Brave new art world
From upscale to do-it-yourself, spring has sprung a new crop of local galleries
The Reno art world has new blood.
Five galleries have hit the scene in the last few months, and each one’s got its own perspective on what local art is all about. The new venues range in scale from full-time dealerships to individual artists’ studios with open-to-the-public showrooms. They span the style continuum from upscale to down-home, and the art ranges in temperament from the hip, splashy, illustration-based painting that’s all the rage in lower Manhattan, to the serene strongholds favored by interior designers, to rusty steel sunflowers.
Here’s a space-by-space rundown on the wealth of new wall space, in all its variations. (Note that some galleries have limited hours, but, generally, owners are amenable to calls requesting appointments outside posted times.)
Never Ender Gallery
350 W. Liberty St.
Open M-Sat 11-6, Sun 12-5
Open since December, Never Ender Gallery has already established itself as a rocking venue for a tide of fresh, contemporary artwork that’s otherwise hard to come by in Reno. With the gallery in the back room and a boutique in the front room, the place has half a vibe of city-slicking sophistication while it’s also a laid-back artists’ hangout. Never Ender’s DIY philosophy rings clear—the boutique sells, for example, hand-sewn T-shirts—but it doesn’t deter from a professional appearance and attitude. Owner Amber Gutry, a recent University of Nevada, Reno art graduate, keeps her sewing machine in the corner, so she can work on belts made of paint-samples and hand-sewn clothing for the boutique. Other artists have been spotted sitting on the floor making paintings. Despite the frequent buzz of art-in-progress, the clutter is always shoveled aside for receptions, when the gallery looks sleek and uncrowded again.
Artist-run galleries tend to find creative ways to exist, so they can balance personal taste or artistic philosophy with business acumen. Gutry says her first priority was the artwork, and the income from the boutique supports the gallery.
Though it doesn’t generate as much income as the bowls made from lacquered rolls of raffle tickets or the skull-shaped candle holders, the art in the gallery section tends to sell well. Browsers sometimes find themselves suddenly becoming buyers, no doubt due to Never Ender’s competitive prices (about $20-$400) and department-store-inspired layaway plan.
68 Vine St.
Open noon-6 p.m. Saturdays
The newest art venue in town, Gallery 68, just opened Saturday. The small, early-20th-century house with steel palm trees and sunflowers in the yard is the studio of artist Greg Adams, who lives in a spacious valley north of Reno and commutes in on weekends to work the gallery.
The house was a residential rental property before it was a studio, and it still feels very much like a house. A big couch and chairs make the dark-paneled living room cozy. Small bedrooms with turquoise and mint-colored walls and old-lady-blue ceilings are the backgrouds for Adams’ coral-reef-like wall sculptures.
Adams exhibits his own work and that of other artists he knows. Now showing on the walls, shelves and desktops are Joe Winter’s ceramic teapots, vases and dinnerware and Billie Walker’s contemporary baskets, made from natural materials like willow and deer antlers.
For high-end collectors
Foothill Commerce Center
9748 S. Virginia St.
Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon-Sat
“It’s art for everyone,” says Patty Melton. She’s a recent City Council candidate and former curator at Record Street Café (owned by her daughter, Zoe Atcheson) who now escorts clients around Art Source’s 8,000 square feet. The gallery is tucked into a spruced-up, big-box-type shopping-center space. Elevator music and a splashing fountain provide the sonic background for an environment of corporate serenity. Big, soft couches and easy chairs give patrons a place to take a load off while perusing hundreds of paintings that cover the walls salon-style. The gallery’s thousands of prints are mostly filed in a back room but accessible to browsers with staff assistance.
Art Source represents artists from Reno, the nation and abroad, and prices range from $100 to $150,000. Paintings tend toward familiar themes; still lifes and landscapes are prominent. Prints cover a huge range of styles, including the recognizable designs of vintage French champagne posters and Absolut Vodka graphics. Sculptural work includes a variety of innovations, like brass irises and glossy, lathe-turned wooden vessels.
Christel Citko, a long-time private art dealer and owner of the former Art Center Gallery, opened Art Source in April. She’s already planning a remodel, she says, and she’s sectioned off a living-room-like area for a growing collection of Nevada artists.
Citko and her staff offer consultation services for interior designers and individual art shoppers. They’ll help clients who aren’t sure what they need to create a particular look for their homes or offices. The gallery offers customers the opportunity to live with selected pieces of art on a trial basis to help prevent buyers’ remorse.
Boudoir in the foyer
506 Humboldt St., Suite 203
Open 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Tues-Fri and by appointment
Dianna Sion-Callender, an artist who specializes in gothic-inspired portrait and boudoir photography, has opened the front room and lobby of her small studio to the public. She shows her own work there—there’s a strong connection between her commercial portraits and her fine-art drawings and digital prints—and also features other artists on a rotating basis.
Sion-Callender’s work space, in the back room, is an intimate, sunny office where the artist welcomes visitors for an annotated tour of her portfolio. A soft couch gives the front room, with a small exhibition wall, the atmosphere of a waiting-room. The lobby, hung with a selection of paintings and drawings, is a more spacious place to browse.
While the studio/gallery holds regular hours, Sion-Callender foresees the biggest attractions will be scheduled events. The next one is the Artown-sponsored Dark Light Show, including a slideshow and a selection of artwork leaning toward the darkly erotic by Sion-Callender and tranquil, black-and-white nudes by photographer Stephanie Hogen. That show will be followed by the annual Photography on the Lawn, formerly run by Gallery Cui-Ui and now under Icon’s purview.
Warm welcome, hot hello
518 W. 2nd St.
Open 3-7 p.m. Fri-Mon and by appointment
Until now, you had to be in the know to access Reno’s active but underrepresented photography scene. Photographers who’ve been toiling away in their darkrooms now have a place where their work can see the light of day. Fireplace Gallery keeps its door open to other types of artwork as well—an upcoming show, Blue, will be organized around a color instead of a particular medium—but photography’s been the focus so far. The current exhibit is a group show featuring a range of Reno talent from prominent professionals to students, using technique ranging from darkroom to digital, traditional to experimental.
The previous exhibit was an inaugural group show of the three owners’ work. Kelly Bridegum is a UNR photography student, Matt Theilen is a photography instructor at Truckee Meadows Community College, and Arthur Domagala is a recent transplant from Michigan and part-time photographer.
The partners’ original mission was to pitch in on a rented studio space where they could share access to computers and framing equipment. The studio project evolved into a gallery project, and the idea of splitting expenses evolved into the idea of engineering the business more toward creative leeway than profit.
“We conceived this to have as much freedom as possible,” says Theilen. “We got a place we could afford to rent without having to sell something. If we don’t sell anything for a month it’s fine.” This allows Fireplace Gallery to plan programs like an upcoming video and short-film screening without having to perfect the logistics of promotion and ticket-selling right off the bat.
The owners cut corners on expenses but made up for the savings with a last-ditch exertion of labor. They worked just about round the clock to sand the worn floor, stain it black, install track lighting and score some comfy silver chairs on sale at Ikea with moments to spare before the first opening reception. The rented office space, apparently a former apartment, is sleek and spare enough to showcase artwork professionally and still has a streak of casual warmth.
The gallery’s most prominent architectural feature is—you guessed it—a fireplace. Bridegum says she and her partners are still considering its possibilities: the legendary burning-logs holiday video, maybe small art installations or, perhaps, fire.