When ten of Mississippi's top contemporary artists open a cooperative gallery in the heart of Old Town Bay St. Louis, expect to find work that's exciting, fresh and a far cry from ordinary.
- by LB Kovac
The group of artists had no firm outline for their gallery, but they managed to sketch out a few details in one long meeting. It’s an uncommon story in business for the things to progress so quickly. At the end of one night, they had a check for rent and a killer name: Gallery Edge.
ExpeThe gallery is only three months old, but it is already creating big buzz. Gallery Edge has already hosted three show openings – spotlighting of the works of Kat Fitzpatrick and Bill Nelson, as well as a group show with works from all the artists. It's now in the middle of its final show for 2017.
And even bigger things are on the horizon in 2018. Expect to see the unexpected at Gallery Edge.
“Since this is a not-for-profit gallery, we make experimental work that wouldn’t work in a normal gallery setting," says Grabowski.
Grabowski, herself a renowned fiber artist and originator of the “deconstructed screen printing” method, has been a fixture at area galleries and art shows for years.
In the past, Grabowski made a name for herself with her wearable art, but the pieces she is currently working on are not always so functional.
“There is a freedom in having our own space,” she says.
The ten artists, whose styles are incredibly distinct, have a palette of art styles, and personalities, that blends well. Marian Knobbe, Bill Nelson and JJ Foley, all are masters of paint. But their subjects run the gamut –smooth Mississippi coastal landscapes, soft and feminine figures, bold and evocative shapes.
Kat Fitzpatrick specializes in encaustic, a type of “painting” that has been used by artists since as early as the 1st century BC. Fitzpatrick uses melted beeswax mixed with pigment to apply color to her canvases. The applied beeswax can be sculpted on the canvas before drying, producing vibrant images that have as much in common with oil paintings as they do metal sculptures.
Stacey Johnson creates fully-realized sculptures using metal, clay and wood. Vicki Niolet, Mary Hardy and Joey Rice incorporate mixed media into their works.
Finally, Elizabeth Schafer is heavily influenced by music. Her paintings incorporate paint and musical artifacts, like CDs and cassettes, in order to demonstrate the relationship between auditory and visual arts.
Grabowski says, “The cool thing about this gallery is that it is all of us together.”
And, like any good work-in-progress, the gallery is constantly changing. “Every month, we refine it a little bit more,” Grabowski says. “It’s like that old quote… Marking art is walking the edge. Good art happens at the edge.”
Gallery Edge’s current show, which hangs until December 23, represents work from all ten artists. Check the gallery’s Facebook page for upcoming shows, special art market pop-ups and new exhibits.
Gallery Edge will be open in Century Hall six days a week, closed Monday.
Gallery Edge Artists:
(most names link to websites where you can see samples of their work)