The Kiernan Gallery is thrilled to have Jason Landry jury our upcoming exhibition, Still Life: The Art of Arrangement. We asked him a few questions about his gallery and work:
As owner of Panopticon Gallery, you curate a fair amount of group exhibitions with interesting and diverse themes. How do you think that impacts your approach as a juror for this type of exhibition where you are not seeking out artists, but rather looking through submitted work?
I've spent years looking at work, not only from the perspective of a gallery owner, but also as an avid collector and photographer. It doesn't matter whether it is a portfolio review event, jurying an exhibition, or just meeting with a young student photographer, I love looking at new work and seeing what inspires others to create photographs.
What is it that you look for when contacted by artists looking for representation?
I'm looking for something that will WOW and surprise me. I love to see something new or an innovative approach to something old. For instance, I met one photographer who likes to apply film positives to old toy blocks and objects, and recently I met a couple from Finland who are creating contemporary cabinet cards. In both instances, as soon as I saw them I wanted them, not only for my gallery, but for my collection.
What is your pet peeve when an artist contacts you looking for representation?
My number one pet peeve is when they show up at the gallery unannounced, circle around looking at the show but act like a shark waiting for the appropriate moment to tell me that they are a photographer and can I look at their portfolio right now. Please don't do this. Email me first with a link to your website or 2-3 small JPGS. If I like them, you will hear from me.
You acquired Panopticon a few years ago. What made you want to take over an established gallery built with a specific vision vs. starting your own? Have you felt an obligation to keep with the gallery’s original mission or have you taken the reins, so to speak?
I was working at the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University for a few years as a way to gain some experience in the fine art world. I had been working on a business plan for about five years, knowing that I wanted to open a photography gallery. The executive director at the PRC told me, “When the time is right, you will know”. As luck would have it, the former owner of Panopticon Gallery had reached out to the executive director of the PRC asking him if he knew anyone interested in acquiring a gallery. He told him to speak with me. After one lunch meeting, the deal was done.
As for vision, the former owner knew that I was interested in creating my own path and stable of artists. Some of his artists stayed on board, but for the most part I have gone out and tracked down talented artists that I wanted to work with.
How has your experience in art business influenced you as an artist?
Well, I wish I could say that I was doing more art myself, but I just haven't found the time. My time now is living vicariously through the successes of my artists, and I'm pretty OK with that.
The deadline for submission to Still Life: The Art of Arrangement is August 20, 2012. Be sure to view the exhibition on kiernangallery.com opening on October 3, 2012.