I really enjoyed meeting with Jeffrey Lee of Ryan Lee Gallery. He provided a lot of insight about what it is like working with artists, and what it is like to operate a gallery. He talked about how working with each artist represented by the gallery is a unique experience. He emphasized how the gallery often needs to find the balance between what the artist’s vision is, and how the public can interact with the work. The gallery often plays a significant role in aiding the vision come alive, aside from simply helping to sell the artwork.
Jeffrey talked about one of the artists that the gallery represents, Martine Gutierrez. Martine’s work was really striking. Martine is the subject of her work, while also being the creator and muse. In this way she is in control, to an extent of her image and her identity. I wondered how this control is shifted when viewers come into question and interpret her work through their own eyes. This had me thinking about how when we put our work out to view, we lose control in a sense because it is now open to new subjective experiences. I think it is really fascinating how Gutierrez plays with this concept but is also trying to define and establish what the concept of identity means. I gravitated to the compositions of her photographs as well, which seemed to simultaneously engage and disengage the viewer. There is a level of awareness and a playfulness to her work as well. I thought that Jeffery provided interesting personal context surrounding Gutierrez’s work. It was interesting to see how he followed this artist from a student to an increasingly popular and prominent figure in the art world. You could see how proud he was of her, and how he utilized the gallery to be a useful platform for Gutierrez’s work to be seen. Ryan Lee Gallery felt refreshing and I think the use of space, although traditional, felt very comfortable and welcoming.
In the afternoon, we visited The FLAG Art Foundation where we saw an exhibition entitled “Nicolas Party: Pastel.” This exhibition was really attention-grabbing. Entering the space, we saw pastel and brightly colored walls. There were site specific art installation art pieces by Nicholas Party, which helped make the entire exhibition cohesive and developed a narrative within the various rooms. The space was very aesthetic and carried the theme of “pastel” thoroughly. The exhibition even represented the medium of oil pastel in a case, to further the idea and add humor to the setting. I felt fully immersed in the pastel landscape that the artist curated.
It was really cool to see the drawings of Loie Hollowell in the exhibition after meeting with her in the beginning of the semester and learning about her process. It was rally cool to see how a lot of the oil pastel drawings she produced translated almost exactly to the large-scale paintings. Her notes on the borders of the drawing were fun to look at as well. Overall, I think this exhibition was innovative, even incorporating art historical pieces works in a new context.
(image, MARTINE GUTIERREZ, Body En Thrall, from Indigenous Woman, 2018, courtesy of Ryan Lee Gallery)