The Heights is known for being art-friendly, yet fine art galleries are a surprising rarity despite the often-overused moniker by marketers to the contrary. So when word of a new gallery started making the artist circles, I was listening and anxiously awaiting the big announcement.
Good things come to those that wait!
Welcome, Jack Rabbit Gallery to the Heights on Friday, May 31. The grand opening will be hosted by gallery founders James and Jodi Grogan of Houston. The event is scheduled from 6-9 p.m. in the newly restored 2,000 square foot warehouse at 228 E. 27th St.
The opening exhibition was curated by Hali Grogan, Jack Rabbit Gallery’s managing director, who studied at Art Students League of NY. And yes, Hali is the daughter of James and Jodi (this is a family business!)
“We saw a need for a different kind of art gallery, a gallery that appeals to buyers with diverse tastes and budgets,” Hali Grogan said. “With more than 2,000 square feet of indoor gallery space, an outdoor garden and natural light throughout the gallery, we have a unique space to showcase the finest artwork.”
The opening exhibit will feature approximately 100 works by more than 15 artists, including Mark Whitmarsh, whose physical use of color and texture is as much an art form as the subject matter depicted; Spoon, whose minimalist figures have the feel of a dot matrix; Jerry Bergin of Oklahoma, who brings his urban western art; and Lisa Cunningham, whose painterly pastels depict ordinary people enjoying life.
The exhibit also includes works by leading Houston artists, including Leslie Gaworecki, known for her whimsical use of color; Chris Turner, whose abstract paintings reflect his view of the natural world; Jeanne Jones, whose flower and nature paintings challenge painterly norms with their flatness; Nikkie Markle, who uses bold colors to depict animals, landscapes and figures; and David Bates, who uses photography to capture the innate humor of cattle.
Three artists I know will also be featured at the opening night exhibit. The first two have been featured in this column: Steve Ulrich, who handcrafts metal and wood furnishings, and illustrator Jill Hakala, who calls her work a combination of science and the abstract. Markle burst onto the art scene just over a year ago, and I’m happy she’s part of the Jack Rabbit Gallery artists. She has an amazing eye for color.
“My work combines the freedom of abstract art and the use of bold colors and brushstrokes to imbue each painting with beauty, energy, and motion,” Markle said in her artist statement.
The Jack Rabbit Gallery opening coincides with the launch of www.jackrabbitgallery.com, the gallery’s e-commerce website that offers online pricing and purchasing features to make art collecting transparent, user-friendly and less intimidating. The gallery also makes framing, art advisory and event rental services available to clients.
After the May 31 grand opening, Jack Rabbit Gallery will be open Tuesday-Sunday. For more details, visit jackrabbitgallery.com.
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at ArtValet.com.