Friday, February 27, 2009

The Current State of the ART Market Series # 11- Leah Oates- Photographer and Bridge Art Fair Show Curator

Photo-Leah Oates, Transitory Space Electric 3

This is installment #11 of The Current State of the ART Market Series.
ARTmostfierce found the time to catch up with his dear friend /artist/photographer/curator and now Art dealer for Station Independent Projects @ The Bridge Art Fair , Leah Oates.
Let's see what Leah has on her mind and planning for the upcoming Art Fair!

Ruben Natal San Miguel- Can you explain to us how and why you came about organizing a group show and taking a booth @ The Bridge Art fair?

Leah Oates-I have been showing as an artist and organizing shows for artists for approximately ten years at mostly non-profits and a few commercial art spaces. I have found that there are many talented and accomplished artists who are not yet known to the larger art world so my focus is on promoting their work. I love working with artists as well.

I organized the show for Bridge mainly so I could show work by mid-career artists whose work I think is strong, who are very committed to their work and who are not represented by commercial galleries. My hope is that many good things will happen for each artist is the show.

As an artist or gallery, if you are not in a fair you are not visible to the larger arts community in NYC, nationally and internationally. It brings the artists work to another level and a much larger audience sees the work which can lead to opportunity.

Photo- ''Maria'' Juliana Beasley

RNSM-What is the theme of the show for the fair and who is in it? Why you chose these specific artists? Tell us who they are and why?

LO-There was a theme originally but I thought that in the context of a fair it was better to keep it open so that people could draw their own conclusions. All I will say is that all of the work has a thematic concern with that which is below the surface and all of the images have a mysterious quality. I chose this group of artists as I believe in their work and I think that more people should see their work.

Photo-Yeni Mao " The Bust"

I'm showing Juliana Beasley, Iris Klein, Miles Ladin, Yeni Mao, myself and Pierre St-Jacques. Everyone has a great track record and is making strong work. Juliana just won a large grant for the New Jersey Council for the Arts and had a book published by Powerhouse. Iris has shown in NYC and in Europe and had a solo show at Leica Gallery in NYC. Miles has shown at Clamp Art and Exit Art in NYC and has had his work featured in the New York Times and W Magazine. Yeni has shown in China and in NYC at the ISE Cultural Center and in the PULSE Art Fair. I'm in two great group shows this year at the Tucson Museum of Art and Michael Mazzeo Gallery and have shown extensively in NYC and internationally at venues such as Wave Hill and Gallery Aferro. Pierre just had his work screened at the Berlin Film Festival and has shown extensively at venues such as the Wexner Center in Ohio and Real Art Ways in Connecticut.

RNSM- Are you part of the show as well?

LO-Yes I'm in the show too. Often the concepts I come up with do not mesh with the concerns in my work but this time my work fit into the overall theme so I have a few works in the booth.

Photo-Miles Ladin"Blass and Co"

RNSM- Please tell us how do you feel as an artist showing in this Art Fair during this economic climate?

LO-I think if the work is original and compelling then people who have the means will buy. You know the sensation when you see a work that grabs you and you keep thinking about it and it stirs something in your mind? This is what good art does and people will always respond to that. There are also other things that could happen for the artists beyond sales such as making contacts, having follow up shows at museums and at other galleries and getting press for their work. I feel very positive and my focus is on creating the best show that highlights each artist’s work.

Photo-Iris Klein "Schwalbe / Swallow # 3"

RNSM- Was your selection of artists and works purely thematic or just simply a business one from a potential sales point of view?

LO-I chose the artists based on the strength of their work and vision, their strong commitment to their practice and also their track record. I think that their past shows, press etc shows knowledge of the art world as well as an ability to work hard to have ones work seen and out in the world. All of the artists I'm showing
have proven themselves and I think they are also very talented. It also helps that I like them as people.

RNSM- Do you think that being an artist yourself helps more translating and communicating other artists work better to potential buyers and clients?

LO-I once worked for a gallery that was run by a former banker and his wife. They could sell anything as they where trained in sales but they knew nothing about art. The work they showed was not so great but I'd watch in amazement as they kept selling. I have a different model for what I'm doing and I'm focused on art and artists. Of course I want to sell work for each of the artists I'm showing but my main aim is to show what I think is great work and my belief is that this will translate into sales.

