Wednesday, 23 January 2013 12:09

New Kids on the Block

Written by  Alexandra Fluegel
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Laura Hobson and Leah Schreiber Opening Reception
Gaspard Gallery
235 S. Division Ave., Apt. 111
Feb. 7, 7-11 p.m.
Free
gaspardgallery.com

Avenue of the Arts newbie Gaspard Gallery has definitely hit the ground running. The artist-run gallery, which held its first exhibit during the 2012 ArtPrize competition, has been host to some stunning photography exhibits that exude a sophistication seldom seen in galleries just starting out.

This month, bodies of work from local talents Leah Schreiber and Laura Hobson focus on abstraction in multiple mediums using deconstructed and re-purposed subjects. Large scale drawings and naturally dyed textile work will be highlighted in selected works.

"We are really excited," said Chris Cox, one of the gallery's coordinators. "Coming off of two photography exhibitions, it feels really good to present some different mediums."

Schreiber and Hobson were selected for a number of reasons, Cox said.

"Both artists are working within their given mediums in ways that make you think about the works in a different way than you would normally view a drawing or textile piece," he said. "The works have the ability to transcend association to the medium and allow the viewer to see with fresh eyes."

He added that this is the type of work he and the gallery's two other coordinators, Jacob Bullard and Brian Biondo, are searching for when they plan shows.

"These are works that have longevity, they are beautiful and interesting when you look at them, but they then force the viewer to stay longer and dig into the works."

Overall, the gallery aims to showcase work that is challenging and engaging, and steers away from art that is purely for decorative sake. "We are looking for work that while visually interesting and engaging, is also grounded in a conceptual framework," said Cox.

The name Gaspard means "treasure keeper" in Persian and was something Bullard – a poet – came up with.

"We believe that artwork is something to be treasured, and the gallery is, in a sense, a treasure keeper," Cox said. "We have seen gallery spaces that have work from the floor to the ceiling and found it to be a bit distracting. We want the gallery to be a place where nearly all distractions can be removed and the viewer can devote honest attention to the work. Giving work more breathing room and not crowding the space allows the viewer to comfortably view each piece and give the attention it deserves."

Bullard, Biondo and Cox are recent college graduates and say the goal of the gallery is to provide a space for art viewers,  contemporary artists and art collectors alike. Cox said Grand Rapids can often be overlooked when it comes to buying contemporary art with collectors opting for Chicago or New York, but with more galleries offering stronger exhibitions, those tides can begin to change.

"Artwork is at many times beautiful and entertaining, but Gaspard exists for more than just beauty and entertainment. Gaspard exists to actually have serious conversations about art and culture, and we hope the gallery can start some new conversations in
Grand Rapids."


Other Art Events

 

Live Coverage
UICA, Grand Rapids
Feb. 16, 6-11 p.m.
$65 members, $75 non-members, $90 VIP member, $100 VIP nonmember
uica.org, (616) 454-7000

More than 50 local artists break out of their attics, basements and back-alley studios to produce new works at one of the UICA's most popular events. Live Coverage allows attendees to catch a glimpse of the creative process and bid on pieces in live and silent auctions. It will be the first year the event is held in the organization's new space, making this a truly one-of-a-kind experience. To
order tickets, contact Director of Development Kristine Palosaari  at kristine@uica.org.

 

Sight and Feeling: Photographs by Ansel Adams
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
Through May 19
$5, Free for members
kiarts.org, (269) 349-7775

Work from one of America's most celebrated photographers is on display at Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. Known best for his black-and-white nature photographs of the American West, Adams' work is instantly recognizable. The exhibition from the KIA collection suggests how his intuitive and emotional response to the landscape resulted in powerful and enduring photographs.

Mystery, Magic, and Mayhem: Wonders from the American Museum of Magic

 

GVSU Art Gallery
1121 Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus
Jan. 14th – March 20th
Free
gvsu.edu/artgallery, (616) 331-2563

Surprised to learn the American Museum of Magic is located in Marshall, Michigan? Get a glimpse of some of the institution's reasures, including over thirty stunning graphic visuals and objects related to legends such as Thurston, Houdini, and Michigan's own Harry Blackstone, Sr. The exhibition will also include a Chamber Music Series performance by some of GVSU's student performance groups on February 18th from 8-9pm.

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