Art galleries provide carefully managed environments where works of art are displayed to their best advantage with the aim of attracting those of us who are interested in experiencing art.
In this way, a valuable opportunity is presented to both the artists and art buyers alike.
Naturally, galleries need to maximise their sales potential and must be carefully selective of the artists they invite to exhibit and the curating of their work. Therefore, most of the time, it is only the well-established names or internationally renowned artists who get their work on show.
This seems perfectly fair, after all, it is the gallery owner who has made the investment and who is running the business. This also places them in the position of making quality judgments based on their individual perception and possibly even selecting work for a particular discipline or niche of art. The question of quality is always subjective.
Unfortunately, this does leave the “if I can’t get exposure, how can I build a reputation” dilemma for many local artists whose work may well be of great interest.
Fortunately, this situation is being turned into an advantage by many dedicated artists throughout the Algarve who have decided that if there are no opportunities to show in galleries, then we will create our own.
The result has been the formation of art groups, small collectives, or groups of friends banding together and presenting themselves to wherever and whoever has wall space available. This is turning restaurants, bars, town halls, wineries and other interesting places into exhibition venues and, in doing so, a diverse “art scene” is being created. This type of self-initiative means that artists of all “perceived” levels are getting exposure and creating a chance to sell their work.
One such collective, ARTLINK, saw such an opportunity to do just this and have recently formed an interesting collaboration that has the potential of being a genuine win-win situation.
Papelaria Arco Íris is a newly-opened art and office supply store at the Sudoeste Retail Park in Alcantarilha that is providing a much-needed outlet in the central Algarve. In their modern and spacious store, you will find a well-stocked range of quality brands of essential art materials.
However, there was one particular space within the store that attracted attention. At the back of the store, a stairway leads to an open mezzanine floor that is being used for displaying easels, trestles and drawing boards. With its excellent light fittings in place, all that was needed was a picture hanging system to convert this area into a great space to display art.
The next initiative of the collective was to give the space an identity and the translation of the “spectrum” of the visible colour range, implied by the store’s name “rainbow”, gave birth to the name Galeria Espectro.
Some of the work of the collective’s principal artists is already on display with the addition of guest artists joining them in December. However, the longer-term plan is to reduce their own presence and give space for new artists to exhibit on a monthly basis. In return for offering this space, the store’s management clearly sees the potential of the gallery attracting people to visit the store and to become regular customers.
Putting this consideration to one side, it is clear that this collaboration is bound to attract artists and this, in its own way, will hopefully inspire others to get creative themselves.
A meet the artists’ session is planned for Sunday, December 4, from 4pm to 7pm at the gallery. Information regarding featured artists and their work will be regularly posted on ARTLINK Instagram page.
By BOB TIDY
Bob Tidy is a photographer and digital artist living in Faro. He produces multi-layered computer images from his own photography with added digital painting techniques.