Seeing art galleries should be part of any leisurely travel experience, and not knowing what you’ll see when you walk in is part of the fun. That said, it’s nice to know the overall style and vision of a gallery before you visit, especially if you have limited time.
Seattle Art Fair offers a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with some left coast galleries, big and small. It will help you get inspired to see some new art the next time you visit their part of the country.
Elizabeth Leach Gallery – Portland (Booth E9)
If you are an art lover and have made trips to Portland in the past, you have probably already checked out Elizabeth Leach Gallery. Established in 1981, it’s among the longest running galleries in the PNW, and has therefore been quite influential. Leach herself is an innovative advocate for the arts. Last year, she spearheaded the inaugural Converge 45: a weekend of art installations, talks and panels, and inspiring parties. The next Converge 45 is August 9-12, with Guest Artistic Director Kristy Edmunds returning. (Get more info online.)
Despite that coming up fast, Leach will be back at the fair. Featured artists include Ann Hamilton, Julia Mangold and Isaac Layman. See works on Artsy.
Paul Thiebaud Gallery – San Francisco (Booth D19)
Some background: Paul Thiebaud established his San Francisco gallery in 2001, after many years working as a gallerist and dealer in California. He was the son of famous artist Wayne Thiebaud, so art was already in his veins. His decades of work helped to expand the range of visual arts available in the Bay Area. When he passed away in 2010, it was a huge blow to the art community, but he would be happy to know that the gallery lives on.
The program at Paul Thiebaud Gallery still focuses on American painters and sculptors, particularly those working in California. Featured works include paintings by Eileen David, Ray Kleinlein and Tom Birkner, and prints by Wayne Thiebaud. See works on Artsy.
Night Gallery – Los Angeles (Booth )
Los Angeles is a city known for hiding spectacles amid its sprawl. Even though you can easily find the location of Night Gallery on a map, when you park outside for the first time you may wonder if you are in the right place. It’s nestled among warehouses and industrial buildings south of the Arts District. You’ll see no signage except a double crescent insignia before you walk through the door and into a sprawling gallery space. (If you visit, be sure to pick up their independently printed arts writing zine, Night Papers.)
I was thrilled when it was announced that William Hathaway of Night Gallery would be on the dealer committee of Seattle Art Fair 2017. Working with artistic director Laura Fried, Night Gallery will be presenting an installation of sculpture by Sean Townley at the Fair, in addition to a booth. Featured artists include Jake Kean Mayman, David Korty and Rose Marcus. See works on Artsy.
Diane Rosenstein Gallery – Los Angeles (Booth C14)
Diane Rosenstein Gallery is right in the glitzy heart of Los Angeles, between Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose Avenue on Highland Drive. Artworks at the gallery run the gamut, from the paintings of the late Op Art legend Julian Stanczak to the meticulous miniatures of Roland Reiss. At the Seattle Art Fair, there will be a number of sculptures from one of my favorite artists represented by Rosenstein, Gisela Colon.
Colon’s work is in the tradition of the Light and Space movement that arose in Southern California in the 1960s, whose luminaries include James Turrell and Helen Pashgian. Colon forms her luminous sculptures through a proprietary technique that is baffling and elusive when you look at them. If (like me) you didn’t get a chance to see Colon’s solo show at Diane Rosenstein Gallery in January, don’t miss her work at the fair. These sculptures simply cannot translate into photos. You’ll also see works by Stanczak, Charles Fine and Damien Flood. See works on artsy.
Peter Blake Gallery – Laguna Beach (Booth C20)
Visiting Peter Blake Gallery in Laguna Beach is like walking into a shrine of light and minimalism. The gallery represents the old guard of Light and Space (Larry Bell, Mary Corse, Peter Alexander, Ron Cooper, Pashgian again) and west coast minimalism (Lita Albuquerque, James Hayward). From the looks of it, we’ll get to see a gorgeous array of works from many of these artists and more at the Seattle Art Fair. Even if you don’t take a piece home, it will get you dreaming of a trip to California. See works on Artsy.
Bonus: Tamarind Institute – Albuquerque (Booth D29)
Tamarind Institute is on Mountain Time, and it isn’t a commercial gallery. It’s a nonprofit center for fine art lithography within the College of Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico. All the same, it was founded in Los Angeles and it attracts artists from around the country—especially the west coast—so it deserves a mention here.
The institute seeks to train master printers through apprenticeships and help artists working in other media translate their style into printmaking. Print is not just a powerful medium; it’s also an accessible format for first-time art collectors. Editioned prints are more affordable than paintings and sculpture for many young buyers. (And because they are easier to store, prints can be quite addictive for seasoned collectors, too.)
For those who are new to buying work, I say check out the Tamarind Institute booth. In addition to having a great selection, they are also helpful and friendly, based on my experiences in year’s past. This year, they are featuring prints by emerging and established artists, such as Louise Nevelson, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Jim Dine and Tara Donovan.
Featured image, left to right: Lita Albuquerque “Untitled (Auric Field, Gold with Blue),” image courtesy of Peter Blake Gallery; Mira Dancy “Blue Flame,” image courtesy of Courtesy of the artist, Chapter NY, and Night Gallery; Gisela Colon “Hyper Ellipsoid (Lilac),” image courtesy of Diane Rosenstein Gallery.