Darke Gallery is closing. Ratio, a group show featuring Jonathan Clark, Tara Conley, Allison Hunter, Catherine Colangelo, Heath Brodie, Nicholas Auger and Sophie Clyde, is the their last. It opens this Friday.
Allison Hunter, still from Honey Bee, 2011, 3D stereoscopic color video with sound, RT 7.5 min
Darke Gallery is closing because gallery owner Linda Darke is having serious health problems which will require two surgeries and lengthy recovery time. She told me, "I wanted to make it clear that the gallery was for the most part a great
experience. And that I wasn't closing because it is too hard to make a
commercial gallery operate at a profit in Houston."
Kathryn Kelley's sculpture outside Darke Gallery
Darke Gallery opened in 2007. It's in a strange location, pretty far from all the other galleries in town. When I started going there, there was a big empty lot across the street that made parking easy. But their neighborhood, Rice Military, has been built up so quickly that empty lots don't last. Parking was a bit of a pain after they filled that lot with townhouses.
Darke Gallery was fairly adventurous for a commercial gallery. "I very much enjoyed being able to create the artist in residence
program. It gave me the chance to put on wonderful exhibitions for
Emily Sloan, Kathy Kelley, Joshua Goode and other artists whose work
would not normally be shown in commercial spaces," Darke said. (Most of the photos here are from Kathryn Kelley's show in 2011, which featured an amazing installation. There are few other galleries in town that would exhibit an installation like that.) As a gallery goer, I appreciated Darke Gallery's willingness to take this kind of risk.
Kathryn Kelley wall pieces
By my count, The Great God Pan Is Dead wrote about 11 Darke Gallery shows starting in October 2009, shortly after the blog began. I think my favorite pieces were Dean Liscum's review of Baby Ruth in a Swimming Pool by Emily Sloan and my piece on John Adelman.
Kathryn Kelley installation
I also bought work at Darke Gallery--a wonderful drawing by Rabéa Ballin and a photo printed on fleece by Magsamen + Hillerbrand.
Kathryn Kelley installation
That's Linda, seen from inside a Kathryn Kelley installation. She intends to stick around--"I will continue to be involved in the Houston art scene, once I get this
medical stuff resolved I am going to plan my come back. I may reopen Darke Gallery in a new space, focus on art fairs or pop up exhibitions.
As I said in my note, the art scene is changing so fast, I think there
are a lot of exciting possibilities. And we have an apartment in NYC so
we'll be able to spend more time there. (I threw that in so that you
can't feel sorry for me!)" I already look forward to her triumphant return.