The names we use matter.
The granting of a new identity often represents an about-face, a shift and a value for a person or an institution. On other occasions, a new name allows us to call something what it once was, lending sufficient language to describe reality.
This type of change seems more precise in the case of Sager Reeves Gallery. Last month, the Walnut Street venue, formerly known as Sager Braudis Gallery, announced a new name and chapter. Long-time gallery manager Hannah Reeves took on co-ownership, taking her place as a full partner alongside founding owner Joel Sager.
The announcement also gave voice and definition to a strong partnership that exists between Sager and Reeves. Their work dynamics and complementary vision have made the gallery a unique landmark in the artistic landscape of Columbia.
“We have… a very left and right thing – we’re very intuitive with each other,” Sager said, describing his relationship with Reeves.
The gallery thrives by creating a unity between artists and eras. Monthly exhibitions feature works by local, regional and national creators, while rotating exhibitions highlight the importance of mid-century artists, especially those overlooked by the history of art as it has been written until ‘now, said Sager.
Reeves held a 15% stake in the gallery prior to last month’s announcement, she said. Before taking on a different level of responsibility – and bringing her name to the fore – she sought assurance that her functional partnership with Sager would remain largely unchanged.
In her role as a director, Reeves appreciates the ability to engage audiences and engage in a substantial level of writing and research on featured artists. She didn’t want to give up the tasks she loved.
“That’s what we decide it is,” she said of her role, summing up conversations with Sager.
The couple’s relationship, as they describe it, is based on great similarities and subtle and meaningful ways of influencing each other. Sager and Reeves are both active artists. He paints melancholy Midwestern scenes and slightly crooked portraits – with occasional turns to abstraction – often characterized by their use of light, dark and resulting gray; she pays considerable attention to work in front of the fiber which takes into account the effects of time, touch and memory.
As part of a shared creative activity, curating and organizing exhibitions with designer Jonny Pez, Sager and Reeves are constantly looking for new ways to organize everyday chaos to provide viewers with a seamless experience.
“We’re artists and we surround ourselves with spectacular art – and that’s huge,” Reeves said. “… So the little thing is behind the scenes is that we’re nerds. We’re both really organized people looking for efficiency. That’s why it looks like a tight ship. . “
The duo also developed a common voice, featuring long-running written comments on the featured artists via social media and other public avenues. The ability to continue and refine those conversations in a shared document reflects the nature of their bond, they said.
Sager values the freedom to float concepts by Reeves without fear of appearing or being judged as stupid; editing and being edited by someone else is a special leap of faith, added Reeves.
To share the most personal work of your life – creating art and writing – with others, you have to “build the kind of trust that makes you feel good,” Reeves said. Reaching this level of vulnerability is rare, she added.
When Sager acquired the space – originally known as PS: Gallery – from former owners Jennifer Perlow and Chris Stevens, he fully identified himself as an art creator. He preferred to create in solitude and possessed a certain level of skepticism, he said, but believed it was crucial to move the work of the gallery forward.
From now on, he wants to be fully an artist, fully a gallery owner. He and Reeves have claimed that their position as active artists fuels a passion to speak with and on behalf of other creators.
“There is a real pinch element about myself. I do what I absolutely love every day,” Sager said.
And identifying and collaborating with friends like Reeves and Pez didn’t make small changes.
“It gives me a feeling of faith in humanity,” he said.
Together, they hope to present a balanced composition – the quality of their presentation and personalized connections in harmony.
“Every business is a relationship,” Sager said. “There’s a lot of snobbery in the art world. Despite that, we’ve come to flourish every relationship with that Midwestern friendliness – but also showing that we know where our expertise lies and what we do. can bring to the conversation. “
Sager Reeves will end his 2021 program with an exhibition in November, followed by his annual Masters Exhibition in December. 2022 is reserved for both exhibitions and sponsorships, Sager said; and the gallery is in the early stages of a new charge, representing estates of artists and art collectors, he added.
Learn more about the gallery and its upcoming exhibitions at https://sagerreevesgallery.com/.
Aarik Danielsen is the News and Culture Editor for the Tribune. Contact him at [email protected] or by calling 573-815-1731.