I have total respect for professionals in the arts who are critics, collectors, curators and galleries as they do so much for artists and I think many love art just as much as artists. The longer I'm in the arts I think that all the various ways that the arts community classifies various strata of the art world is unnecessary and silly. Every person working in the art is doing something that completes a whole and is necessary. The gallery is no more important than the artist and the artist is not more important than the critic. It’s all part of a whole process and I'm happy that there are so many people who love art and who work in the business.

Photo-Pierre St-Jacques " A Hidden Place for Fragile Things"

RNSM- Why the Bridge Art Fair in particular?

LO-I went with Bridge because we are friendly with the organizer and also the price was reasonable this year compared to other fairs.

I also like that it’s a small fair as the larger fairs can be so big that it’s hard to take in all the art. Armory and Basel do a wonderful job organizing their fairs but they can be overwhelming. There is so much going on in the arts that is interesting and the other fairs represent additional aspects of the larger art world.

RNSM- You and your husband Pierre are both you both as a couple feel about all this current world economic turbulence and its effects in the ART world?

LO-I think everyone in the arts will adapt to the current crisis in the economy. Artists are very adaptable creatures and are familiar with lack of funds. Some of the best work ever made was created on simple materials such as paper, canvas or with found materials so artists will continue to make art. Many artists have to make their work so will keep creating. The art market will make adjustments and only time will tell how that will all play out. It may end up being good for art and terrible for the market.

RNSM- What do recommend to other artists right now as a way to deal with these challenging times? Options? Ideas? Plan of action?

LO-I hope that artists do not sell themselves short because the art market is bad by offering their work at reduced prices. But then again artists need to make money just like in any other profession. I always think that if one focuses on their work and attempts to make work that has a personal vision and is strong then somehow it all works out.

RNSM- Has your own work changed or being influenced by what we are experiencing now? in the future?

LO-I'm making work now that is connected to work I began when I first arrived in NYC eight years ago. I consider myself an artist and as well as a photographer and I trained as a photographic printmaker and artists' bookmaker in college. My work still has a quality to it that has always been there, which is a poetic and textural sensibility. In some ways my work has not changed at all but what has changed is the specificity of my visions and the use of the correct medium to present the ideas.

RNSM- I think your photographic work shown in light boxes are not only innovative but, they can have a multi-purpose in a residential/commercial environment due, to the light source it provides...Had you ever market it in such way? Even in these times when everything with a multi function art has more sales potential?

LO-I have to really consider this so lets talk more about this! I'm honored that you like the format and it has not been used too much as well. I used light boxes for the double exposures as this format shows the different layers in the image and has more depth. Also, people are drawn to light sources and to the photographic images so it seemed a good combination.

RNSM- You do some work with some Non for profit organizations like for example The NY Camera Club...can you tell us about it? Why?

LO-I highly respect the work that organizations like the Camera Club of NY and the many other arts non-profits in the city do for artists and the local arts community.

They are often running on small budgets, are run by volunteers and have small staffs and support artists by offering space, grants, shows and you name it. Without the non-profits somehow the art world would seems too much about the market and thankfully there are still organizations that operate outside that model. Many of them including Camera Club of NY have been in NYC for so long and should be protected by the city as historic arts organizations as they have enhanced the arts community here in ways that go beyond the flash of the art world.

RNSM- How was your residence experience in Beijing? Did it influence your work in anyway? Why?

LO-I LOVED Beijing! I was not expecting to love it as much as I did but its a beautiful and interesting city. The city is really dynamic, the food it great and I loved the hutongs and the gardens. The Chinese have a good way of life overall which is not what most people in the west think. People where very friendly as we had our son Max who is 4 with us, as they adore children.

I shot mainly in several hutongs that where in the process of being torn down. I think the work connects to the location as this is happening in Beijing so it’s a loss of history for the culture. But on another level is deals with themes I have been working with for years such as temporality, constant change and flux. These are spaces that are undergoing tremendous change very quickly so it was perfect for what my work is about.

RNSM- What are you working on right now? Your work is mostly Natural and Urban City Landscapes..any plans of a new departure of work?

LO-I'm working with the images from Beijing. I will be making digital photo strips of several images from my contact sheets that will be large scale 3-4 panel photographs with a white border. I created a series several years
ago called Durations which where selections from my contact sheets that hung vertically in rows. I'm returning to this work but with the images from Beijing. My thinking at the time was on how to break out of the preciousness of
the singular photographic image. The singular image can be very powerful and it’s a valid concern but its not what I'm dealing with. I'm more concerned with a subjective view of times passage, in how we recall our experience and how to translate that into a photograph which is the medium everyone uses to make sense of their life passing through time and place. Photography is a very
human media in this way.

