A mainstay of the Easton art scene since 2001, South Street Art Gallery (located at 5 South Street) welcomes new owner Alan Brock. Following in the tradition of the two former owners, Patricia Spitaleri and Nancy Tankersley, Alan is also an artist and collector.
Creativity has always been featured in Alan’s life. An avid draftsman from age 6, he spent his early adolescence in Venezuela where he relished private classes in oil painting taught by a chain-smoking Ukranian immigrant art professor. It was around then he decided to become an architect, so Alan turned away from painting until about 10 years ago, when he bought all the necessary supplies but could not manage to restart. The breakthrough came in 2013 while studying with John Brandon Sills (2014 Grand Prize Winner of Plein Air Easton). Like all of Alan’s workshop instructors ever since, John Brandon Sills is represented in Alan’s collection today.
Alan has been seriously collecting art since 1986 and today owns about 200 pieces of original art made by living artists whose work he admires. Most are small to medium-sized oils depicting an array of subjects – from landscapes and marines to cityscapes, interiors, and still lifes – though some are works on paper, glass or textiles. In the February 2017 issue of Fine Art Connoisseur magazine, Alan was profiled as an important nationally recognized art collector.
Alan’s plan is to exhibit selected pieces from his personal collection while continuing to showcase the work of artists from the mid-Atlantic Region. Eminent artists who continue to be represented by the gallery include Sue deLearie Adair, Tim Bell, Lani Browning, Ed Cooper, Lisa Egeli, Hai-Ou Hou, Debra Howard, Sara Poly and Nancy Tankersley. Recently he has added painter Christopher Best and will be introducing new and emerging artists from time to time. He also has bronze, steel and wood works by sculptors Will Hemsley, Cheryl Langlais, Ted Morlock, Paul Rhymer, Mark Schwenk, David Stevens and Eric Tardiff.
Still a working architect, Alan spends his three days a week at the gallery since January this year learning the business and making plans to offer interesting shows. In July he is offering all juried Plein Air Easton artists (plus some invited others) the opportunity to compete in a People’s Choice Exhibit at the gallery. The public will be offered the chance to vote for their favorite artist and the winner will be announced during the Plein Air Easton event on Saturday, July 22 at a festive reception at the gallery. Alan states that he observed the public has limited opportunity to show appreciation for a favorite painting or artist during the festival other than by purchase and he thought this opportunity would be a fun addition to the event.
In August, South Street Art Gallery will premier the first in an ongoing series of shows called “Introducing!” These shows will feature new and emerging talent from the Mid-Atlantic region. In September, Stevensville artist Hai-Ou Hou will be featured in a show entitled “Seeing the West through Eastern Eyes.” Hai-Ou, who paints often in the southwest, will exhibit plein air and studio paintings from her travels to the Grand Canyon, Sedona and Zion National Park.
In October, an artist from Texas, whom Alan met at a show at a gallery in Annapolis that featured works from a plein air trip to Cuba, will be featured. Bruce Bingham will be exhibiting new figurative works “with an edge” as she explores our changing perceptions of the human figure.
Alan has been an important part of the Dorchester County Arts Center and he is looking forward to being equally involved in Talbot County. The demands of an art gallery on top of a busy schedule as an architect are not the only adjustment he has had to make. At 6’4”, Alan finds he has to remember to stoop when going through some of the small doorways in the Civil War era building. “Dad always called me ‘hard-headed’,” he says. “This has turned out to be a plus!” Still living in Cambridge, the artist/owner plans to eventually locate to Easton and reside in the gallery with his cat Louie.
Alan is optimistic about the body of work he exhibits in his gallery preferring to call it
“representational” or “figurative” because “realist” suggests “an almost photographic rendering, technically compelling but perhaps lacking soul.” He continues “I see today’s representational artists pushing the boundaries, experimenting with unique perspectives and techniques, where texture and movement are as important as subject.” Alan offers this advice to new collectors: “Do your homework, know what you can spend before you attend the show or opening and when your ‘gut’ tells you to act, then act!”
For now, the gallery is open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Alan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 410-770-8350. The gallery website remains www.southstreetartgallery.com.