April 10, 2019

“Intrepid Alchemist” at Michener Art Museum

“THE OVERGROWN QUARRY”: This archival print on Kinwashi paper is featured in “Intrepid Alchemist: Diane Levell’s Bucks County,” on view at the Michener Museum of Art through July 28. The exhibit features more than 20 photographs of Bucks County through the seasons.

The Michener Art Museum shines light on a series of photographs for its newest exhibition, “Intrepid Alchemist: Diane Levell’s Bucks County.” On view through July 28, this collection of landscape images by master photographer Diane Levell (American, born 1946) features more than 20 photographs printed on Japanese rice paper which illuminates Levell’s unique approach of transforming the familiar into the magical.

“Diane, a fearless adventurer and pioneer, continues to surprise, experiment, and push the boundaries of photography, and challenges viewers to slow down and look closely enough for an alchemical transformation of matter to take place before their eyes,” says Michener Executive Director Kathleen V. Jameson. “Her works are marked by poetic beauty coupled with technical prowess, and it has been a delightful experience to work with her on this presentation.”

Levell spent much of her career in Europe, after attending Endicott College for architecture and interior design, studying fine arts at the University of Delaware, and eventually receiving her master’s degree from George Washington University. She began experimenting with alternative photographic processes as early as the 1970s. But it was while she was living in Germany that she began to master her art, culminating with eight one-person exhibitions at renowned museums and cultural institutions. Although she credits her worldly adventures as impressionable, it is while growing up in Bucks County that she attributes some of the greatest influences on her present work.

“I am so fortunate to cherish many wonderful experiences traveling and living abroad, but the beauty of Bucks County drives my passion to represent it as the special place it is,” says Levell. “It is an honor to share my latest developments at a community-driven institution like the Michener Art Museum.”

At a young age, Diane befriended Pearl Buck’s daughter. She spent a lot of time with the family, who impressed a critical perspective on the Asian influence represented in her work today. She drew inspiration from the colors, methods, and use of different mediums. Consequently, Levell presently puts a focus on the pristine beauty of the region. She tackles the technical hurdle of presenting her enchanting images on rice paper. This feat is further enhanced with her precise manipulation of color and tone, resulting in breathtaking views of picturesque Bucks County throughout the seasons. 

The Michener Art Museum is located at 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown, Pa. It is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit MichenerArtMuseum.org or call (215) 340-9800.