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October 2, 2009
By Natalie Savidge
Art students and gallery owners embark on a new venture together this month with the opening of a special art exhibit, “Emerging Artists,” at the Stremmel Gallery.
Turkey Stremmel and husband Peter founded the fine art gallery in 1969, specializing in contemporary paintings, drawings and sculpture by mid-career and established American and European artists. So, the University of Nevada, Reno students featured in the exhibit -- some who have just begun to build portfolios and resumes -- don’t quite fit the gallery’s profile.
“We, in the department, are all slightly shell-shocked,” said University Art Professor, student advisor and former Regent, Howard Rosenberg. “We've been told that our students are doing work that is better than a lot of work seen all over the country. But, when something like this happens, and a major gallery is willing to curate and mount an exhibit of student work, that is really something and legitimizes what we've been told.”
After a visit with Rosenberg and a tour of students’ work in the University’s Sheppard Fine Art Gallery, Turkey Stremmel had the idea to showcase all the work she saw in a group show at her own gallery.
“That’s what’s exciting about this,” Stremmel said. “It’s all new, fresh work. The students are all artistically talented, and each one is unique. Many have already started working with galleries, but it’s important to go over things of which they must be aware as they become exhibiting artists.”
Rosenberg joined his 17 chosen students at the Stremmel Gallery two weeks before the exhibit’s debut. They sat in the gallery’s main lobby intently listening as Turkey gave professional tips and advice.
She talked to the students about knowing and pitching artwork to galleries, building a portfolio, knowing the role of the gallery, understanding the role as an artist, and what to expect the night of an opening reception.
“This is like having Sotherby's or Christie's teaching our kids what and how,” Rosenberg said.
“We had a rare opportunity where the gallery owner Turkey Stremmel spent time with the artists and generously shared invaluable information about the inner-workings of the gallery business,” said student artist Jane Kenoyer. “I have learned so much in such a short period of time.”
Stremmel said that during the show, she hopes to “sell the whole thing.”
“The neatest thing is that two of the kids' pieces have already been sold and they weren't even up on the wall yet,” Rosenberg said. “They’d just come back from being framed and clients took one look and snapped them up. Talk about excitement, not to mention the red dots indicating a sale.”
An example of an emerging artist
Jane Kenoyer is one of the “Emerging Artist” featured exhibitors. She is in the University’s bachelor of fine arts program and studying painting with Associate Art Professor Mike Sarich.
“I was overjoyed when I found out that my work would be in such a prestigious gallery,” she said. “It is a rare honor to be represented at the Stremmel Gallery in this show. It has only come together through the passionate involvement of UNR faculty members such as Howard Rosenberg and Michael Sarich. I think that this opportunity came because our faculty has always pushed us to take our work seriously so that others might as well. We have been working very hard in the art department and there were a lot of works for the Stremmels to choose from.”
Kenoyer’s recent works are of highly detailed portraits in oils on panel and canvas. She says that she is inspired by the essence of her great grandmother Pearl Rogers.
“I am interested in exploring idealization, oral tradition and identity,” she said. “I incorporate different elements of Pearl’s legendary story into each painting. A parallel between Pearl’s life and my work, for example, is that she had six tattoos in the 1920s and I incorporate tattoos into my portraits.”
Kenoyer explained that her great grandmother participated in Vaudeville, and many of her performances were in or around the ocean. She found that the ocean’s horizon line is something they have both encountered.
“This beautiful yet unattainable element reoccurs in all of my work.”
Kenoyer spent a few months interning in Seattle a year ago at the Roq La Rue Gallery and has recently shown work at the Sierra Arts Gallery and the Sheppard Fine Art Gallery.
“What I can say is that galleries can be as unique as the artists in them and that no two galleries are alike,” she said. “This experience has brought me new friendships and new-found confidence, and is a great opportunity to explore our community outside of the academic setting.”
About the show
From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Oct. 1, Stremmel Gallery hosted an opening reception for the students from the University’s art department. This exhibition will continue through Oct. 15.
The artists include Nick Bonaldi, Bryan Christiansen, Ashlea Clark, Jeff Erickson, Jon Farber, Aby Henry, Ahren Hertel, Harmony Hilderbrand, Richard Jackson, Jane Kenoyer, Seth Mach, Justin Manfredi, Dominique Palladino, Jeremy Stern, Patrick Szucs, Melissa Test and Ashley Westwood.
Their work shows the interdisciplinary nature of the University’s art program, with students not being bound by a single discipline or particular medium. Students explore new possibilities in the search for the most effective visual format for the expression of their ideas. They redefine boundaries of traditional media to incorporate a wide range of materials, using ideas from art history, theory, criticism and other academic disciplines.
Stremmel Gallery is located at 1400 S. Virginia St. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Located in an architecturally award-winning building, Stremmel Gallery offers a full range of client services, including conservation framing, restoration of paintings, and resale or direct purchase of single pieces or entire collections of important contemporary and modern work.
Natalie Savidge is a media specialist for the University’s Media Relations office