>re.view< Victory Gallery
AHEAD OF THE MARKET: A LOOK AT VICTORY GALLERY
by Jonny Boys
Portland's Victory Gallery is a breath of fresh air in town. Owner, Jane Wood, has a vision to showcase some of the top performing emerging artists from Europe which is completely different from the trend around town.
Wood grew up in San Francisco but spent almost every summer visiting her grandparents in New York. Her grandmother was an antiques dealer who sometimes dealt in art as well. So she would find herself sitting in art auctions, sifting through antiques and visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, all of which had a huge impact on her at that young age.
She moved to Portland ten years ago after finishing art school in LA at Otis College of Art and Design. She was pregnant with her son at the time and decided she wanted to be in a place where she could afford to buy a house someday, where she could make a living as an artist and be close to her Mom. She said Portland is similar in layout to San Francisco so it really felt like home, even though it's a small town in comparison.
Wood spent the past eight years working in the corporate world, but felt like she didn't have time to spend with her son because of the crazy hours. So one day she just woke up and didn't go into work. She had just bought her first house and was renovating it. She knew it was risky because the economy was just starting to slide. During her transition into being an art dealer
she worked for Blue Sky and P:EAR Mentor.
Her husband, Aric, who runs a creative company really encouraged her to open her own gallery. Aric had an office in Amsterdam, and Jane would travel with him and began to visit artists in their studios. She has been to every artist's studio, with the exception of one, who she represents now.
The first artist whose work she was really attracted to was Gijs van Lith from the Netherlands. She said his works have similar qualities to Gerhard Richter. So she thought that she would start a non profit and bring the artists over to the States with the help of grants. Grants in the non profit art sector have dried up in recent years since the decline of the economy. She and Aric had been looking at their current space for a year, trying to decide if they should take it on as an investment opportunity or perhaps an extra office for him. Then he asked her “Well what about a gallery, why don't you just do it?” She was reluctant at first because she thought they should wait out the economy. But the timing was right. PNCA is moving their offices to the same street they are on and some other buildings have been bought so the area is on the verge of a boom.
Because she does not take submissions to the gallery, Wood goes out and finds her artists. Which means she does all the work researching which emerging artists have been making a
name for themselves in Europe. They are early to mid career artists that are just starting to break into the US art market. Van Lith is now showing work in New York, and it is her hopes that
collectors from the Pacific Northwest take notice and purchase his works. “I think in a couple of years they will be so thankful, because [currently] he is big everywhere but here.” She is
hoping to get ahead of the market trends with her artists. About half of her artists have had their first show in the US at Victory Gallery.
The gallery's new series of shows coincides with Zeitgeist Northwest, a non profit that focuses on bringing people together to celebrate modern German culture, the language and its arts.
In April she is showing the works of Britta Bogers; May brings Jost Munster's work to Portland; and June brings Martin Mohr's works to the space. She is hosting a series of lectures as well
that go with each exhibit. Her ultimate goal is to raise awareness in Portland, “-to the importance of international art,” in our city.
Victory Gallery is a vision that embraces globally recognized artists and brings them to Portland. As a result we are very excited to see the progressive collectors in the Pacific Northwest taking notice in these exceptional works.