RNSM- Any final thoughts?

LO-I look forward to seeing the various fairs and art during fair week. Hope its a success and that people have fun. It only art not "war and peace" after all so enjoy!

RNSM-Thanks Leah! best of luck @ the Bridge Art Fair .

Please see below the Press Release for Independent Projects @ The Bridge Art Fair


Station Independent Projects Presents at The Bridge Art Fair, New York City

Juliana Beasley, Photography
Iris Klein, Photography
Miles Ladin, Photography
Yeni Mao, Collage
Leah Oates, Photography
Pierre St-Jacques, Video Installation

About Station Independent Projects:

Station Independent Projects is a Brooklyn-based freelance curatorial business that organizes exhibitions and events with a focus on artist advocacy. Station Independent Projects specializes in discovering new emerging and mid-career artists that are not represented by galleries and organizes shows to connect artists to broader audiences.

Station Independent Projects has organized exhibitions in the New York City area with Peer Gallery in Chelsea, The Center for Photography in Woodstock, NY, Chashama in Time Square, Nuture Art in Williamsburg and in the Chicago area at Randolph Street Gallery and The Peace Museum.

For additional information or images please contact:

Station Independent Projects
Assistant: Megan Flaherty
10 Jay Street, Suite 809
Brooklyn, New York 11201

Bridge Art Fair information:
The Bridge Art Fair is at 222 12th Avenue @ 27th

March 5th
12:00 pm-5:00 pm-Professional Preview
5:00 pm-10:00pm - Vernissage

March 6
12:00 pm-9:00 pm

March 7
12:00 pm-9:00 pm

March 8th
12:00 pm-7:00 pm

Artists Bios:

Juliana Beasley, Photography

Juliana Beasley began her career as a printer for Annie Leibovitz. Beasley was a nominee for the International Center for Photography Infinity Award and has shown her work in The Frieze Arts Festival in London, Pulse Art Fair NYC and The Mannheim/Heidlberg Photo Festival in Germany. Her work is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert in London and her book "Lap Dancer" was published by Power House Books in 2003. Beasley is the recipient of a 2009 New Jersey Council on the Arts Grant in Photography.

Iris Klein, Photography

Iris Klein has had solo shows at Leica Gallery in NYC and at Bannister Gallery in Providence, Rhode Island. Klein's work has been included in group shows at Peer Gallery, Momenta Art, Leubsdorf Gallery, Danny Simmons Gallery, Austrian Cultural Forum and Washington Square East Galleries in NYC.

Miles Ladin, Photography

Miles Ladin's work has been featured in The New York Times, George Magazine and W Magazine. Ladin's work has been shown at the Photographer's Gallery in London, Exit Art and Clamp Art Gallery in NYC. His work is in the collections of MoMA, Victoria and Albert and the Whitney Museum.

Yeni Mao, Collage

Yeni Mao has had solo shows at ArtWare Editions, Nigel Hamill Gallery, Jon Tomlinson Enterprises and Backbone Gallery in NYC. Mao's work has been included in group shows at La MaMa Galleria, PULSE Art Fair, Brooklyn Artists Gym, Art Gotham and ISE Cultural Center in NYC. Internationally Mao has shown at Red Gate Gallery, Shang Element Contemporary Art Museum, and the Songzhuang Art Festival in Beijing, China and at Galeria Metropolitana in Santiago, Chile. His work is in the collections of BBC Productions Corporate, GLAAD, Lijiang Studio and the Nicoykatiushka Foundation for the Arts.

Leah Oates, Photography

Leah Oates has had numerous solo shows at venues including Real Art Ways and Sara Nightingale Gallery. She has shown her work in the NYC area at Flux Factory, Photo NY, The Center for Book Arts, Nurture Art, Peer Gallery, Elizabeth Heskin Contemporary, Gallery Aferro and Metaphor Contemporary Art. Her work is in numerous public and private collections including MoMA, The Brooklyn Museum,The British Library and The Walker Art Center.

Pierre St- Jacques, Video Installation

Pierre St-Jacques has shown his work at Artist's Space in New York, Peer Gallery in New York, Gallerie Joella in Finland, Metaphor Contemporary Art in Brooklyn, Red Saw Gallery in New Jersey, The Wexner Center in Ohio, and more recently at the DiVA and Pool art fairs in New York and Miami, at Artopolis in Chicago, the DC Art Fair in Washington DC, the Bronx Museum of Art in New York and Real Artways in Connecticut. His
work was recently shown at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2009.

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