ashland.news
July 18, 2024

Talent Gallery opening in historic Malmgren Garage space

The team of Talent Gallery artists takes a break fro another kind of painting after putting a coat of primer on the new walls of the freshly restored Malmgren Garage building in Talent. From left are Martin Steele, Kat McIver, Jessica Janeway, Ron Hodgdon and Stanley Smith. A grand opening of the gallery is set for Friday. Art Van Kraft photo for Ashland.news
June 26, 2024

Grand opening celebration set for Friday, June 28

By Art Van Kraft for Ashland.news

A new art gallery that has risen from the ashes of the burned-out Malmgren Garage in downtown Talent celebrates with a grand opening Friday, June 28. The building fell victim to the 2020 Almeda Fire and, after four years of permits and construction, was finally ready for a tenant.

The Talent Gallery was born from an idea hatched by Ron Hodgdon and Bruce Bayard. Hodgdon explained that the two artists were having coffee at Café Soleil in downtown Talent. Bayard suggested that the newly restored building might make a good gallery. The two men agreed on moving forward, then started reaching out to other artists. Ashland artist Julia Janeway was one who joined.  

“It’s been very moving to be part of the reconstruction of Talent after the fires,” Janeway said. 

The 98-year-old Malmgren Garage building in downtown Talent was among more than 150 businesses destroyed by the September 2020 Almeda Fire. Photo furnished by Bonnie K. Morgan
The restored Malmgren Garage in June 2024. Art Van Kraft photo for Ashland.news
An untitled ceramic plate by Julia Janeway.

“I call the project a rebirth. I truly see that a renaissance is starting in our valley and part of that flourishing are the connections we are making between our small towns. The Talent Gallery plans to have a great liaison with Ashland, drawing residents and visitors to events, artist’s talks, special shows, wine and bike tours,” Janeway said. 

Janeway is a ceramic artist who has been working in clay since 2005, and is currently expanding her work into illustration. She has lived in Ashland since 1999 and was a longtime contributing artist at Hanson Howard Gallery. 

“It’s hard to explain how special this is, it’s not just a business opportunity of a group opening a gallery. In a larger sense it’s due to a general feeling of the recovery of the valley and the effort to make something of quality,” she said.

Martin Steele is a digital artist and was recently awarded a Haines & Friends Visual Arts Grant for artistic creations he calls electronic painting. He uses multiple sources for images to create a unique work of art, one that he says transcends the original images. 

An untitled oil on canvas (70×122-1/2″) by Martin Steele, one of the 10 founding owner-artists at the Talent Gallery.

“I have always loved the term ‘snapshot,’ as it perfectly captures the idea of what happens in a photograph, the frozen instants, shards of time captured by our cameras. My work draws from my extensive archive of photographic images. In a practice I refer to as searching the dig for relics,” Steele said.    

Bruce Bayard is a multi-disciplinary artist who paints and uses photography in unique ways.

“I use photos to capture photographs of the world around me — the resulting images usually disappoint compared to reality, so, instead of manipulating those images to gain some sort of ideal, I digitally collage diverse and unrelated elements that create a mystery all of its own,” Bayard said.

Bayard also paints model train boxcars and transforms then into in highly original artworks. 

“The Fishy Origin of Dreams” by Stanley Smith, one of 22 images from his series “Singularities.”

Stanley Smith is a photographer who has created a unique style as a composite photography. He is a former member of the Ashland Arts Commission, and was photography curator for the Getty Museum. He currently owns Art Authority in Ashland. 

The deets
The Talent Gallery celebrates its grand opening from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 28, in the Malmgren Garage at 111 Talent Ave., Suite B
The 10 founding artist-owners are: Bruce Bayard, Ron Hodgdon,
Julia Janeway, Denise Kester, Robert Koch, Dave Leibowitz, Don Litchfield, Kat McIver, Stanley Smith and Martin Steele

“While technically I can still be described as a photographer, my work over the past few decades has strayed from traditional photographic approaches. I like walking around with a camera looking for interesting scenes to frame and capture with my camera. These days my ideas are generated up front in my noggin. I then create, gather, and composite photographs, sometimes thousands, to realize my idea,” Smith said. 

Hodgdon started as an illustrator in Chicago and moved Ashland to start a design business. He creates elaborate design in rich colors and shapes. 

“My medium is all over the place. I do highly detailed pencil work and digital designs,” Hodgdon said.  

Kat McIver is a sculptor, who used to be part of the Ashland Art Center

“It’s taken four years for the owners of the building to bring it back from damage during the Alameda fire and it feels like this gallery is the flower coming of all of that work. It’s very moving to be part of the reconstruction of Talent,” McIver said. “My artwork comes through my body and into my hands as I work. The pieces have to do with my own self-healing, and through that I hope to connect to the viewer. I try to hold the qualities of the heart center — compassion, innate harmony, healing presence, and unconditional love in my work and in my life.”

Art Van Kraft is an artist living in Ashland and a former broadcast journalist and news director of a Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate. Email him at artukraft@msn.com.

Picture of Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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