Art: Cherry and Martin Gallery
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Until last year the Cherry and Martin gallery was a bit of a local secret in Los Angeles. Much better known in Europe due to its participation in a host of European art fairs, the gallery’s 2009 move to the Culver City Art District has made art-loving Angelenos aware of its diverse contemporary program. I sat down with Mary Leigh Cherry to discuss the gallery’s past, present and promising future.
DENNIS SCHOLL: Tell me about how you and your cofounder in the gallery, Philip Martin, got together.
MARY LEIGH CHERRY: I had been running a contemporary-art project space with my now husband for almost five years, and I really wanted to open a gallery. Philip Martin worked in commercial galleries in New Orleans and Los Angeles and was also looking to start a gallery. We began to talk, and after a lot of discussion, we decided to form Cherry and Martin. We are almost in our fifth year now.
DS: How has your move from Mar Vista to La Cienega Boulevard in the Culver City Art District impacted the gallery?
MLC: Our new space has given us instant visibility. We are across the street from Blum & Poe and close to Honor Fraser and Suzanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, along with about 30 other galleries that have opened in the district recently. Prior to the move, we felt like we were almost better known in Europe, but the new location has given us more attention from LA collectors and curators.
DS: How would you describe your program?
MLC: We focus on emerging artists for the most part, but we have an upcoming show of works from the estate of Robert Heinecken, which is quite a departure for us. Amanda Ross-Ho and Nathan Mabry are probably our best-known artists. Both have recently received tremendous critical and curatorial acclaim, and we have been working with them since we opened the gallery.
DS: You are soon headed to Art Basel Miami Beach for a third year. Why is the fair an important component of your program?
MLC: I think the quality of attendees at Art Basel Miami Beach—from the world-class collectors to the curators and museum directors—is a tremendous benefit to the gallery and the artists we show. We seek to put on an exhibition that has depth because even though it is only for a week, you know the entire art world will see it. The artists know that, too, and we schedule their participation just like we do a major exhibition in the gallery, and we’ve done well approaching it that way.
DS: Which artist will you exhibit at this year’s fair?
MLC: We will be exhibiting a single work there—a projected video by Brian Bress. As of yet untitled, it is a witty, odd video with a lot of psychological twists and turns.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBERT WEDEMEYER (PORTRAIT, PROCESS ART, GALLERY)
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.