"The Thrilla in Lambertvilla," Jim's of Lambertville's twice-yearly movable feast of early-20th-century Bucks County painting, has begun.

This "Thrilla XVII" exhibit features 218 works by more than 60 artists, most of them traditionalists and some of them modernists.

More than any other medium apart from film, paintings presented in large quantities, like these works by recent generations of artists, take the spectator into their own world. Go see and be enveloped in Bucks County painters and landscapes from Bucks or farther afield.

Walter Schofield, in one of the show's finest canvases, Spring in Devon, takes the viewer abroad. George G. Symons' striking American landscape is another benchmark. William Lathrop, Robert Spencer, Daniel Garber, Edward Redfield, Antonio Martino, Harry Leith-Ross, Arthur Meltzer, Walter Baum, M. Elizabeth Price and Lloyd Ney each have plentiful works.

Paintings by Alex Farnham, the only living artist here, are a welcome addition, and everything sold stays at least through today. After today, buyers may take their purchases home, though not all do.

The lingering beauty of so many of these works from Jim's closet make this a more compelling show than usual.

Jim's of Lambertville, 6 Bridge St, Lambertville. To Aug. 31. Wed-Fri 10:30-5, Sat-Sun 10:30-6. Free. 609-397-7700.

Villanova University. Burton Wasserman is celebrating a half-century of almost yearly solo shows by exhibiting his latest abstract paintings, reliefs, and original graphic prints at Villanova.

Quadrilaterals, not quite released from their geometry, predominate. Such works feature tight, neat forms in small formats, reflecting a personal affinity for the work of European masters and the Americans with whom this Glassboro artist studied, including Burgoyne Diller and Ad Reinhardt.

Color has an expressive function in Wasserman's paintings structured from intersecting planes. This is noticeable, especially whenever a shimmering membrane appears to create a vibrating surface. Work on his digital prints is still in an experimental stage.

All in all, this exhibit shows the continuing diversity and richness in the career of a gifted artist who produces distinctive work. A fine show.

Villanova University Art Gallery, Connelly Center. To June 10. Mon-Fri 9-5; except 5/19-20, 1-2. Free. 610-519-4612.

Arts Scene."Nature Mystics," by six invited artists, sets off some interesting relationships and contrasts in a skillfully assembled 65-piece, mostly abstract, show at the Arts Scene in West Chester.

Subtle differences in nature imagery and technique are magnified when works by Peter Kinney of Pennsauken, Joe Plageman of Haddonfield, and Jeanne Watson Smith of Kennett Square share space with three other artists.

Painters Kinney and Plageman apply soil from particular places with their brush, Kinney calling it "a soil that nurtures the soul," in his Batsto River View. And Plageman adds tree marrow to his impressive, moody, 22-foot Winter Winding Cloth of a Fallen Tree in First Snow.

Smith has moved into the area of scriptural expression, making something delightfully robust out of her dreams of the monumental. She carved her provocative Adolescence from a fallen neighborhood cherry tree.

Nature paintings by Jeff Waring of Media, the show's curator, and Paul Santoleri of Philadelphia are often haunting and mildly mysterious in their style.

Santoleri's are also chatty, their forms diffuse, while Waring's can be confrontational and blunt. There's an intensity about Waring's undulating vision, and many of his works stand out because of the convincing character of exploration they convey.

Rubbings and paintings by Nancy Agati of Philadelphia are rather touching in their extreme refinement and deep nature-attuned seriousness.

Arts Scene, 530 E Union St, West Chester. To May 29. Tue-Fri 11-7, Sat 11-5. Free. 610-644-6555.

Contact art critic Victoria Donohoe

at The Inquirer, 800 River Rd., Conshohocken, Pa. 19428.