The New Gallery offers a contemporary art experience
September 2-8, 2019
By Rachel Trusty
The New Gallery opened in the SOMA district of Little Rock with its first solo exhibition by artist Marc Mitchell in June of this year. Owners and curators David and Teresa Carlisle built the modern building to house a gallery space and private studio on the first floor, and their living quarters on the second. The gallery joins other established art spaces such as the ESSE Purse Museum, the Bernice Garden, and M2 Art Gallery, which relocated to the area from their west Little Rock location last fall. The Oxford American also hosts art events occasionally as well. “February,” the exhibition currently on show by Mathew McConnell, is the third one the gallery has hosted. It plans to hold four more this fall, with each exhibition lasting a month.
Coming out with a strong line-up for their first season, The New Gallery has already set itself apart from other art spaces in the region. Each solo exhibition planned for fall offers highly contemporary, abstract work by artists from all over the United States. The exhibitions offer a unique aesthetic of abstracted work which includes dynamic lines and shapes in limited color palettes, which often play off areas of white space. The current exhibition of McConnell’s work displays rectangular black-on-black low reliefs evocative of Louise Nevelson’s wooden constructions. The texture of the ceramic works tricks the viewer by suggesting the pieces are made of Styrofoam, cardboard, glue and other light, ephemeral materials. The upcoming September show of prints by Mike Marks includes monochromatic and limited palette prints made with a variety of techniques including intaglio, chine-collé, and collagraph. Also, highly abstract, the dynamic images mix areas of gestural mark-making with areas of wash or pattern. Some prints use white or grey space to forefront the bold designs. I am personally looking forward to the November exhibition by Cory Imig. Imig, who currently lives in Kansas City, creates large, mixed-media fiber site-specific installations.
While other galleries in central Arkansas have included abstract work in their rotations or group exhibitions, the complete fall roster The New Gallery showcases these bold, contemporary pieces. This is innovative for our area and will be sure to draw in new audiences. In an email interview with David and Teresa Carlisle, the curators said that they have had excellent feedback from gallery visitors on the exhibitions and from the artists on the exhibition space. The New Gallery has offered artist talks for some of the past exhibitions and they are looking to expand into other types of programming in the coming months. While the roster is limited to solo exhibitions for the fall, the curators are open to group exhibitions in the future. Their website, thenewgallery.net, includes a submission page where artists can propose exhibitions for the space. When asked if they were open to representational work, the curators stated, “For us, it really comes down to the artwork. We’re looking for art that is impressive in technique, thought, and concept.” They added that they are currently working on the exhibition calendar for next year and that some of the artists that they are working with use representational imagery.
The New Gallery is located at 1619 Scott St. in Little Rock, AR. They are open Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. or by appointment. The current exhibition “February” by Mathew McConnell is on show until August 24th. New Prints by Mike Marks will run in September, with the opening reception being Sept. 6, 2019 from 6 – 9 p.m. You can find The New Gallery at their website, which is mentioned above, and on Facebook and Instagram.