It’s ‘Hip to Be Square’ at Gallery One in August

Gallery One recently announced the theme of its August show, “Hip to be Square,” open to the public July 31 through Aug. 27.

This month’s theme at Gallery One explores the idea of “being hip to be square,” both literally and figuratively. The square creates a challenge for the artist — one that some of the artists approached in different ways, both compositionally and metaphorically, as in being or not being “cool” or “hip,” and what and who defines that.

Joyce Condry’s acrylic with collage painting “Boxed In” features squares within a square format. Her subjects (birds) reflect varying degrees of “hipness” or “squareness.” Much like a typical group of people testing new ideas, some of the birds are taking steps to think “outside the box,” while others are completely “boxed in.”

“Then there are those few exceptions that are completely ‘out of the box’ and have only left a feather or two behind to show that they were ever in the room with us at all.”

Dale Sheldon’s acrylic painting “Wise Owl” highlights what moms often say: “It’s actually cool to be smart.” With a reputation for wisdom, Sheldon’s snowy owl sits on a pole looking over the beach grasses, patiently watching for dinner. With their excellent eyesight and hearing, they are good hunters, preferring the daytime, unlike other owl species.

Lesley McCaskills acrylic painting “Dogwood and Blue Bells” is all about designing in a square format. Using a section of a garden in spring that has a circular path, she used the rounded form to contrast the shape of the canvas. Filtered light dances around a circular walk with dappled shadows, while dabs of wispy white from a blooming dogwood stream across the top edge of the work.

Artist Laura Hickman’s pastel painting “Farmyard Superlatives, Most Likely to Succeed” both embraces the complete “hipness” of the goat and utilizes his face to compose the square graphically. Using bright, fun colors, the goat’s ears, horns, long neck and head break the squares into visually interesting shapes designed to suit his personality.

“Summer Friends,” artist Jeanne Mueller’s watercolor painting done in vibrant, sun-drenched hues, explores the lifelong friendship that has resulted from summers spent at the beach each year.

Artist Marybeth Patterson’s oil painting “Tilghman Island Sunset” explores that square format with the landscape.

“Capturing and then composing the sunset is always a challenge for an artist. You rarely see a square old master painting. This is because it is harder to balance a painting within a square. Mary Beth kept this stunning sunset simple, and focused on the early drama as the light was changing by the second,” representatives noted. “Tilghman Island’s beauty shines no matter what shape canvas you choose.”

In Eileen Olson’s acrylic painting “Don’t Tell Me That I Am Crazy,” Olson explores her artistic license.

“I know that I am crazy, sometimes. Everyone knows artists are wacky. So sometimes, for fun, I take liberty with that characterization. I went a little crazy for you with this abstract acrylic painting. A song from Huey Lewis & the News was my inspiration. Now I need to settle down and act my age, because it really is hip to be square.”

“Early Birds at the Square,” artist Cheryl Wisbrock’s watercolor painting done in the Piazza San Marco, also called St. Mark’s Square, depicts a literal “square.” And that square was populated by “early birds catching the worm,” because being early is also “hip,” she said.

In Artist Jan Moffatt’s acrylic painting “Fields of Ireland,” her patchwork fields of Ireland are squares of greens and gold stitched together with hand-built stone walls. Cottages and sheep are scattered in the fields. Moffatt has travelled to Ireland for many years and loves painting the Irish landscape, which has naturally divided itself into squares.

Gallery One is daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is always staffed by an artist. It is located at 32 Atlantic Avenue (Route 26) in Ocean View, and can be reached at (302) 537-5055 or online at for more information.