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Small Works are Grand Tradition at Annual Postcard Show

CHESTER — We send them from faraway places, buy them at museums, tape them to our refrigerators— postcards are portals to adventure and memory, and an accessible way to own art.

Artist Sol LeWitt used to send postcards to Sosse and Jack Baker, former owners of the Chester Gallery where LeWitt showed his work. 

“He would send them postcards from his travels and they framed some of them that he made himself. That’s what gave Jack and Sosse the idea to host a show of art the size of postcards,” said Nancy Pinney, who has owned the Chester Gallery since 2018. 

The Bakers’ first postcard show at the gallery was 28 years ago and has continued annually. The show features exhibiting and invited area artists who submit up to five pieces of art that are 4” x 6” or smaller. There are many familiar names in the show, plus about a dozen new artists this year. 

“It’s a small work show. You don’t know who made the piece until you look at the back — it’s like a postcard, you don’t know who it’s from until you turn it over,” Pinney said. 

This year’s work includes collage, printmaking and mixed media, as well as paintings in oil, acrylic and watercolor. 

James Baker, a Chester graphic designer and painter, also the spouse of State Rep. Christine Palm (D-Chester) created expansive landscapes using layered brushwork and drawing techniques. His pieces bring the viewer into farmland with green fields and beside barns with snow on roof beneath a blue New England sky.

Painting by James Baker, courtesy of the Chester Gallery

David Schulz created postcards on reclaimed book pages from his father’s books, layering inkjet prints of forest collages and pieces of an accompanying prose-poem. The pieces are reflective of his photo-book, “The Library,” in which Schulz explores his father’s life and unexpected death. 

Work by David Schulz, courtesy of the Chester Gallery

Breaking away from the postcard shape, Alicia Melluzzo painted tiny landscapes and winter scenes using the cross-sections of small trees as her canvases. In each piece, she reserved the outer rings of the tree as an interior “frame” around the image so that some of the original wood grain can be seen. She also kept an inch-long portion of bark as a base so that the pieces can stand upright on a table. 

“Marsh at Night” by Alicia Melluzzo, courtesy of the Chester Gallery

Aaoron Caycedo-Kimura, a visual artist and writer, created five still lifes that combine precise brushwork with broad brush strokes — all done in hues of blue — and move between abstraction and realism. In one piece, light casts shadows from a spoon resting on a saucer to the surface below where broad brush strokes form interwoven and sunray-like patterns. In another, a transparent glass jar and its lid stand on a surface surrounded by a cacophony of broad brush strokes that convey the flat surface of the table and a darker space receding behind. 

The show will continue to change and evolve as artists add new pieces to replace pieces that have sold, Pinney said. 

Check the gallery website for an online store — new this year — where the postcards can be purchased. 

The Postcard Show runs through January 15. The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m. and Sundays 12-4 p.m. during the holidays.

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