Larchmont Village is the main shopping district for the wealthy Hancock Park and Windsor Square districts south of Beverly Blvd. between La Brea and Western, featuring boutiques, restaurants, shops, including one the best beauty supply stores in L.A., as well as a celebrity-populated yoga studio. Now an art gallery has opened on the street, one which brings an innovative, yet classical way to view art. Instead of the traditional “white cube,” Art Salon owner Marcie Bronkar, a professional designer, created an art gallery that provides a sense of how art might look in one’s own home. Bronkar repurposed her interior design studio into a gallery with sisal flooring and wallpaper she designed herself that is framed out in panels. Large movable demi-wall dividers break up the room into a variety of sizes and shaping allowing for a large emphasis piece or for a cluster of smaller works.
Gallery purists may think hanging works on wallpaper rather than white walls as blasphemy, and opening a small space is contrary to the art trend of warehouse-sized galleries that are popping up like gargantuan mushrooms. Bronkar has created space that is welcoming and warm while still providing respect for the art. Bronkar also provides a way for the client to make sure they are happy with the art: Clients can rent a piece or take it on loan to see how it works in their home.
For Art Salon’s opening, Bronkar showed Elizabeth Tucker and her own work (Bronkar painters under her maiden name Vesel). Tucker’s work focuses on landscape and still lifes, and some of her pieces, were painted as poster studies, with a color study included. A case the gallery’s entrance displayed Tucker’s sketches, giving insight into her work. Vesel’s work is abstract expressionism, colors shading into each other, their modernism contrasting, yet working, with with the wallpaper. I had some questions for Bronkar about opening a gallery, her approach to showing work, and her painting.
What made you decide to open a gallery?
The decision to open a gallery was easy. It’s something I always wanted to do since growing up in NY. When or where was another story.
I’ve watched the art scene grow and evolve since arriving in LA over a decade ago and have found a diverse audience in need of a wider variety of installations and mediums. Although a modernist and abstract expressionist at heart I feel a protector of the painterly hand and preservation of the traditional visual arts. I suppose one’s roots always surface. The decision to open my art salon I felt was my responsibility at this stage of my career.
What styles of painting will you be focusing on?
The ” styles ” of painting , photography , printing making and sculpture I will focus on on simply works that strike me, hit home, express genuine creative merit, and look fabulous to me. I’m particularly fond of works in progress and respect the process of a body of work. A continuity of hand, color and theme.
What have been some of the challenges of opening a gallery?
The challenges are before me. No challenges as yet. I have been involved in the art community all my life as a designer and artist so am honored and confident in the selection, representation and curating of art shows. The main challenge is to isolate our audience, make ourselves known and respected and offer sterling customer service to a saturated art market.
Will you be holding lectures and discussions as well?
How far out have you planned exhibitions–through the end of the year? For a year?
Early fall we are preparing for a exhibition of larger abstract landscapes and vibrant shots of color. We have an important exhibition of black & white photography being curated at this time.
Bonkar is particularly excited about the winter show launching a selection of students from her beloved institution: The Art Students League of New York, the first time these artists will have an opportunity to be viewed of the West Coast. Exhibitions are planned out through the winter show in January through March. Artists have submitted works that could easily carry ART Salon through the next two years; however, she is open to submissions. Her fall show, featuring photographs by Franco Vogt, opens September 14
128 1/2 S. Larchmont Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90004323-963-5224
Open Thursday and Friday, 5pm to 9pm; Saturday, 11am-5pm; Sunday 11am-2pm