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This article by Nicole Plett published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on
November 3, 1999. All rights reserved.
From a One-Man Jury, an Annual Show
Malcolm Bray, proprietor of the Old English Pine
store in Lambertville, earns his livelihood selling imported antique
pine furniture from England. But in recent years, he has taken
of his shop’s spacious, upstairs loft to put together an eclectic
group art exhibition celebrating the work of the region’s artists.
An English import himself, born and raised in the old industrial city
of Hull, Bray has been in business for 14 years, selling antiques
out of an attractive Victorian brick building on the corner of North
Union and Elm. The building, known as the Spoke Works, dates from
1881 and was originally used for building wheels and spokes for
"Safety in Numbers," opening Sunday, November 7, with a 3
to 8 p.m. reception, is Bray’s fifth annual show of innovative
and sculpture. It features works by Myles Cavanaugh, Annelies van
Dommelen, Gareth Evans, Chad Cortez Everett, Diane Levell, Virgil
Sova, Alan Taback, Stacie Speer-Scott, Ron Wyffels, and Bray.
With more than 300 visitors expected to show up for the opening of
the annual show, Bray says the event just developed from something
casual to a professional effort.
"The original show was by friends and artists I knew in the
area," he says, noting that the quality of both the exhibition
and its presentation has steadily evolved over five years. This year’s
show will comprise about 80 wall pieces and a dozen sculptures.
"The focus is contemporary art, quite subjective, not juried,
and no awards," says Bray. "Basically it’s my own idea of
what an art show should be about and that’s reflected in the work.
We’re not a commercial gallery ready to take chunks of money off
And since my overhead is supported by the business, I can afford to
put on a show that’s a little bit risque."
Among the artists represented for the first time is Diane Levell,
with a series of 10 recent works that revolve around the figure. A
photographer, Levell has manipulated her prints with gum bichromate
and cyanotype to create a more abstract statement.
Other figurative works and work from life are represented in the
nudes by Jacques Fabert and portraits by Bonnie Maclean, all of
scale that is comfortably accommodated in the big space. Alan Taback
will show a series of recent pieces that favor a loose, expressive
quality, some on a large scale, while Stacie Speer-Scott creates in
a similar vein via mixed media.
Bray says he uses a variety of means to find and invite artists to
participate in the annual show. "I go out scouting, I use word
of mouth, and some artists approach me." He says Philadelphia’s
First Friday series, the monthly event when city galleries stay open,
has been helpful. Philadelphia painters Chad Cortez Everett, Gareth
Evans, Ron Wyffels, and sculptor Mei-Ling Hom all contribute "an
urban diversion" to this year’s show.
Bray, who somehow finds time to run his business, the annual group
show, and to paint, describes himself as an artist without formal
training. "I began life in an Impressionist vein, but now my work
is going in an expressionist direction," he says, acknowledging
Pop influences of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
"Safety in Numbers" is open seven days a week, through
31, making it readily accessible to locals and visitors. However Bray
doesn’t count on a crossover audience. "The furniture people come
looking for furniture," he says, "and the art people come
looking for art.
— Nicole Plett
Street, Lambertville, 609-397-4978. Opening reception. Open every
day, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., to December 31. Website:
Free. Sunday, November 7, 3 to 8 p.m.
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