Tuesday, July 11, 2006

This will be my last one

As a result of several personal decisions, the show that will open next Friday, July 14, 2006,(and which I juried) at the Fraser Gallery will be my last one associated with the gallery.

When Catriona and I opened the first Fraser Gallery in Georgetown in 1996, we did so with a well-defined focus and backed by the financial empire of Mr. Visa and Mrs. MasterCard. We also did it without stealing another gallery's mailing list to start with (in fact we did not have a mailing list at all!) and with a working list of what to do - number one on that list was (and is): "pay the artist first."

In spite of the tremendous apathy that our local media shows all art galleries, and the dreadful state of art collecting and support to local artists exhibited by our general public, the gallery did very well over the years, and in 2002 we opened a second, larger gallery in Bethesda. For the next four years we operated two art galleries concurrently, in a whirlwind of work and exhibitions. Earlier this year we closed the original gallery in Georgetown and concentrated our efforts on the Bethesda location.

The gallery continues to do well, and this year has so far been our best year ever, already surpassing comparisons with 2005, which has been our best year to date. Fraser Gallery remains one of the key independently owned commercial visual art galleries in our region and will be so for many years to come.

The show which opens Friday, and which I juried, is our annual juried competition, the first of which I also juried in 1996. Following this exhibition, I will no longer be associated personally or legally with the gallery, which will be continued to be directed (and now solely owned) by the talented and hardworking Catriona Fraser.

I am making this decision as a result of several key personal items, one of which is the fact that within the next couple of months I will commence a major shift in location, which will see me partially re-locate to the area in or around Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, a couple of hours north of here.

I am NOT "leaving" the DC area. In fact my tentative plans call for me working physically (and living) in the DC area most weekdays, and spending weekends and some weeks in Swarthmore.

This will leave me with some much needed time in my hands to do a couple of projects, one of which should be of interest to all readers of DC Art News.

(a) As some of you know, I have been receiving a handful of offers for the DC Art News "concept" to go national in the sense of associating the blog with a national entity and expand its coverage and concept to a national audience. I have resisted doing this for obvious reasons: lack of time.

And while I will not transform DC Art News into a national "art news" blog, with the help of two additional writers, who will help me add more content to the blog (content that I will edit and they will do the work to make it bloggable), I will expand DC Art News to cover more of the geographical area that I will be "living" in, and thus sometime soon I will start covering and calling it "Mid-Atlantic Art News."

More on this later.

(b) I will spend the next year investigating and deciding on how to re-invent myself as a private art dealer. This may end up with a new physical gallery space somewhere yet to be decided, but certainly will soon definately include both an online presence and a private presence representing several artists in art fairs around the nation and perhaps Europe along the Douz & Mille model and/or the Curator's Office model.

(c) I will finally (hopefully) have to some time in my hands to finish a couple of long-delayed book projects. The first is a guide to DC area art galleries and museums, for which I have been under contract to produce for now over a year. Tentatively titled "Art Around the Capital," the guide will list all visual art spaces around the DC area as well as details about the space, its artists, etc. More on that later as well. The second is my long-delayed art history book on the art of the Pictish Nations of pre-Celtic Scotland.

(d) I will also devote more time and effort to my own artwork.

And thus this Friday's opening will be my farewell show at Fraser Gallery, and I hope to see as many of you there as possible. The opening will feature the work of the following artists:

Collin Asmus, Boston, MA
Marina Bare, Salisbury, NC
Lisa Brotman, Bethesda, MD
Robert Cantor, Annandale, VA
Mary Chiaramonte, Broadway, VA
Anna Conti, San Francisco, CA
Jenny Davis, Hughesville, MD
Andrew Decaen, Orlando, FL
Roland Delcol, Knokke, Belgium
Linda Frost, Santa Monica, CA
Angela Grey, Cleveland, OH
James Halloran, Arlington, VA
Joseph Hamilton, Landover, MD
Amy Lin, Fairfax, VA
Gabrielle Mayer, Louisville, KY
Sharon Moody, McLean, VA
Nancy Reinke, Alexandria, VA
Peter Van Riper, Washington, DC
Paul Ryan, Baltimore, MD
Hannah Ueno-Olsen, Hammonton, NJ
Taryn Wells, Medfield, MA

The opening is this coming Friday from 6-9PM and will (of course) have loads of sangria and the terrific art of the above artists. Come by and say hello and farewell and hello again.

See ya there!

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