The gallery business- an art form in itself
MAKING A COMMITMENT TO REPRESENT AN ARTIST’S WORK WOULD SEEM TO ME TO BE ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT DECISIONS THAT A GALLERY CAN MAKE. IT IS A MARRIAGE NOT ONLY OF AESTHETIC RAPPORT BUT ALSO OF PERSONALITIES, A FORMATION OF A TEAM IN WHICH THE ARTIST PROMISES TO PRODUCE WORK OF THE BEST POSSIBLE QUALITY AND THE GALLERIST COMMITS TO ITS REPRESENTATION NOT ONLY AT THE GALLERY BUT IN THE ART MARKET IN GENERAL. THE GALLERY MAKES A FINANCIAL COMMITMENT OF SERIOUS MAGNITUDE IN ITS PUBLICATION OF CATALOGUES, PROMOTION OF THE WORK, EXHIBITION OF THE WORK AT THE GALLERY AND AT ART FAIRS, AND ORGANIZING EXHIBITIONS FOR THE ARTIST IN OTHER GALLERIES AND MUSEUM VENUES. IT IS AN ENORMOUS UNDERTAKING.
CHRISTINE WACHTER-CAMPBELL AND HER BUSINESS PARTNER STACEY WINSTON, AT WINSTON WACHTER FINE ART, NEW YORK/SEATTLE http://www.winstonwachter.com/ ARE ENTHUSIASTIC AND DISCERNING GALLERISTS AND COLLECTORS AND PASSIONATE ABOUT ART. THEY SCOUR THE GLOBE, TOGETHER AND SEPARATELY, TRAVELING TO ART FAIRS, VARIOUS CITIES, EXHIBITIONS SUCH AS ART BASEL, HONG KONG, THE VENICE BIENNALE AND DOCUMENTA, ALWAYS WITH A VIEW TOWARDS ADDING TO THEIR KNOWLEDGE OF CONTEMPORARY ART, ITS MARKET AND ITS DIRECTION. THEY WORK VERY HARD FOR THEIR ARTISTS TO MOUNT BEAUTIFUL EXHIBITIONS AND THEN, MOST IMPORTANTLY, TO PROMOTE THEM.
CHRISTINE, WHO WERE SOME OF THE FIRST ARTISTS THAT YOU REPRESENTED? WHAT MADE YOU GRAVITATE TO THEIR WORK?
Tony Scherman and Seton Smith were some of our first artists. I encountered Tony Scherman through Blum Helman Gallery and very much enjoyed working with him. Later I was introduced to Seton’s work. At the time Seton was at the forefront of a wave of larger scale photography and, to some extent, she pioneered that genre. What I found in the work of both Tony Scherman and Seton Smith was that it was artistically compelling and innovative. Art evokes a certain spirit and that was what drew me to their work then, as it still does today.
I AM A FAN OF BOTH TONY SCHERMAN AND SETON SMITH’S WORK AND, THANKS TO YOU, HAVE HAD THE PLEASURE OF MEETING EACH OF THEM AND SPEAKING WITH THEM ABOUT THEIR WORK. WHAT LINKS THEIR WORK IS ITS AESTHETIC QUALITY AND THE ARTISTS’ LONG-TERM PROFESSIONAL COMMITMENT. SCHERMAN, HOWEVER, IS AN EXPRESSIVE PAINTER WHOSE LUSH, WAS ENCAUSTIC PAINTINGS ARE DEEPLY INFORMED BY HISTORICAL NARRATIVE. SETON SMITH IS, IN MY VIEW, AN ASTUTE AND INTELLECTUAL PHOTOGRAPHER, WITH A RATHER MINIMALIST AESTHETIC.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE EACH AND GIVEN THE DIVERSITY OF MEDIUM AND STYLE, WHAT ATTRACTS YOU TO BOTH?
Seton Smith was one of the first artists to introduce very large-scale photography. I find her out-of-focus images to be very current yet timeless. The photographs have a hauntingly beautiful quality and typically express a delicate and vulnerable scene. The banality of the subject matter arrests you while also challenging you to explore further. I feel the works are beauty in its simplest form yet thought-provoking and intellectually compelling. With Tony Scherman, I am drawn to the lush texture of his paintings that show his master of the encaustic medium. His rich historical references find characters in poignant and vulnerable moments.
The communality that I seem to be attracted to in both of these artists is that they capture a timeless mood and spirit. Although Seton Smith is a photographer, I find her work to be very painterly. Both artists create works that are very poetic and hypnotic and I feel you can continue to look at both and be transported. I believe subconsciously and consciously I look for artwork that is enduring and thought-provoking. Just as I could continue to look at a Vermeer painting and find something new, I feel the same sensation for both of these artists.
WHO ARE SOME OF THE MOST RECENT ARTISTS THAT YOU HAVE EXHIBITED AND HOW DO THEY ENRICH THE EXISTING STABLE, ARE SIMILAR TO IT OR ADD A DIFFERENT DIMENSION?
The artists we have recently added bring different dimensions to the gallery. To name a few: Christopher Boffoli, Andreas Kocks, Ethan Murrow and Margeaux Walter all are new to our roster. Each artist uses different mediums and has a unique sensibility that enriches our program.
THE WORK BY ARTISTS YOU REPRESENT LENDS ITSELF NOT ONLY TO PRIVATE COLLECTIONS BUT ALSO TO CORPORATE AND ARCHITECTURAL SETTINGS. I KNOW YOU ARE GREATLY RESPECTED AND SUPPORTED BY A CLIENT BASE OF EXCELLENT DESIGNERS AND ARCHITECTS. HOW DID THIS ASPECT OF THE BUSINESS EVOLVE?
We work with large corporations in the luxury goods and technology sectors. These opportunities are exciting for the artists and gives them great exposure. Situations like these require a lot of patience because the gallery acts as go between for both artist and client. It comes with its fair share of trials and tribulations. Steering both parties as well as placating various demands can be trying. This is where the years of experience both Stacey and I have can help navigate these waters.
IN OUR NEXT BLOG, CHRISTINE WILL SHARE HER EXPERIENCE AND INSIGHTS INTO THE COLLECTING ASPECT OF GALLERY BUSINESS, THE MOST CRUCIAL ELEMENT IN THE SUPPORT OF THE ARTISTS THAT THE GALLERY REPRESENTS.
I WELCOME ANY CRITICISMS, COMMENTS AND SUGGESTS AND I KNOW CHRISTINE WILL GENEROUSLY MAKE HERSELF AVAILABLE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS SPECIFICALLY ADDRESSED TO HER. PLEASE JOIN IN OUR DIALOGUE.