Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Virtual Art Opening by Gallery 212

Throughout the past two years of this Great Recession, I have heard people say that there is opportunity in adversity (I prefer to think of it as survival of the fittest). Among those necessarily adjusting to the "new normal" are artists, and I know I'm not the first to point out that they are finding new ways to exhibit and sell their work.

Last night's opening by Gallery212 was a case in point.

Gallery owner Ruth Q. Harrell talked the landlord at Costa Mesa's Back Bay Center into allowing her to hold a one-night exhibition in a vacant unit. She used to have a regular gallery space in Seal Beach, but says she found that most of the sales took place at the opening receptions, making her ongoing lease redundant. So she's gone virtual--it's these days, with periodic artist receptions in temporary spaces like Back Bay Center.

Last night, her "urban gallery with only original art" featured works by Erica Wolfsen, whose small acrylics have been ubiquitous at the Santa Ana Artists Village on Art Walk nights, and an artist named Industry Giant among several others. (I clarified with Ruth that it's "Mr." not "Ms." Giant.)

All the work on display was characteristic of much work I see by young artists these days at such places as The Artery at The LAB Anti-mall and the Santora Building in Santa Ana--fresh and colorful, whether representational or abstract, often resembling iconic artists like Warhol and Rauschenberg or derived from cartoon art, graffiti and commercial advertising. Some were well-executed, others less so, but there was an exuberance to them all. Ruth says she is committed to the work of young artists, and they are fortunate to have someone like her finding new ways to champion them.

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