Get together

Collaboration at Hobson Gallery

Go, team: (clockwise from top left) Pan Pantoja, Pobby Heglar, Ryan Ostler, Jilly McCuan and Carrie Lynn Smith.

Go, team: (clockwise from top left) Pan Pantoja, Pobby Heglar, Ryan Ostler, Jilly McCuan and Carrie Lynn Smith.


Two (or more) is better than one. At least that’s what the members of The Salvagery Collective think, and that is why the premiere show at their new Hobson Gallery is titled Collaboration.

“More often than not, we end up collaborating with each other around here,” says Ryan Ostler, as he paints over a life-size sculpture by Pan Pantoja, a creation for the upcoming exhibition. “He’s simultaneously doing a piece on my piece,” says Ostler, as he signals across the room. Pantoja is transforming one of Ostler’s abstract, Jackson Pollock-like paintings into a new piece for the show.

“It’s nice to sort of give up control and trust that someone else will do something wonderful with something you’ve created,” says Ostler.

The workshop space behind the gallery is full of artists working with each other on projects for the exhibition.

All the work in the show is new work created specifically for opening night, including one collaborative piece by all of the artists combined. Spencer Hobson, the gallery’s namesake, donated the gallery space to the Salvagery Collective, who cleaned it up and turned it into a professional venue for displaying art. For the premiere opening, the Hobson Gallery, all 2,200 square feet of it, will be filled with all kinds of work ranging from paintings to sculpture to sculptural paintings to photography.

“It’s a collaboration show, so every piece will have at least two signatures on it,” explains Pantoja.

Some of the work is serious and in the vein of some of the atists’ usual styles. Other work is more playful and perhaps a product of the novelty of cooperation. One piece, a collaboration between Mallory Mishler and Pantoja, is titled “Frank & Beans,” and depicts an image of Frankenstein smoking a cigarette with green-painted Styrofoam balls glued to the surface and an empty tin can with plastic cockroaches crawling out of it.

Carrie Lynn Smith, who is working on a piece with Alex Lemus, covers Jilly McCuan with clay. “I work with what I got,” says Smith, who also made a pair of pieces with Ostler. “I started using blocks cut from frames and then put them together, sort of like a puzzle,” she says, describing her part of the co-designed wall hangings.

Collaborating on art is not new to this collective but was a natural way to put together a group show for the first one in their new space. Other artists involved include Aric Shapiro, Arthur Richmond, Greg Allen, Pobby Heglar, Kendall Knowles, Megan Hellier, Melisa Gabrielson, Natelie Lind and RN&R contributor Nicole Seaton.

“Collaboration comes when you are part of a group,” says Smith. “Sometimes you have a piece you don’t know what to do with, so you can hand it to someone else. Then you have this splendid thing that came from two minds.”

“It breaks you out of your shell,” Pobby Heglar adds. “The more minds you have throwing ideas around, the more interesting the end product is.”

Some of the artists even feel that their most successful work has come from working with others.

“The next step for us is to get this gallery going and to keep up the collaboration,” says Ostler. “We aren’t going to be showing as a group that often in here. We want to be able to provide a space for others and collaborate with up and coming local artists.”

The art opening will double as a food drive. As incentive, the artists are offering a free piece of original artwork to the first 60 people through the door who donate a can of food. The art that will be given in return? A collaborative piece, of course.