When I started Marine a year ago, I had no idea how much it would grow in such a short space of time. Running a gallery out of my home has been life changing. I am a private person and I truly wrestled with the idea of opening my private space to the public. I found the idea of a complete stranger walking through my house rather surreal, but I was passionate about opening a gallery that posed questions about what it is to really live with art. And so I put my territorialism aside, had some "No Entry" signs made and Marine, a contemporary art salon, was born.
I have always been fascinated by the salon and I spent some time looking at its history when I was thinking about opening a gallery. The salon, originally a 16th century Chinese invention, rose to prominence in 17th and 18th century France. It was essentially a place for the exchange of ideas in literature and art - an intellectual gathering overseen by a "salonnière" or hostess in her home. Often the hostess would recline on her bed or day bed and people would gather around her discussing topics relating to art, politics, poetry or literature. With Marine, I was most interested in reinterpreting the salon in the context of the contemporary art world. I wanted to create a space that fosters thought and discussion about what it is to really live with art. As a result, I curate every show to be absorbed as a coherent personal collection. It is for this reason that I title the shows simply according to the number of works. With every show, I want my audience to feel like they are visiting the home of a different fictitious collector.
I think that the domestic space is an important model for looking at art regardless of any perceived economic advantages. Currently the common paradigm is the white cube. Artists strive to show their work in the most prestigious ones, but they also strive for the work to be in a collection where it will ultimately live amongst couches, furniture and clutter. I find it really interesting that we show work away from "life," yet it is ultimately destined to be part of it (museums withstanding). With Marine, I tried to create a hybrid between gallery and home. I am not against the white cube; in many contexts, it works well and my house is, of course, actually a white cube with furniture. Contemporary art works well in a sparse contemporary setting, but again, it is not the only place it works. Good architecture elevates and supports the viewing of art, but it honestly makes me happy to think that a young passionate collector is filling the walls of their tiny apartment floor to ceiling in art. The Marine shows often incorporate works that play on the domestic. I like to think about the placement of the work in reference to domestic surfaces like counters and tables, and different spaces like bathrooms and kitchens. I think work that plays with these themes adds a little humor to the shows and honors the gallery as a home.
Another passion is fostering young collectors -- this is an important part of the Marine mission. Several of my clients bought their first pieces from me and the greatest compliment I have received was having someone say that it was the first gallery they'd been to that really made them want to be a collector. I think that viewing art in a home creates a connection with the work that is sometimes lost in a regular gallery. The domestic space is more welcoming and intimate as a setting. It allows for really being with the art and collectors can imagine living with the pieces in their own homes. I think that seeing the work like this, as a collection in a home, is inspiring to collectors. Also, everyone likes the idea of poking around someone else's house, including me! I feel as though there is the sense for the visitor that something is being uncovered. It is an adventure.
Below is a selection of works from Marine's upcoming show, Salon No. 7, Works 222-247, which opens on November 13th. The show explores the sublime within the contemporary or post apocalyptic landscape. This exploration of a new futurism, both real and imaginary, could also be seen as the contemporary or "techno" sublime. For a while now, I've been interested in artists that concern themselves with what seems to be the psychological fallout from the effects of our dystopian society. Human misery, violence, oppression, poverty, disease, pollution and an impending sense of doom -- all things that were once relegated to the pages of some apocalyptic, science fiction novel are now part of our daily world reality. Furthermore, the contrast of light and dark, both literally and metaphorically in painting and in life in general, have always been with us. Our version of the sublime is not the same as in the days of Turner and Caspar David Friedrich. One cannot escape the unique beauty of our times and the dark humor found therein. The artists in Salon No.7 are contemporary versions of the Romantic painters, grappling with a contemporary vision of the sublime in new and compelling ways.
Ricky Allman, "You don't know what you want", acrylic on panel, 60" x 72", 2010
Peter Lograsso, "Gabriella of the Parking Lot", Digital print on silver rag with unique archival plexi framing, 27" x 39", Edition of 3, 2010
Steve Kim, "Mother Daughter", Oil on canvas, 30" x 40", 2010
Alejandro Diaz, "No Shirt No Shoes", Neon, 17" x 36", Edition of 3, 2009
Sean Higgins, "Keep on Truckin'", Unique archival inkjet, mounted on sintra, 43" x 47", 2009
Nick Van Woert, "Untitled", Plaster bust and plastic, 25" x 19" x 9", 2010
Matthew Heller, "Untitled", acrylic on canvas, 16" x 12", 2010
Janet Jones, Solo #5 -7, oil on canvas, 11" x 11", 2007
Joseph Kohnke, "Perched Upon Perch", steel and electronics, dimensions variable, 2010
Jordan Swerdloff, "If you wait long enough everything changes", PVC and plastic wrap, 92" x 30" x 64", 2010
Salon No. 7, Works 222-247
November 13, 2010 - January 22, 2011
Nick Van Woert
In the Bedroom:
"If you wait long enough everything changes"
Private Reception November 13
Attendance by RSVP only.
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