Friday, January 29, 2010

Maxwell Perry Asks Some Questions of... Transmission's Bret Payne

When word of a potential new space for Transmission broke last month, we were excited and curious. Who is Bret Payne, what's he been up to, and what's the deal with Transmission past and present? The plot thickened when friend/associate/artist/past RVAAB interviewee Maxwell Perry agreed to ask Bret some questions...

TRANSMISSION first opened in 2007. What was it that inspired you to open a gallery?

I was working for Mrs. Rachel (Bunny) Mellon a few years ago in her private library in Upperville, Virginia, and she had talked to me about building a gallery on her property for her art collection. Her tentative plan was to ask me to be its curator. I made my way back to VCU to get a degree in Museum Studies, thinking that she was going to begin building the actual gallery. At this point, I had six years of experience as an assistant librarian and project manager for Mrs. Mellon's rare book and art collection. When her plans changed, mine did as well. I decided to get a degree in VCU's sculpture program and eventually open my own gallery.

How did you make that happen?

The timing was odd. I was still in school when someone told me about a space that was available to rent in the part of town (near the other "First Friday" galleries) in which I ideally wanted to be. I was in my last semester and knew from past experience that I should just jump in and figure things out on my own. Transmission became a large part of what I started doing in school, and I was making more friends with faculty and students in the painting and printmaking department at VCU.

Transmission's first home at 321 Brook Road

You were able to maintain a strong connection to VCU, and area artists, as well as featuring national/international artists. How did you find them all?

Transmission's mission in its early existence was to mainly host two-person shows. One artist would be local and the other would be from out-of-town. This would potentially make opportunities for both artists to make lasting connections with each other. It would keep things fresh, here in town, and promote our local talent elsewhere. Finding the out-of-town artists is a trade secret, as silly as that may seem. The local artists were friends, colleagues, surprise meetings, etc. I've been fortunate that many of the out-of-town artists were willing to take a gamble on me. They may feel the same about me.

Transmission's first opening featured work by Oura and David Cook in September 2007.

What happened to the old space?

Transmission had operated for a year and a half at that location (321 Brook Road), and I had come to a financial crossroads. I could either starve and try to get through a few winter months and hope that the next spring would be fruitful, or I could do what I decided to do. I closed shop with the intention of opening at a new location when things were supposed to work out for me. I was never really happy with the physical location of the old space, but I loved its size and character. I wanted to find a larger space and get away from the gravity of First Friday. That was no longer as important to me in the end.

How did the new space come to be?

A friend of mine has his studio above where the gallery is temporarily located. He offered to let me use the space for Transmission. I am currently thinking of this as a temporary home for the gallery, and I think there may be at least another before I settle and feel like moving the flat files in.

Transmission's most recent iteration has been located at
517 W 7th St., Richmond, VA 23234

Tell me about the most recent show.

The show I had up in December consisted of artists who had shown at Transmission in the past, as well as a few new artists with whom I will work in the future. The artists included Joe Deroche, Dave Moore, Seth Ganz, Bill Donovan, Jamie Boling, Cece Cole, David Cook, and Travis Robertson. There was no cohesive theme. They are all artists I like personally and appreciate my hunger to continue. Joe Deroche is one artist I am working more closely with. He is allowing me to represent him. I am slowly asking a few others to be a part of Transmission more intimately.

Joe Deroche

Will there be regular hours?

There are currently no regular hours. Hours will be made available for upcoming shows. I work full time right now for a company and put much of my other time into trying to make Transmission what I want it to be.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

RVA Arts and Culture District...?

Tuesday morning I attended one-and-a-half meetings during the free pre-conference segment of Art Works for Virginia. The morning's session, led by Brain Shull, outlined Harrisonburg's formation of an arts and culture district (Harrisonburg was first in Virginia to undertake the task of creating an arts and culture district- though more areas have followed suite. Check out VA Arts and Culture, and benefits the area has seen come from this.

The next meeting was led by Theresa Cameron of Americans for the Arts who talked more about arts and culture districts across the country, benefits of the districts, and specific areas-of-concern to be considered during the process of structuring arts and culture districts. More than once, Cameron cautioned that it is of utmost importance to consider the needs of our specific community before determining the guidelines of our own arts and culture districts. (VALAA will be adding information from the conference to its website in the near future.)

