Sunday, May 27, 2012
PDX Art: Interview with Jane Wood owner of Victory Gallery
Hi Jane thanks for doing this
What is your background and what inspired you to open an art gallery?
I was born and raised in San Francisco; the liberal western renegade city of the art world, I had access to much that inspired me.
Although my time spent in Art School was important the pivotal developments as a person and an artist was more a result of my collaborations with other emerging artists. After school I spent time living in New York, Los Angeles and New Orleans where I participated in group projects, film and curating full-time
Where is it and what is your objective with the space?
Victory Gallery is located in the Park Blocks, on the corner of Everett & 8th, which is quickly becoming the new creative corridor in Portland. Victory is a new breed of gallery dedicated to inspiring and nurturing both emerging artists and emerging collectors. Focusing exclusively on the work of a select group of surfacing and mid-career international artists Victory is trying to elevate Portland’s art offerings.
What role can art play in our daily lives?
Art dominates and enriches my life in a way that is hard to put into words. I realize that is not the case for everyone but I don’t think life would be worth living for me personally without creative expression. I see art everywhere including cracks in the sidewalk.
How do you keep up with art trends and how does that translate into your selection of artists?
I don’t really follow trends but I do look for creative movements that seem obvious if you read follow and immerse yourself with art on a global scale with awareness of history and context.
What mind set and understanding is needed to become a collector of art?
I think there are many mindsets and different perspectives on collecting art that are valid. I often think of the early days when I traded work with friends and colleagues or chose to buy art instead of eating dinner and the weight and joy of these decisions. I have a lot of respect for anyone that prioritizes supporting fine artist on any scale and hope to be in a position to build and preserve my own collection to share with future audiences.
Who are your art heroes?
Gerhard Richter, SWOON, Jack White
Who has the power to declare a traditional art form dead and why would anyone do such a thing?
I don’t think people should make large inflexible declarations about art or about life. Opinions are valuable and interesting but judgments are not.
Where do you feel Portland stands as an art city and what could elevate that standing?
Unfortunately while I feel that Portland is forward thinking on many fronts I feel that the art culture of is literally standing still. The exceptions of course are the academic shows and collaborative relationships built around art, business and design.
Most of the galleries that are successful or established (and success for an Art Gallery can sometimes just be about survival) are high end, blue chip galleries, focusing primarily on local and regional established artists. Only in the last 10 years smaller, younger, underground galleries focusing on alternative artwork sprung up, trying to create a new art community that can compare with bigger rival cities like San Francisco, LA and New York.
But because of how small it is, Portland will never be that and cannot support a dozen trendy low-end galleries unless they offer more than just trends. So many interesting galleries have come and gone over the last 5 years that it does seem a bit crazy to attempt another new gallery in this economy. I want to break the mold and help Portland make its mark as more than the capital of eco friendly, bike-riding, design minded foodies. Although I too am all of these things there is a world of important, dynamic and relevant art created beyond our region.
As design minded and forward thinking as people are in this town they don’t spend money freely without feeling a connection or comprehension of why something is valuable to them. Victory gallery is looking to make that connection for collectors and first time buyers with talented international artists that we know are important, unique and collectible. There is something very exciting about being the first Portlander to own a Gijs van Lith painting!
If you would compare art made in the USA and that of Europe where would you pin point the differences?
I cannot pin point the differences because all good art is relevant as is some bad art. Cultural and historical contexts will always be different. Art is a product of how and where we live and who we are.
What is this new art exhibit all about and who is in it?
Martin Mohr is a talented and young German Artist whose work is truly his own. He focuses on abstracted environments or dreamlike images with a dark edge.
Where are the boundaries of today’s paintings and practice?
I am not sure because I avoid most boundaries as in my mind they are akin to creative limitations.
How have your international artists been received here in Portland?
Our artists have been received very well. We have had positive feedback from other curators’ critics and the academic community. As our following is growing rapidly we hope that we will find new strategies for profit and expansion. Currently I am looking for investors to help offset the cost of shipping and artist travel. It is so important to have the artist here to participate in the show and be part of our community.
What emotion do you look forward to be evoked in a painting?
I look forward to a heightened state of emotion more than a specific category of emotion. It may be a cliché but I feel it in my gut when work moves me. I can be equally moved by the feelings of profound sadness, fear or awe.
Who are the greatest dead painters living on?
Willem de Kooning, Cy Twombly
Who are the greatest living painters in your eyes?
Peter Doig, Per Kirkeby, Gijs Van Lith, Martin Mohr & Annemieke Alberts
What is the hope and vision you have for Victory gallery?
I want to put Portland on the map by elevating the reach or art and artists in our community to reflect a global perspective. I want Victory to act as a vehicle for the artists I believe in to get the praise and audience they deserve in the US. I hope Victory Gallery’s artists will enrich the community and provide opportunities for growth and expansion in other US and European cities. The ultimate goal of Victory’s expansion is to provide a partnership and exchange of international art and artists.
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