Within the same block of 19th Street as Galley M Squared is H Gallery. H Gallery is under the guidance of a former student of Amy Blakemore , Heidi Powell-Prera, a photographer who is assisted in her endeavors at the gallery by a group of volunteer artists. According to the website:
Work is not harshly juried, so therefore the gallery offers a place to exhibit their work without fear of biased critique or rejection. All age groups as well as levels of experience are invited to submit work…
Now I am going to surprise all of you, myself included, by saying something nice, rather than ugly. I appreciate it that H Gallery and Powell-Prera are open and honest about what they are doing, rather than pretending that the gallery and its artists are something other than they are, unlike a certain gallery down the street who is the only other gallery I have talked about and whose name I will not mention. And this directness and honesty was reflective in the work I saw at H Gallery and on its website – there wasn’t an orange peeler among the bunch.
Although I wasn’t crazy about everything I saw, and possibly none of the H Gallery artists may ever be in the Whitney Biennial (although every other year one of them could win a Hunting Prize – and no I am not talking about the years that Robin and Francesca won, but the other every other years – plus maybe they could chosen for the Whitney, because shit, the Whitney picks people like M K Guth, and some of their work is better than his, so seriously what do I know, plus who am I to tell a person he or she can’t do something – you are the master of your own destiny, etc. etc.), but no matter what the quality of the work, the H Gallery affiliates seemed to be serious about what they are making and how they made it. (I bet by the time you got to the tail end of that last sentence, you couldn’t remember if I was talking about art or was quoting Ahmadinejad .)
In all fairness, I have to admit that I saw very little art on the day I went into H Gallery. It wasn’t that it wasn’t on the walls, and in the glass case, and on the floor, and under a table, and outside on pedestals – because it was. It was everywhere, cheek to gill, salon style as it were. I didn’t see the art because I got shanghaied on the way in by a certain Mr. Eliason and Mr. Adams. Truth be known, it was more Adams than Eliason that did the shanghaiing, as Mr. Eliason didn’t talk much and mostly sat behind his walker in chair drinking water.
Adams was eager to talk about and show me his work, which is made out of scrapped railroad spikes and rails, and kind of looks like Jim Love’s had Love been Patroclus, Captain of the Myrmidons or maybe Steven Segal sans steroids. No flowers in pots or giant jacks, but instead lots of Warriors in Warrior type situations including Warriors- Assault, Warriors- Carnage and Ruin, Warriors – No Retreat, and by the time I saw it, Warriors- Boredom . By the way, if you are interested in Adams, he lists his relationship status as Complicated.
I suppose I could have stayed longer at H Gallery and looked at the rest of the work, but I get extremely nerous when people I don’t know talk to me too much and too closely, so I left. But before I leave you- and I promise to stand at least five or six feet away from your personal space – let me show you a couple of my all time favorite pieces I found on the H Gallery Website:
This is the work of Vonetta Berry . I love it, is it crazy or not? What is going on here? I will tell you what is going on – these people are naked from the waist up and have a single eagle painted on their collective backs, an eagle with an especially gigantic head. Vonetta has also photographed couples with back paintings of owls, crows, phoenixes, and dependent on your height and width, quite possibly Andean condors and bee hummingbirds as well. If you are wondering what to get your honey for your anniversary, problem solved.
OK, here is my next favorite – Art in Motion , a group, or maybe a person from Denton, Texas. This photograph is taken from Art in Motion’s website describing its inaugural event, which took place in 2000 and is described in part as follows: I had a band play, while some kids made trash art in an apartment courtyard. I’m sorry, I’m thinking more like I had a band play, while in the meantime some unsuperviseds five year old started a fire with some gasoline and oily rags in a trashcan and burned the apartment complex to the ground, David Byrne style, oh yeah.
Other actual favorites, on the serious tip are Thomas Freightman ’s beautiful Black Cowboy and Ashley Aleman ’s Dead Bird. The prices at H Gallery are easonable, and if you don’t mind wading through the good, the bad, and the in between, you might find a hidden treasure.