Thursday, October 29, 2009
With around 100 art galleries, Carmel-by-the-Sea has a variety of creations for art collectors. But the small seaside town might be best known for a place to score lovingly painted portraits of pets or plein air renderings of the surrounding landscape by established artists – and certainly not galleries offering more contemporary, edgier work from young talents. The newly opened Exposed, crammed between an eyeglass store and a sewing emporium overlooking Carmel Square, presents a small but noteworthy nudge in that direction.
Its space is probably smaller than many restrooms located within the city’s larger homes, yet the well-lit collection of photographic works by co-owners Evynn LeValley and Rachael Short can keep art aficionados browsing for far longer than one would expect from 133 square feet.
Both photographers showcase the beauty of the natural world and the female body in works like LeValley’s “Elephant Ear,” where a woman uses a giant leaf as a blanket, and Short’s “Flower, Fruit, Earth,” a trio of photos featuring a nude female holding those natural elements. There are images that haunt the mind and raise speculation such as Short’s “Loft 2,” where a nude woman standing on a chair stares out at a cityscape, and “Desert Phantom,” where a mysterious figure in a cape and top hat traipses across a moon-like landscape. (Located within Bill Bates’ former space, Exposed also offers a couple of framed pieces and some books by the famed Carmel cartoonist who recently passed away.)
Before pooling their resources to open Gallery Exposed this past Sept. 25, the 27-year-old Short and the 25-year-old LeValley first became acquainted as young women competing together on a swim team in Carmel Valley. Since then, both were employed by Tom O’Neal, the Carmel Valley photographer known for shooting the album cover for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s classic 1970 record Déjà Vu.
A graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography, Short has exhibited her work at Sand City’s PK Fine Artifacts and Carmel’s Lauryn Taylor Fine Art Gallery. LeValley, who majored in art at UCSC, is the recipient of the 2009 Gina and Kim Weston Scholarship Fund. In addition, Short and LeValley currently both have pieces in Carmel’s Center for Photographic Art’s 2009 Juried Exhibition.
The two are kicking around ideas for future events at Exposed, from the traditional – a Thanksgiving weekend $100 print sale, which will occur Nov. 27-29 – to the unconventional.
“I think we can make the whole space the exhibit, and you have to stand outside to see it,” Short says.
She adds that Exposed has an element that a lot of other local galleries lack. “There are really good photography galleries here, but it’s usually not the photographer running the gallery,” Short says. “When you are selling art, I think people want that personal connection.”
LeValley thinks that Exposed also differentiates itself from other spaces in the area by featuring art that is more contemporary. Short agrees. “I think we are pushing it a little bit, she says.”
EXPOSED is located at San Carlos and Seventh, Carmel. For an appointment, call 238-0127 or 917-3450. www.galleryexposed.com