Actually, his featured muralsize pictures are composed of photos he took, then combined on canvas as paste-ups seamlessly and in unexpected ways, finally applying translucent oil paint tonalities over them, and achieving a surreal mood in each.
Such pictures cast the world's present-day turmoil in images that transcend specific time or place. They already have helped stimulate this artist's search for independent means of expression. In this, he has looked beyond regionalism toward ways of reusing the past and maintaining continuities, as well as embracing the new by his adventuresome approach to photography on canvas glistening with oil paint.
Meanwhile, threading the gap between art and commerce in this show are two Dutch picture-takers with a background in commercial photography, who depart from it here: Nico Koster and Dirk Jansen.
And if compositional inventiveness is not the distinguishing mark of their work, a strong point of view is. This is especially clear in pictures by Koster, a photographer of considerable passion and empathy, in his Cuban street photos in which people and locale are combined in a loose and casual way that is journalistic.
In Jansen's scenic landscapes of the American Southwest, it is the punch that matters. Lush things happen to color and light in these images, which look beautiful in a way that is at once controlled (with no cosmetic intervention, just careful timing of daylight) and accidental.
Art and commerce seem interchangeable here, as such work could easily be produced in an editorial or advertising context. Jansen works in a style readily adaptable for commercial needs. Certainly the look of these colorful pictures could sell something.
Holland Art House, 113 W. Market St., West Chester. To Oct. 2. Tuesdays-Saturdays 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 610-701-9330.
Salon des Amis. Ambiguity masquerading behind benign neighborhood views sets the scene for a solo of 20 oils by Babette Martino at Salon des Amis.
A frequent painter of the old river communities of Manayunk, Conshohocken and Norristown, this Blue Bell artist is well-known. Here, she shows an uncanny intuitive ability to capture the essence of certain thoroughfares and small streets, seen from a single vantage point.
In a naturalistic yet stylized way, Martino is concerned with tone, mood and the sobriety of her colors and portrays soft, humid or hazy climate conditions. People are few in these car-less, austere vistas.
Salon des Amis, 2321 Yellow Springs Rd., Malvern. To Oct. 8. Tuesdays-Sundays 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 610-647-6010.
Montgomery County Community College. Peter Seidel, an art teacher at Friends' Central School in Wynnewood, shows 25 oils at the county college. Color and proportion are the important factors as this painter mingles a bold, thorough traditionalist's concern for drawing with an unusual, highly effective way of conveying the power of light directly.
The sharply outlined, mostly flat areas of clear bright color - in plastic bottles of mouthwash, dish soap and cigarette lighters - feel like stained-glass windows. And the input of these everyday-object paintings is a joyful one, with Seidel's Mouthwash #5 perhaps his best piece.
Montgomery County Community College's College Hall, 340 DeKalb Pike off Morris Road, Blue Bell. To Oct. 5. Mondays-Thursdays 7 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Fridays 7:30-5, Saturdays 10-4, Sundays 1-5. 215-641-6505.
St. Joseph's University. Diane Pieri of Philadelphia, responding positively to Japanese culture's preoccupation with the aesthetic appeal of seemingly mundane artifacts after a recent Asian trip, shows new paintings at St. Joseph's.
In one sense, these gentle, understated pictures are diary entries - personal and original works that document moments in the ever-changing face of Japan. In another, these pictures are as mysterious as their making.
Pattern has tended to be a mode of work for Pieri without its ever having become the real core of her artistic existence. Thus, Pieri is more of an abstract painter dealing with pattern than a pattern painter of the purest sort.
St. Joseph's University Gallery, Boland Hall, Lapsley Lane, Merion. To Sept. 30. Mondays-Fridays 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 610-660-1840.
Contact art critic Victoria Donohoe at The Inquirer, 800 River Rd., Conshohocken, Pa. 19428.