Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Gallery Space Talk: Caryn Coleman- sixspace

Website: http://www.sixspace.com/
Location: 5803 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
Phone: 323.932.6200

I recently interviewed Caryn Coleman. Caryn is the owner and director of the sixspace gallery in Los Angeles. Sixspace represented several artists at Pulse this year. The gallery is known for representing artists who have a great deal of studio integrity and skill.
(Sean Higgins - Island of Relative Stability March 3 - April 7, 2007 Installation view)

Q. You are the gallery director of sixspace. When was the gallery established? What is the mission of your gallery?

A. "I am the owner and director of sixspace. The gallery opened in Los Angeles in November 2002 in downtown Los Angeles (we had a brief stint as a project-based space in Chicago from 1999-2000). In 2005 we relocated to the thriving art district in Culver City (still L.A.). Sixspace's mission is really to establish strong working relationships to build the careers of emerging artists, in a variety of mediums, that we feel are not only aesthetically and conceptually strong but also constantly evolving their craft."

Q. Why did you decide to become a gallery director? Are you an artist yourself?

A. "How did you get involved with the arts? I became a gallery director by default when I decided to open up my own space - comes with the territory when you're building your own program. I am not an artist - never was - my desire is to be around art is to foster and to promote it. I discovered my interest in art when I was 17 but didn't officially get involved until I began working at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. It grew from there by working at the museum, opening my first space, and working a several other galleries."

Q. What is your personal philosophy about about art and artistic creation? What makes an artist and artist?

A. "I think art is a very personal experience both for the creator and for the viewer - to me art is about ideas, aesthetics, reaction, and opinion. An artist is someone who creates something. Whether or not they're a good artist is up for debate."
(Sarah Cromarty - The Books and Records Show (In the Annex) January 20 - February 17, 2007 Installation view)

Q. It often seems that many artists are not aware of the business side of art. Do you have any suggestions for an artist who wishes to learn more about the marketing side of the business that is art?

A. "In Los Angeles there is this fantastic series produced by a CalArts professor called "Get Your Shit Together." It gets into the details of how the business works and what to expect. I would suggest to an artist to see if there are any programs like that in their time. Other advice, for those who work with galleries, is to ask your dealer questions. Communication is key! But really, like I will never know what it entails to be an artist, not all artists are going to fully understand the business gallerist side of the business."

Q. Who are you currently representing? Do you have any exhibits going on at this time?

A. "Sixspace gallery artists are: Heather Cantrell, Coop, Sarah Cromarty, Donovan Crosby, Wendy Heldmann, Sean Higgins, Seonna Hong, kozyndan, Carrie Marill, Russell Nachman, and Chad Robertson. We also work with Evah Fan, D'nell Larson, Andrew Sutherland, and Karin Weiner. Our current exhibition is up through April 7th and it's the debut solo exhibition in Los Angeles by Sean Higgins.

The show features these incredible hazy, dreamlike landscapes - the locations are vague and displace the viewer. Issues of time, place, and memory are called into question when looking at the work. The pieces are photographically based (the images are digital and are Inkjet prints) but the hand that is involved in the creation lends them to be more painterly, almost sculptural. I'm very pleased with it!"

Q. Your gallery represented several artists at Pulse New York (2007). Did the exhibit go well for your artists?

A. "At Pulse we presented a curated statement called reLAted that explored how five artists (Heather Cantrell, Wendy Heldmann, kozyndan, D'nell Larson, and Chad Robertson) working in Los Angeles deal with issues of "relating" and "relationships" within their work. The fair was a great success for us in terms of sales, promotion, establishing relationships, and press. We're very happy with the outcome."

Q. What can you tell our readers about the artists you represent?

A. "That they are fantastic! The artists I work with are all very diverse and that's on purpose. It's important for me to have a well-rounded program. One underlying thread within my artists is that they all tend to investigate environments and issues of space whether that be through literal places, relationships, personal, whatever. Each artist just goes about it in his/her unique conceptual way and medium. Also, most live in Los Angeles - this isn't on purpose but has happened organically because I really enjoy us all being a part of something together. Proximity helps foster that."
(Russell Nachman - Paradise (In the Annex) October 21 - November 22, 2006 Installation view)

Q. What kind of message do you want the art you exhibit at sixspace to have?

A. "I'm not looking for any one or really overall message with the art that we show as the gallery is very intentionally diverse. I just want my artist's individual messages to come about in their shows. Those individual messages will hopefully construct a larger, whole vision of what the gallery is doing."

Q. Do you have any advice for emerging or established artists who would like to exhibit at your gallery?

A. "Sixspace is currently at the point where we're quite solidly booked and committed to the artists we're already working with. Still, we look for new artists and that's usually through fellow dealers we know or through our artists. My biggest recommendation to artists is to pick galleries in your town where they feel their art would fit and start visiting those galleries to put their face out there. Cold submissions either via email, mail, or drop off simply don't work anymore."

Q. What was the most important exhibition you've been involved with? Care to share that experience?

A. "They're like kids, I could never pick - each has its own special quality."

Q. If you could pinpoint the characteristics of people who buy art from sixspace, what would they be?

A. "Because of the diversity of our artists and the fact that Los Angeles has such a range of art collectors (age, income, employment) there's really not a way to describe people who buy from us other than that they have excellent taste."

Q. As a gallery director, what trends do you see in the 'art world'? What is 'hot' at this moment?

A. "What's "hot" is what other people think is hot. Young artists are big, hype is big (always has been), and collecting has become more mainstream. I try to avoid trends and just focus on what we're doing."

(There Goes the Neighborhood: Part Deux December 2, 2006 - January 17, 2007 Works shown by: David Lloyd (background) and Asuka Ohsawa (foregrand) Installation view)

Q. What can you tell our readers about the art scene in your area?

A. "The Los Angeles is so incredibly rich and exciting that there's no way to encapsulate it in a paragraph (in fact my blog art.blogging.la was created to discuss what's going on here). The artists, galleries, and museums in L.A. are so thriving; creating and showing innovative work. The scene has been happening since the 1960s but you just can't beat Los Angeles - it has a D.I.Y. attitude with the quality to back it up."

Q. Do you have a website for your gallery?

A. "I do - http://www.sixspace.com/ "

I hope that you have enjoyed my interview with Caryn Coleman about the sixspace gallery. You can find details about sixspace by visiting the gallery website: http://www.sixspace.com/

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

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