Now Showing: Ivar Zeile and Rebecca Peebles
For this year's Now Showing, Westword's fall arts guide, we asked artistic movers and shakers to answer a few questions about the state of the arts, both locally and around the world. We'll be rolling out their answers over the next few weeks in pairs that combine both veterans and newcomers in similar disciplines. Today, we hear from independent gallerists Ivar Zeile and Rebecca Peebles.
Facebook.com/DenverDigerati Denver Digerati compadres Chris Coleman, Alex McMango, Ivar Zeile and Ryan Pattie.
Ivar Zeile's Plus Gallery has evolved through a few guises over the last ten or more years into one of Denver's plum galleries, where art both collectable and adventurous draws continuing crowds to view work by local and national artists. With a stable that includes such hot emerging names as Jenny Morgan and Xi Zhang, Zeile not only champions work with depth, but also pushes parameters. More recently, he's curated Friday Flash public digital-art and video programs with Ryan Pattie for the Denver Theatre District, opening up a whole new level of interest locally.
What do you think of recent developments in your field, and the current scene?
The field of visual arts has expanded like wildfire in the last several years. On the surface that looks like a very positive thing, but my sense is that its all very overwhelming for a community like Denver's and brings with it a lot more questions than answers. Namely, is there genuine patron support behind the upswing? Can the media possibly cover it all in a meaningful way? A lot of great talent with depth has been brewing in Denver over the last decade or more, but trying to maintain quality and high standards is still a major challenge.
What could be done to improve the scene?
Numerous individuals and operations within the visual-art scene could stand to be more professional and respectful in their approach to others. Leaders, whether business or community, could have a more honest, concrete understanding of what allows an art scene to thrive, what patronage is, and a desire to be a part of getting it there. Artists could also be more thoughtful in how the "network" is structured and their role within it. Collectors could do a lot to improve the scene simply by "buying in" and continuing to support artists as they mature. Price-point and demand seem to be a major factors in why the best artists choose to leave the city for higher ground. Young professionals could possibly stand to take a few art-appreciation classes, that's for sure. Overall, everyone could broaden their thinking and understanding of what makes a scene function well. There's not a single component that bears the brunt; there are really so many important "tipping" points that need to be reached. Oh, and eliminating the mountains and natural beauty of the state would help, as would getting rid of the Internet and cell phones, lowering gas prices and having a system of government that everyone believes in.
Who/what has inspired you most in your career?
The people who have given me authentic long-term support -- those who have made the transition from being interested in art to being patrons and have started to understand the real nature of what that means, particularly as it relates to artists' careers, the livelihood of the gallery and Denver's image as a place where great art can be nurtured. Quite a number of artists that I've worked with, I don't think would have lasted more than a few years if it wasn't for their talent, understanding and human decency that has gone well above and beyond the norm. My wife -- boy, what she has put up with. And my kid, who just told his first-grade class that he wants to be an "art dealer" when he grows up!
Who/what will you be watching for this arts season?
We just opened an outstanding exhibition by Allie Pohl, one of the smartest, young artists anywhere right now; she is moving forward by leaps and bounds on the national level. Jenny Morgan is still on track to become one of the greatest artists ever to come out of Denver; her major NYC debut occurs in October and was just touted as one of top 100 shows worldwide of the fall season by Modern Painters, quite deservedly so. Xi Zhang is also ready to expand his base outside of Colorado. I think the world is ready to open up to his remarkable talent based on the inquiries we've received from both galleries and collectors this year. I look forward to further growth and interest in my community project Denver Digerati, a major focus of my efforts lately. I really can't sleep at night half the time due to the ideas percolating because of it. And Milton Melvin Croissant III: Keep an eye on that great name. He's blown my mind for the last couple of years now, and I would expect this Denver original to continue doing so.
Learn more about Plus Gallery online.
Continue reading for our interview with Rebecca Peebles.