Come September, JayJay, one of Sacramento’s most highly regarded galleries, will undergo a paradigm shift. When the gallery celebrates its 15th anniversary that month, JayJay will no longer present changing one- or two-person shows in a traditional “white box” space.
Attentive to the changing art scene both nationally – where auction houses, art fairs, and mega-galleries with numerous sites (such as the Gagosian chain) rule – and locally – where a variety of new art viewing formats, such as The Art Hotel, are popping up – co-directors Beth Jones and Lynda Jolley have decided to make a proactive move.
“In September,” Jones said, “we will move out of the gallery and into our annex with a group show that will feature new artists and new work by longtime JayJay artists. In our minds, this is a positive move that will allow us to address changes in our culture and stay current in how we present and promote our artists.”
JayJay’s annex, a large, high-ceilinged space across the parking lot from the current gallery on Elvas, has functioned as the gallery’s back room, filled with examples of works, both large and small, by gallery artists. Segueing into a new mode, the annex will become a showroom for all of the gallery’s artists all the time. Occasionally, it will be reconfigured to spotlight various artists, and JayJay will also present special events at the studios of artists it represents from time to time.
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You can get a feel for how the new JayJay will be by visiting “The Back Room II,” a group show in the soon-to-be-for-rent gallery main space. Drawn from works in the annex where the exhibition continues, the show grew out of “The Back Room Weekly,” an emailed essay, written by gallery assistant, Emily Johnson, that focuses in depth on one of the works in the annex’s inventory.
The show in the main gallery is, as always, handsomely installed, with each work given its due. Many of the works have appeared in previous one- or two-person shows at the gallery, but are worth viewing a second time.
Michael Stevens’ sculpture “Chop Suey,” a kind of teetering totem pole of stacked items such as a dog, a log cabin, a fish, a saw and several carrying cases, is a joy to see again, as is Ken Little’s “Big Red Buck,” a whimsical wall trophy in the form of a male deer made of shoes, belts and other leather goods.
It’s a pleasure to revisit David Wetzl’s colorful, dynamic, image-rich, shaped acrylic on wood piece “Evolution of S.C.I.P …”; Micheale Le Compte’s “Blush,” a bold color statement made up of crude rectangles and stripes of pure pigment; and a trio of Joan Moment’s ethereal, constellationlike abstractions on intense blue grounds.
There are a number of felicitous juxtapositions in the show. Roger Berry’s sinuous, looping bronze sculpture chimes nicely with Robin Hill’s untitled tangle of meandering lines done in oil stick on wax paper. Suzanne Adan’s recessive, yet rich, graphite drawing with collage and found objects goes nicely with Jack Nielsen’s “Burnished Faith,” a wood rectangle covered so densely with graphite it seems made of metal, a necklace made of the stubs of graphite stumps dangling from it.
Other works are eccentric individuals. Ian Harvey’s “No. 149” holds a wall all by itself, bursting, as Johnson wrote in her Back Room Weekly essay on it, “with free-flowing organic plasma” calling to mind “volcanic eruptions, floods and fires.”
Across the way in the annex, works hung salon-style range from a dynamic monumental abstraction by California State University, Sacramento, professor Tom Monteith to romantic, intimately scaled works by S.R. Jones in an eclectic display that keeps your eye moving from piece to piece. Classically modern sculptures by Berry and sardonic Mickey Mouse ceramics by Michael Sarich are arranged around the room amid racks and flat files filled with unframed works.
It remains to be seen if the transition to this space, which will function more like a retail space than a traditional gallery, will work for JayJay. One wishes Jones and Jolley the best with what may be a risky proposition.
The Back Room II
Where: JayJay, 5520 Elvas Ave., Sacramento
When: Through Saturday, April 23, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday
Information: 916-453-2999 JayJayart.com