Gavlak gallery is celebrating. In a perennially unstable art world, ten years in the business is certainly something. The gallery’s locations in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Hollywood, LA, are surveying the trajectory of its decade of work: an aesthetically and conceptually distinctive mix of sculpture, painting and photography that inculcates a dialogue with contemporary textile, ceramics, and feminist theory.
Founded by dealer Sarah Gavlak, Gavlak gallery has carved a place for leading female and LGBT artists, a commitment that Gavlak asserts. 'I’ve always gravitated to and supported women artists – that hasn’t changed in 10 years, and won’t change in 10 more years.'
In her bi-coastal spaces, this translates to representing artists including the late Bunny Yeager (whose photographs are included in the LA edition of the anniversary show), Betty Tompkins (known for her Sex Works and large-scale Pussy Paintings, also on view) and giving early shows to renowned artists such as Sheila Hicks, Marilyn Minter and Aleksandra Mir. A female figurehead in the art world herself, Sarah Gavlak’s attentive eye and singular curatorial approach has introduced many new names to the art market since 2005 – and has created a credible commercial platform for high quality art in Florida, where art audiences are known to fluctuate with the seasons.
So what have been Gavlak’s personal highlights over the years? 'There are so many exhibitions that I’m proud of! In Palm Beach in 2008 I did a show with T.J. Wilcox, Pae White, and Sheila Hicks. The show unfortunately did not get as much recognition as I would have liked, due to the market crash that same year. I also did a show with Marilyn Minter in Palm Beach in 2006.'
Having established herself on the balmy shores of the east coast, Gavlak opened her Hollywood outpost in 2014, just a stone’s throw from other pioneering female contemporary gallerists, including Hannah Hoffman and Shaun Regen, of Regen Projects. As well as joining a fleet of gallerists flooding to the West coast city from the East, being in Los Angeles has given Gavlak a chance to work with Californian artists, in a 10,000 ft space, and to enjoy the growing local culture and economy converging there.
'I’m particularly excited about the new artists I’m working with in Los Angeles. I'm working with many mid-career artists, such as Judie Bamber, Amy Bessone, Francesca Gabbiani, and Marnie Weber, which are all very important artists that I’m hoping to help gain international recognition. I’m also in love with the Rob Wynne works in both exhibitions,' she says.