Confused? Me, too, a little. As an interested bystander to all of this conversation, I have figured out a few things: first, an arts and culture district is a specific zone that enjoys certain financial benefits (waived sales tax, waived admissions tax, etc.- it can vary from district to district) due to its designation. These benefits are allotted the district with the purpose of supporting artists and arts venues, which in turn attract more business to the area, benefiting the area as a whole. The cry for a Richmond arts and culture district has been raised more than once, but became especially poignant this fall after the October First Fridays/Richmond City Police debacle. It seems the hope of some Richmond venues is that an arts district will make allowances for occupancy restrictions (at least during First Fridays), in addition to waiving admissions taxes- this is an assumption on my part.

After the morning's meetings, I found myself wondering where Richmond stands in the whole arts and culture district process- are we at the very beginning, are we thinking about testing the waters, or have some strides been made? Luckily, the evening meeting sponsored by CultureWorks again featured Theresa Cameron, but this time she spoke about Richmond's progress. It seems that due to the work done on and through the Richmond Region Cultural Action Plan, CultureWorks has information necessary in determining the next steps to be taken, which may be garnering support through the General Assembly (?). BAM has some more info on the fruits of the RRCAP here, which makes me wonder if the next update on all of this won't be made public until April 6th?

There could definitely be some better promotion of these events, as Tuesday evening's meeting was attended by less than 20 people. Surely there are more arts big wigs and "interested bystanders" in RVA than that.

And... based on the RRCAP research, what Richmond artists most want from CultureWorks is "an ongoing listing of organizations/competitions/opportunities that want/need visual and performing arts"? And health insurance?

I still have lots of questions about lots of stuff, and if I have put any misinformation out there in the body of this post, please forgive my ignorance and use the comments to educate me. I am interested in what has happened, who is making the decisions, and what is coming next. So if you know, feel free to share.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pics from Helena Wurzel's "Vanitas" at Russell/Projects

Photos from the Thursday night preview of Russell/Projects' first show "Vanitas," featuring work by Helena Wurzel:

If you haven't already, go check out this show! The new space is great and Wurzel's work is wonderful- Russell/Projects is an exciting addition to the RVA art scene.

"Vanitas" is on view until March 7th, 2010.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Congratulations to the 2010 VMFA Fellowship Winners

Richmond winners of professional artist fellowships:

Sun Tek Chung- Photography

Stephen Vitiello- Mixed Media

Natalya Pinchuk- Crafts

Michael Jones McKean- Sculpture

Kendra Wadsworth- Drawing

Jeff Majer- Painting

Chris Mahonski- Sculpture

Bill Fisher- Painting

From VMFA:

Thirty-five Virginia art students and artists have been awarded a total of $202,000 in 2010 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowships.

Fourteen professional artists won 2010 awards of $8,000 each. They are (in alphabetical order by hometown) Kevin Everson (film-video) and Janet Grahame (mixed media) of Charlottesville; Bill Fisher (painting) of Chester; Greg Stewart (sculpture) of Harrisonburg; SunTek Chung (photography), Chris Mahonski (sculpture), Jeff Majer (painting), Michael Jones McKean (sculpture), Natalya Pinchuk (crafts), Stephen Vitiello (mixed media), and Kendra Wadsworth (drawing) of Richmond; Ann Glover (painting) and Brett LaGue (drawing) of Roanoke; and Aaron Sanders (photography) of Springfield.


Six graduate students won 2010 awards worth $6,000 each. They are Jesi Pace-Berkeley (painting) of Blacksburg; Christopher Oliver (art history) of Charlottesville; Sarah Kreiger (printmaking) of Lynchburg; and Leilani Gonzales (crafts), Justin Kroman (painting), and Jon-Phillip Sheridan (photography) of Richmond.

