New work to the gallery - and how this is all working

I recently returned from New Mexico with new work for Muse Gallery, pieces by Signe Stuart and Randall LaGro; and also received the work Muse Gallery South Carolina had of Signe’s. It’s like Christmas every time I get in new work by artists, and there is always something I covet.

Randall LaGro, Memories of Snow, 47"x60", oil on panel

Randall hasn’t been completing as many pieces, dealing with aging parents, back problems and house issues, it’s been a rough couple of years. He did, however, have a couple that were hot off the presses, including one that was inspired by a photo of his mom when she was little, riding a donkey or small pony with her sisters. It is enchanting, and in a small way reminds me of Russian jewel box paintings.

His paintings are always multi-layered with images fading in and out of the background, hidden messages and shadows, subtle indications of other stories buried somewhere in there.

I can look at Randall’s paintings and find something new every time.

Signe Stuart, Shanghai, acrylic on paper, 10"x80"

The Signe Stuart pieces include acrylic on plexiglass (which it really edgy and captivating) and paper pieces (which are always so well crafted and continue to reference Japanese scrolls with a modern twist).

Also new to the gallery is artist Brandon Smith, a Senior Lecturer on Painting and Drawing at the University of Kentucky. His work is haunting and masterful. The statement from Brandon follows:

Figuration: Limbs

These drawings have something to do with Frankenstein.  When the monster stirs to life for the first time, the book says there is a “convulsive motion” in the limbs.  Invoking something like a newborn animal scrambling clumsily and desperately to stand.  Or arms reaching after long sleep with tingling weak fingers to pull ones weight forward.  

Brandon Smith, Pressure, painting on paper

The limbs hang and dangle.  Lines describe what is there and what isn’t.  The carved dark shape of the back of a hand is solidly described against a field of smoky neutral pale light.  The lines arc toward the lurching bodies to lift or impede the weight. Figures are composed of mismatched proportions, hewn at the joints with fragile red lines.  Identity is obscured in thickets of opaque dark masses.  In the vague expressive dust of soot and pigment rests forms uneasy in their shape, ungainly and uncomfortable.  They are dark and emotional, sentimental even and sometimes wretched in their form.

Beginning as direct observations from life, the works pay homage to the truth but only fleetingly and uneven.  In the spaces between concrete images and unsettling transitions into visual chaos, the resulting effect is simultaneously beautiful and grotesque. 

Brandon C. Smith earned a Bachelors of Arts degree from Eastern Kentucky University (KY) in 2000, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati (OH) in 2004.  He was a recipient of the Al Smith Kentucky Individual Artist Grant and two time recipient of a Great Meadows Individual Artist Grant.  

 So, all this new work, and you may ask where I keep it all or where you can see it or what my story is . . .

Look, the gallery business has been tough. My health made a determination (for me) that I couldn’t man another space and continue at the pace I had been with the “old” Muse. But thanks to loyal clients and great people who support what I do and who I show, I’ve been given the opportunity to show the work at some amazing places, i.e., Reed Arts, Smith Bros. Hardware Bldg., the Hilton Columbus Downtown, G Michaels Restaurant, and various other pop-up locations over the past three or four years. I will continue to utilize many of these spaces (for as long as they’ll have me!). Smith Bros. Hardware Bldg., for example, is a huge space where I can showcase multiple large-scale pieces, including work by David Senecal, Signe Stuart, Alice Zilberberg and Randall LaGro. I currently have a show up at Hilton Columbus Downtown (in the front corridor) through the end of August, and work displayed by David Senecal on the second floor of the Hilton at the Gallerie Bar & Bistro. Work by Wendy Franklin is currently showing at G Michaels Restaurant, and I have multiple pieces out staging high-end homes and condos for sale (so if you see some artwork that looks like “Muse Gallery”, it probably is.

Please, feel free to call me about any of these pieces. I’d be happy to meet you and talk to you in person at any of these locations, or to bring the work to your home or office so that you can see how it works in your space.

My speciality is working one-on-one with customers, helping them choose the right pieces to both decorate their spaces and build a meaningful and worthwhile collection. It can be done. Great art is great art even if it matches the sofa (bad art is bad no matter where you put it!). I like to help, I like to explain why something works or why it doesn’t, and what it all means financially when you purchase art (especially expensive art). I’ll tell you about the artist, and in building a long-term relationship, offer opportunities to meet the artists, participate in art events that are engaging and informative (like the dinner at Juliellen Byrne’s studio we just had - catered by The Table Restaurant). It was great for clients to see work in progress, to talk to Julie about her inspiration and her process, and to get a more personal “feel” for the artist and her work.

I know the art world can be intimidating sometimes. I know it’s uncomfortable for people to go to openings, or to engage beyond the purchase. I am here to help, and hope that I can make this more meaningful and important. Collecting art should be about more than just buying something.

Hali (my daughter in South Carolina) is now working as a consultant, helping people build collections and finding the perfect art for their home. She is still sourcing many of the same artists, but has found a way to connect directly with the clients and offer a more personal experience. We are all, I think, looking for a personal connection that is meaningful to us in some way. I applaud her for not carrying the inventory and striking out on her own, and having the ability and knowledge to work with clients directly in procuring artwork. Feel free to utilize me the same way. I can be your personal concierge for art. I (and most dealers and gallery owners) can function very similar to an interior designer (although we are much more specific about what we offer and where we will source the artwork). Last month I delivered pieces to a client and hung them in their home (just to see if they liked them), and will meet clients next week to walk all three shows with them (and then enjoy coffee or lunch). It is what I do, and I love this part of it. If you want personal service, just ask.