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May 6, 2021 - Joy Reed Belt


Beth Hammack, "OK-OK!," 2021, Acrylic on Canvas, 48 x 72 in., $3,800 

Relationships are as important in art as they are in life. It is in the connections that form relationships where one finds beauty and meaning. Our most primal human relationship begins before we are born, making it intense and enduring. As we know, the strength and degree of happiness found in the mother-child relationship affects us all of our lives. In fact, that relationship will be universally celebrated this Sunday. Similarly, it is the relationship of line, shape, texture, form, color, and value in a painting that will illicit our initial response and determine our degree of attachment to a particular work.

By its nature, an art gallery must successfully negotiate all kinds of relationships. Most days it’s difficult for me to decide which comes first, the art or the artist, as I can make a strong case for both. Over the years I have been told that JRB Art has established an identity that attracts certain artists and buyers. I believe that galleries most often reflect the eye and personality of the owner So, when I am approached by an artist seeking representation, one of my first considerations is, do I like the art? My second consideration is does the art look like it belongs in my Gallery? And third, is the body of work being offered something I believe my clients will appreciate and purchase?

Beth Hammack, "Toucan Village," 2021. Acrylic on Canvas, 48 x 60 in., $3,200

About fourteen years ago artist Beth Hammack approached me about exhibiting her work at JRB Art. As I remember, she came to an opening, introduced herself and asked if she could call for an appointment. I remember being grateful that she did not pull out her phone or portfolio and try to show me some images on the spot. I liked Beth immediately. She was professional, had done her research, and knew why she wanted to be represented at The Elms. Also, she was able to articulate why she thought her work would sell. At that time, her work was so different from the work of my then most popular artists, D. J. Lafon and Michi Susan. Consequently, both Beth and I thought her work would add a different dimension to the Gallery offerings and allow me to expand my audience. My relationship with Beth has grown over the years. Together, we have been able to place her work in many personal and corporate collections. In fact, she is the only artist I represent that has an annual exhibit. Other artists are on a bi-annual rotation. Why does Beth get a show every year? Because she can produce that much work, and she sells. Additionally, she consciously makes her paintings available. For example, she wires each painting both vertically and horizontally making it available to more people. Beth believes that if her paintings are really abstract, they don’t have to have a defined orientation. She’s right. Another trait I appreciate about Beth is that she is totally honest and loyal. I can send clients directly to the studio without being concerned about getting my “cut.” Certainly, Beth is not the only artist relationship that I appreciate. But her new body of work was delivered to the Gallery this week and has been installed. It’s a terrific exhibition that we will celebrate during our First Friday Gallery Opening tomorrow night.


Beth Hammack, "Sorrento," 2021, Acrylic on Canvas, 48 x 60 in., $3,200 

I believe that I have a good relationship with my artists. In fact, if I don’t think we can, I will elect not to represent an artist. Over the years some of my most treasured artists have died. I miss them every time I walk in the Gallery. I miss seeing the art they created, and I miss our friendship. Because, for me, art provides both a visual and spiritual experience that is either enhanced or diminished by my relationship with the artist.

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