Blog Author: Rene Armstrong
Being represented in a gallery was one of my dreams as I started my journey to become a serious artist. Somehow, I thought it would signify that I “had made it”! It is one thing to show and compete in your local art leagues/guilds or your local organizations, but it is another thing for a serious art gallery to think your work was worthy of their representation.
I think the key word in my last sentence is “representation” as a good gallery really does represent your work to their patrons. The gallery owner really needs to get to know you – what makes you “tick” as an artist. Why are you producing art, what motivates you to produce the work you make, what do you want to communicate to the admirer. I have found there are truly differences in the type of representation you might experience when you place your artwork into a gallery. If you are lucky, you will find an amazing owner/curator who does represent you and your work – yes YOU and then your work.
I casually approached Deborah Johnson of Art Connections Gallery (at that time the gallery was located in Bastrop) while I was on a Girls of ’67 fun weekend with a bunch of my high school classmates. While walking down Main Street, I saw an art gallery and slipped in the door. I was graciously greeted by Deb and was told a little about her gallery. Seeing the amazing artwork and hearing that she represented over 400 artists from all over the Unites States, I mentioned that I was an artist and found her gallery to be amazing since it was really located in a small town.
Deb questioned me about the kind of artwork I produced and of course, I whipped out my phone and showed her photographs of my Canvas & Glass series. She was interested in my work as she had never seen anyone work in both canvas and glass and thought I had an interesting angle to art. She also explained that she could not accept any new work at that time, but if an opening could come about, she would remember me.
Follow up is always important, so when I returned home after a fun weekend, I sent Deb an email, thanking her for viewing my work. Then, a month later I received a call from Deb – her scheduled feature artist had to back out of her opening and would I be able to bring around 15 pieces of my work to her shop the following week, help her hang it, and be present for the opening. I SAID YES – and the opening was a success with me selling several pieces at the opening.
That was several years ago. I have continuously had my work in Art Connections Gallery since then with many sells and several commissions. Last year Deb moved her gallery from Bastrop to La Grange, to an amazing shop right on the historic courthouse square. Then, last summer Deb asked if I would like to be a featured artist for January 2019. Of course, I said yes and begin to think of new work that could be debuted at her gallery.
Well, sometimes things don’t work out as planned, and a little thing like surgery derailed my efforts for a solo show. Deb, being the resourceful person she is, decided to bring the three glass artists she represented into one show and call it TRIPLE PLAY IN GLASS. The resulting effort was to bring us together to show how one medium can be interpreted in different ways. I didn’t get to be there, but I understand the show was successful, and she communicated to me that the other glass artists applauded my creative use of glass in my artwork. Needless to say, I am most appreciative of their kind comments because the work these ladies do is really amazing to me.
TRIPLE PLAY IN GLASS will hang until February 2, 2019. If you are near La Grange, please stop in and view the show! Featuring works by RENE PALMER ARMSTRONG, LESLIE FRIEDMAN and DONNA SARAFIS
RENE PALMER ARMSTRONG Rene works primarily in fused glass but is not bound by traditional designs or applications. Instead she combines the glass with canvas, polymer clay, and even found objects such as carved wooden faces or art deco treasures to bring a concept to a final destiny accomplished only through the merging of various materials. Several pieces feature the carved wooden faces of woodcarver Mike Duhon.
LESLIE FRIEDMAN Worked in hot-fused glass, Friedman's pieces range from contemporary and expressionistic graphics to landscape design. "Glass allows me the flexibility to create the crisp, bold, expressive splashes of color of my contemporary pieces and the muted, naturalistic hues of my landscape forms." She develops works that are both representational and strongly emotive.
DONNA SARAFIS This Fayetteville artist is known both for her award-winning glass representations of birds, flowers, and landscapes as well as for her teaching of special techniques in glass. Falling in love with fused glass in 2001 while living in Seattle, she began to "paint with light". This has led to numerous awards for her works. She has developed innovatove new techniques in the kiln which have been featured in national magazines on glass art and are taught at her Dancing Light Fused Glass Studio.