Saturday, December 26, 2009
I spent much of this past Wednesday, trying to get back to Chicago in time for Christmas. We were leaving Southern California while a winter storm covered much of the Midwest. The flight boarded a half hour later then expected but all seemed hopeful. Then—as we taxied to the runway—the engines slowed and the Pilot's voice came over the intercom to tell us that we would be sitting on the tarmac waiting for clearance to take off. As the stories of imprisoned airplane passengers ran though my head, I reached for a book from my carryon bag: Edward Winkleman’s “How to start and run a Commercial Art Gallery”.
I purchased this book online after spending some time on Winkleman’s blog. I was looking forward to acquiring some of Winkleman’s industry insights. I have been running Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago for the past six years, but I have to admit, It’s not the typical startup gallery. Gallery 180 is basically funded by The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. The school covers all of the costs of running a space… rent, promotion, receptions… and the proceeds from sales are used to purchase work for the School’s Fine Art Collection. I don’t have to worry about work selling, yet it does. The focus of the gallery is inspiration and education.
The only truly commercial gallery venture that I've entered into was the creation of Gallery H. A few years back, I was asked—by one of my collectors—to help open a high-end gallery in a little town in Michigan. I was perplexed but listened with an open mind. The answer came quickly. The gallery would be located in Three Oaks, which is a-stones-throw away from some extravagant homes on the shores of Lake Michigan and the surrounding farmland. I helped open the space and that experience —in itself—was enlightening. The gallery was very lucrative in the first two years, yet at the beginning of the third season, I stepped away to focus on creating more of my own work.
So, why was I so interested in Winkleman’s book? The answer is threefold. I thought that his words might give me some new insights, which could benefit Gallery 180. Secondly… maybe there was more to learn about the art market… information, which could benefit me as an artist as well as a curator. And finally, perhaps I will—one day—open my own space.
I opened the book to the table of contents and found that it outlines the fine art world from a business perspective. Hardly the summer beach read, but quiet intriguing for people in the industry. The book covers the basics of opening and operating a gallery including the importance of a written business plan, managing cash flow and a wonderful chapter, which covers crating and shipping… information beneficial to all working artists.
As we sat on the tarmac waiting for departure, I had reached the chapter on crating and shipping. I smiled, reminded of a situation I had to deal with a few years back—wishing that I would have had this book to read back then. I sent a seven by four foot painting to a gallery in California and on the return trip, it seemed that a forklift had punctured the sturdy wooden crate [see Winkleman, chapter 9, for suggested specs]. The painting was torn but there is an up side to this story. When the painting was first shown at the Fine Arts Building Gallery in Chicago, one of the patrons was quite taken with the canvas but the scale was much too large for his home. A few days after receiving the damaged painting—and with no better options—I decided to crop and re-stretch the image. Within the week, that interested collector had heard of the mishap and contacted me to inquire if he could purchase the newly revised version. That re-titled version “The Edge” is shown above. The original version, “Edge of Tomorrow” is shown below.
In any event, check out the Winkleman book. It’s filled with wonderful insights for artists as well as potential gallery owners. You can find "How to Start and Run a Commercial Art Gallery" at amazon through this link.
Additional information on these pieces can be found at gniech.com
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Above is a painting titled "Impressions" by artist Lorraine Sack. This piece is from a series of still life oil paintings that Sack has been working on for the past few years. The image is 16 x 20 inches and produced in oil on canvas. Sack's website explains her process...
The creative process of still life is much like theatre to me. It is taking a blank space and changing it into something specific to be viewed.
The process of setting the stage for the painting is intuitive. I try out the space itself with objects, natural light, and color as characters each playing a part. Usually the object I chose for the focus is one I admire for the presence it holds. I look at the abstract patterns while arranging and rearranging the secondary objects, the light, and the background around the focus until I see the right ensemble.
Then I start the painting process. First, I establish the abstract patterns with a solid foundation of paint on canvas. Next, I slowly layer veils of color with my brush to weave the space into objects and develop their character. Finally, I know the still life is finished when all the parts play their role working together as a unified voice to create the space I intended.
Lorraine Sack's "Impressions" will be available at the upcoming benefit for Heartland Alliance as well as the Preview Exhibition at Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. Gallery 180 will host a catered reception for the Preview Exhibition on January 22 from 5:30-7:30. This event is free to the public and all of the work will be available for purchase with all proceeds going directly to Heartland Alliance. Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago is located at 180 N. Wabash—at the corner of Lake and Wabash—in Chicago's Loop. I hope to see you there!
Additional work by Lorraine Sack can be seen on her web site: lorrainestudios.com
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
As I’ve mentioned in a recent post, Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago will host this year’s “The Art of Human Rights” preview exhibition to benefit Heartland Alliance. The proceeds from this—and the main event—will help Heartland Alliance's HIV/AIDS programs and services, which include: primary care, referrals, assistance with transportation and lab costs, housing, alternative therapies such as chiropractic treatment and massage therapy, HIV prevention education, and oral health care.
The preview exhibition, which will open at Gallery 180 with a reception on January 22nd, is a collection of some of the pieces that have been donated by Artists from around the country to support Heartland Alliance in their effort. One of the contributing area artists is Paula Kloczkowski Luberda. I first met this highly creative concept-driven artist when she was being represented by Kavi Gupta’s Vedanta Gallery in the mid 90’s. Since then, I’ve watched her explore a variety of ideas with a range of media... all seeming to focus on the human condition. Her work has been presented around the country in numerous group and solo exhibitions, and two of her paintings have been acquired for the permanent collection of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago.
The above image is a sculptural piece by Paula Kloczkowski Luberda, titled “walking Man” . The sculpture—reminiscent of Giacometti’s “Man crossing a square on a sunny morning” [1948-9]—has been donated by Kloczkowski Luberda and selected for inclusion in the benefit Preview Exhibition at Gallery 180. The piece is composed of found wood and wire—and if memory serves me—stands about 36” tall. For information on other available works by Paula Kloczkowski Luberda, contact her at email@example.com
To view some of the other pieces which will be available at the main event, check out this Flickr link. Take a look... there are some wonderful pieces.
As a reminder, save the dates for both events: Opening Reception for the Preview Exhibition: Friday January 22nd - Gallery 180 of The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago 5:30-7:30 ...and The Main Event, The Art of Human Rights: February 19th. More information to come!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
One of the most prolific artists that I know is sending out a humorous plea for help in clearing out her studio. Nancy Rosen’s sometimes tawdry figurative depictions, capture the introspection as well as the intimacy of tender human encounters. Rosen’s painted and drawn figures tend to evoke a strange curiosity … an interest in the concealed thoughts behind each distorted face. The images are intriguing.
Rosen will be holding an open studio event Sunday and Monday, December 13th and 14th, 10-5 and 10-8 respectively. Her studio is located at 7004 California in Chicago. You can see additional work on her web site: nrosen.com or contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Plan to experience the work in person... it's truly wonderful!
Image: Nancy Rosen #12106, 20x30