque style is a visual synthesis of the funky musical sound the band is known for. “Ape Baby,” painted on a door, combines primitive and modern elements in an artistically improvisational style reminiscent of the band’s live performances.

At the center of the exhibit is a wall of bright nature studies in acrylic by gifted student artists Ella and Clara Pagel. The sisters have been mentored by Grace B. Luhrs art teacher Sarah Maclay. Twelve year-old Ella has been painting since the fourth grade and describes herself as a “nature observer.” She says her current inspiration is the sunrise/sunset. Nine year-old Clara also works in acrylic and recently won a $100 prize in an art contest. Look for more from these promising young artists in the future.

Among more than a dozen artists represented in the show, Simon Maness, winner of the Scholastic Art and Writing Award, presents pen and ink pieces that range from the abstract (Amoebas) to traditional Celtic designs. Mature visitors will want to take a peek at Ashley Renee Hoffman’s trio of campy “nudes,” hidden discreetly in a back corner.

But the piece de resistance is the brown-eyed beauty in I prefer the Company of Tea by The Slant Factory’s Jessica E. Oberdick. The balmy colors and relaxed aesthetic of the piece give the space it occupies the blissful feeling of a perpetual summer Sunday.

The Thought Lot is dedicated to the noble goal of bringing culture to the Shippensburg community through live music and art exhibitions. The center also offers weekly Yoga classes and open mic nights. “You, Me, Many” runs through Feb. 23 at The Thought Lot; 37 E. Garfield St. Shippensburg, Pa. The Gallery hours are: Wed.-Fri. 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. For further details visit www.thethoughtlot.com

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