Brandywine Art Guide: Memos from the Ephemeral

Galleries are, at their core, empty vessels. White (usually, though that is becoming more colorful, happily) walls, large spaces, ready to be adorned with a multitude of artworks in every style imaginable. The beauty of a gallery is that each has its own calling, to celebrate and tell a story previously unheard. Werring Contemporary, the newest gallery on the Brandywine art scene, brings a point of view that is both curated from the region and challenging it.

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“Visual art has been an enormous part of my life from a very early age,” said Vanessa Werring, founder and director of Werring Contemporary Gallery. A graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, she has been a curator, consultant, director, and manager of other galleries in Pennsylvania and New York City. “I founded Werring Contemporary in May 2024 to encourage public engagement with artwork that challenges conventional boundaries in both subject matter and technique,” she said.

Werring has curated a collection of contemporary artists for the gallery. The inaugural exhibition, Memos from the Ephemeral, is a multimedia installation from the artist Brian David Dennis. “This collection resonated deeply with my personal aesthetic and vision for the gallery,” said Werring.”

The influences for the exhibition range widely, from the tormented figures referencing Francis Bacon to echoes of the stage designs of Josef Svoboda, the famed Czech scenic designer and artist. “I am a technician concerned with materials, content, tension, balance, color, and surface,” said Dennis. “But at the core of every piece are elements interjected by a soft inner voice.”

That voice guides Dennis through the experience of making collages which “are often a formal exercise in composition,” he said. “These notions (or memos) flow through me when I am calm,” Dennis added. “The experience feels very magical, meditative, and intuitive.” Collage is a form which takes many forms, from the preschooler clumsily cutting magazines and flowers to exquisite works of art that seem otherworldly.

Being a part of an inaugural exhibition is an exciting prospect. “Opening a commercial art gallery is courageous,” said Dennis. “I love supporting art initiatives. How could I not get involved?” It was exciting to see an empty forum beckoning. “Upon seeing the space, I committed myself to completing the planned horizontal pieces,” he noted, creating works that engaged the empty walls in multiple dimensions.

Werring hopes the gallery will provide a home for both artists and art lovers of contemporary style. “The community as a whole has been incredibly welcoming and supportive, and I have already begun discussions on future collaborations with local business owners and artists,” she said. The gallery will introduce collections, offer perspectives on contemporary culture, and showcase varied approaches to art making.

The gallery joins the blossoming art scene of Phoenixville and the greater region. “I had no idea such a vibrant scene existed!” said Dennis. “Embarrassingly, I am a hermit who rarely leaves my studio and routine,” he said. “I am very excited to be taking part in this new chapter.”

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“I always hope viewers respect their interpretations of my work (and any artwork),” Dennis said. “Once out of the studio, the audience becomes the authority on what they see. It exists as a springboard for their experience.” That experience is a large part of contemporary work, which can inspire many different conclusions based on not only the viewer, but the environment in which it is first seen.

Werring hopes, for her first exhibition, that “visitors and collectors will gain a deeper understanding why and how a visual artist creates, and will experience a sense of joy and spontaneity when engaging with this collection.” Memos from the Ephemeral, she added, is “a celebration of process, material, and the artist’s truth.”

Memos from the Ephemeral is on view now through June 30 at Werring Contemporary. An Artist Talk with Brian David Dennis will be held Saturday, May 18 from 1 to 3 p.m. Werring Contemporary is located at 218 Church Street, Phoenixville. More information can be found at

About Victoria Rose

Victoria Rose (she/her) is an editor, writer, avid reader, self-described geek, and fan of all things creative. Her passion for words has led to her current career as a freelance editor, and she is the owner of Flickering Words, an editing service. When not wielding a red pen (or cursor), she loves reading books of all genres, playing video, board, and word games, baking ridiculous creations to show off on the internet, or enjoying the gorgeous outdoors. She is a board member of the West Chester Film Festival and part of the Thirsty Monsters, a team of streamers from around the world who fundraise for various charities supporting LGBTQIA+ and accessibility rights. She can be found online @WordsFlickering or the Brandywine Art Guide @BrandywineArtGuide.


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