Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Origins: Part 5, My first gallery experience

This is the fifth part in an ongoing series, in which I show my earlier works and trace how I found my voice as an artist.

For two years after I finished graduate school in 1997, I diligently sent out applications to Boston-area art galleries, hoping for ongoing representation, with no luck. Then, in 1999, I was fortunate enough to have my work selected as part of the Fuller Craft Museum’s (then known as the Fuller Museum of Art) prestigious Triennial series, an ongoing showcase of New England artists. The year I participated, the show was curated by Carl Belz, director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University. As Mr. Belz’s particular interest and area of expertise was abstraction, all of the pieces in the exhibit were abstract works, and many of them were listed as being exhibited courtesy of the Genovese/Sullivan Gallery.

Realizing that this gallery might be a good fit for me, I sent them my slides and soon received an invitation to bring my work to the gallery. I met the directors, Camellia Genovese and David Sullivan, who looked carefully at the paintings I had brought and asked me to contact them again in six months to show what I had then. So I contacted them six months later, they visited my studio to view my newest paintings (which included "Winter," acrylic and spray-paint on fabric on canvas, 48" H x 28" W, below), and then they offered to represent my work as well as a part in an upcoming three-person exhibit.

This first exhibit at Genovese/Sullivan was a very exciting experience for me, for many reasons, but in particular because one of my paintings (“Ravel,” shown below, acrylic and spray-paint on fabric on canvas, 48 inches square) sold during the opening reception to a Boston gallerist. It was the first time I had ever sold a painting!

A two-person show, another three-person show, and finally a solo show followed over the next five years. Here is the invitation for my solo show (ca. 2003):

I was so excited about this show, my first solo in Boston! This one was reviewed in the Boston Globe. I can still remember driving to the local drugstore at the crack of dawn to buy the newspaper and read the review. I got the paper, rushed back to the car, and spread open the pages over the front seat. I couldn’t even wait to get home! I smiled at the headline (“Painter pitches curves at Genovese/Sullivan”) and was gratified to read the words of reviewer Cate McQuaid, who really “got” what I was trying to say.

I was also thrilled to hear that a well-known Boston collector had come into the gallery and purchased one of my paintings because he had liked the image of it on the invitation card (“Cross,” shown below, acrylic and spray-paint on canvas, 20 inches square).

Sadly, after decades of outstanding shows in Boston (with an artist roster that included such talents as Pat Keck, Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, Robert Hooper, and Mary Boochever), Camellia and David made the decision to close their gallery. I miss working with them, as well as viewing their exhibits, very much. I have been fortunate enough to find other champions of my work since our paths diverged, but I’ll always remember how honored I felt that they chose my paintings for representation by their gallery.

Below, me with "Pucker," one of my works on exhibit at Genovese/Sullivan (ca. 2002):


Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...

It's been interesting to see the path of your work- from the beginning of your career until now.
You had success relatively soon after grad school, quite an accomplishment!
Thanks for sharing, Catherine.

Catherine Carter said...

Thank you for reading, Stephanie. Yes, it was a real stroke of luck! And this gallery and my work were in perfect synch.