Throughout the month of January, Fountainhead Art Gallery on Queen Anne features selected new paintings by recent graduates of Seattle’s Gage Academy of Art Atelier programs.
Fountainhead Gallery opened in 1996 with an emphasis on representational art. They soon began issuing calls for artists to submit work for the still life, landscape and figure group shows they were scheduling at the time.
Many of the artists who submitted work were Gage instructors or students. Over time, the Gallery established a cooperative relationship with Gage Academy which eventually lead to scheduling multiple group shows of Gage Atelier graduates who Fountainhead felt were producing very high-quality work. The Gallery has added several Gage alumni and/or instructors to their list of artists they represent.
The current show is a juried exhibit highlighting work of 14 artists. Several of the participating artists shared that their decision to attend a Gage Atelier program was a life-changing event.
Nick Reisland, one of the featured artists, was an Emergency Room Physician for several decades, until he retired to follow his life-long dream of becoming a painter.
“Since seeing a Gerhard Richter exhibition in Chicago in 2002, I knew that I wanted to paint. The intensity of my job didn't allow that until I retired in 2014 and that's when we moved to Seattle. Though many artists are self-taught, I felt that it would be a good idea to inject some knowledge and discipline in my artistic strivings which, to me, meant going to art school. I chose Gage. I took a couple of introductory courses and then decided to enroll in an Atelier (40 hours per week for 3 years).
“I enjoyed my time at Gage, though it was difficult. Human figure and representation is emphasized in most of their courses. We had the opportunity to draw/paint from human models every afternoon in the "Life Room". Our director, Mark Kang-O'Higgins, was excellent and encouraged a more contemporary approach to figurative art.
“In 2014 I happened upon an ad for an exhibition at Fountainhead of paintings by a watercolor artist named Tom Hoffmann, who also happened to be a Gage faculty member. That was my discovery of this gallery. I very much like this gallery.
“I like many of the artists Fountainhead represents. I especially like the venue and it was great to meet the owners at last week's opening. Actually, I never really expected to be able to show my work in this gallery. Self-doubt is a major obstacle for many an artist. In fact, I had entered a show two years earlier but was rejected. So, this time I was surprised to be accepted.”
Aleksandra Saronjic, an artist in the Fountainhead Gallery show, writes:
I graduated three years ago from KOH Contemporary Atelier. In addition to receiving excellent practical knowledge and experience during my four years of studies, Gage Academy gave me a sense of belonging and a permanent membership to their art community.
An exhibition at Fountainhead Gallery, a prominent art gallery in Seattle, presented an opportunity to show our latest works to a broader audience. It is wonderful to be part of the Gage Academy alumni community, and have their support after graduation, at this early stage of our careers. I have two paintings in this show. “Everything Changes” and “Restlessness”.
Stephen Galey, a retired architect noted that when the Pandemic hit Seattle in 2020, Gage Academy was forced to temporarily shut down all its programs. That was just the time when Stephen had contemplated becoming a student at Gage, so his dream was delayed until Gage reopened.
“Fortunately, all of the painters and models were masked, and no one contracted Covid-19,” he said. “It was a great way to spend the pandemic!”
He added that that the instructor emphasized the importance “to tell stories which have the ability to touch people. That is exactly what I wanted to do.”
The Gallery founders/owners, Sue and Ron Peterson commented: “We highly value our long-established relationship with Gage Academy's founders, staff and students and look forward to continuing this collaboration far into the future.”
A total of 23 paintings and drawings are on display until Jan. 28. Admission is free and all are available for sale through Fountainhead Gallery at 625 W. McGraw St, Seattle, and fountainheadgallery.com.