Twelve undergraduate students won 2010 awards worth $4,000 apiece. They are Erin Sonoda (photography) of Alexandria; Luke Harman (mixed media) of Blacksburg; Blair Condon (photography) of Fairfax; Jessica Dodd (sculpture) of Herndon; Samantha Cooper (crafts) and David Thompson (photography) of Mechanicsville; Phillip Nesmith (photography), Rachel Rainer (photography) and Allison Smith (drawing) of Richmond; Irena Stanisic (mixed media) of Roanoke; Amber Bender (photography) of Stafford; and Julianne Jamora (photography) of Virginia Beach.

In addition, three undergraduates were awarded 2010 Fellowships worth $2,000 each for their final semester. They are Michael Muelhaupt (sculpture) and Dena Sussman (photography) of Richmond and Chris Underwood (film-video) of Dumfries.


See VMFA's site for more information about the awards and a slide show of work by all of the winning artists.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Important Art Things Happening This Week

The Art Works for Virginia conference is set for this Tuesday- Thursday at the Richmond Marriott. Click the link for more information about the entire conference, or click here for info. about the FREE pre-conference events on Tuesday.

Also, CultureWorks has invited us all to a meeting about arts and culture districts that Tuesday evening (Jan. 26th) at Richmond Marriott from 5:45 to 7 pm. More info about this meeting here.

Another important and awesome event happens this week when Josephine Durkin gives a talk about her work currently exhibited at Metro Space Gallery. This talk will happen in VCU's Fine Arts Building, crit room #3, Jan. 28th, 5:15 pm. Grid's got more info about this here.

Josephine Durkin's work will be on view at Metro Space until Jan. 29th

Indelible Link Monday

Tara Donovan has work in "New Year: New Work," now up
at Reynolds Gallery until Feb. 20th

Speakers for the next Talk20 at 1708 (Wed. Feb. 10th, 6 PM)

"The Figure In Relief x 6" opens at Main Art Feb. 5th

RVA photographer Gordon Stettinius has a show in NY

Emerging Artist Showcase from GCCR Gallery

Loose-Limbs: new site for RVA poster art and more

Style on "New Year: New Work" at Reynolds Gallery and on a show of textile art currently at ArtWorks

RAGE on "New Year: New Work" at Reynolds

RVATV: The Process 18, featuring Catherine Brooks

Chad Erpelding's and Dan Sperry's upcoming show at 1708

Visiting artists wanted at the Torpedo Factory

Art opening at VCU Starke house this Friday

The Hat on Helena Wurzel at Russell/Projects (with video!)

Virginia Alliance of Local Arts Agencies blog

VMFA's blog on paper

MAP's call for curatorial proposals (due Feb. 5th)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Lots of Manchester Art Openings Tonight!

Helena Wurzel's "Vanitas" opens tonight at Russell/Projects

Go check out art tonight at:

Artspace- opening from 7-10 pm

Artworks- from 7-10 pm


Russell/Projects- from 5-9 pm

Pics From Maruta Racenis's "A Moment Passing"

on view at Main Art until Jan. 30th

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pics from "Painting (In Part and In Pieces)" by Barbara Campbell Thomas

on view until Feb. 13th

(all images below are details of the above work, which was a blend of collage and painting directly on the gallery wall)

More info. at 1708's site here.
Artist talk Feb. 13th at 1 pm.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Opening and Events at Reference This Weekend

excerpt about "Mirrors" from Reference's site:

January 23rd-February 6th 2009


This show subverts the traditional relationship between object, exhibition and documentation, a relationship built on the economic model of galleries and museums and objects for sale. Using photographs of the exhibition site empty and images of artworks photographed elsewhere, composite images are created as installation views of a hypothetical exhibition. These composited installation images are then distributed by the gallery’s website. The exhibit will culminate in a projection of these images directly from the gallery’s website within the gallery itself. This circular presentation is meant to challenge the boundaries of where we locate value in art. The institution, the first hand experience and digital documentation are all melted into one, leaving the viewer to decide where art took place.

And more events:

Pics from Laura Pharis's, Ann Bradshaw's, and Tyler Payne's Shows at Quirk

Laura Pharis showing in the Shop until Jan. 30th

Ann Bradshaw in the Main Gallery until Feb. 27th

Tyler Payne- in the Vault until Jan. 30th

more info about all of these shows at Quirk's site here