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Arts / Galleries

Longtime Gallery Shutters, But a Painter On a Mission Steps In

Your New Micro Art Space?

BY // 04.13.16
photography Jenny Antill Clifton

Thanks to artist, curator, and director Mel DeWees, Colquitt Gallery Row is included in our roster of new dealers of importance. A graduate of The Cooper Union grad, DeWees, a painter, has taken over the former McMurtrey Gallery space. (Roni McMurtrey shuttered her respected gallery after 30-plus years to take a break and concentrate on fresh curatorial projects.)

While the back room is now DeWees’ studio, it merely pays the bills for the front space, which represents a hybrid type of endeavor: Although work is for sale, Gray Contemporary’s vision is more akin to a nonprofit or foundation. It’s not so much about representing a rotating roster of artists as presenting a conversation about abstraction, minimalism and the reductive beauty of an organic interplay of space, light, pigment and line.

DeWees recently shed nearly 15 artists that he exhibited at his previous space in a design center; he firmly believes less is more and intends to exhibit a stable of (a great) only eight or so going forward. With price points beginning around $1,000 for national and international artists with MFA degrees, this micro kunsthalle — and its refined, quiet aesthetic — is a good place for beginning to advanced collectors alike to shop.

Insider tip: Denver-based Theresa Anderson is a Gen-Y heir of the late Eva Hesse, evoking the powerful, yet understated tenets of feminist body art. For Texas collectors, mid-career Otis Jones’ minimalist pigments on canvas hold their own in the lineup. (Now about the name: This art space’s moniker does not reference the Menil’s signature hue — although DeWees once worked as an art handler and installed works there. The namesake is much closer to home: a beloved Shar-Pei who passed on.)

Gray Contemporary, 3508 Lake St., 713.862.4425, graycontemporary.com.

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Amber Cobb’s Graze, 2016, at Gray Contemporary. (Courtesy the artist and Gray Contemporary)

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