A new online art gallery is the perfect platform for Easton resident Gail Patterson to share her deep affinity for Afro-Caribbean art, particularly Haitian, by presenting this genre to Eastern Shore residents and beyond. The online gallery, Spiralis Gallery, will launch its opening with some of its artwork being featured at Out of the Fire Restaurant in Easton, Maryland beginning July 12, 2023. The show, “Things Fall Together,” will then run for 10 weeks at the restaurant for diners to enjoy. All artworks are for sale.
Patterson, a physician and art lover, launched her original gallery at Art Basel Miami and the Outsider Art Fair in 2012-2013. For ten more years, her demanding medical career forced her to put her art gallery dreams on hold until now.
“This genre of art has always resonated with me, with its vibrant colors, exquisite patterns, and strong spiritual imagery. And I am drawn inexorably to outsider artists, whose creations come directly from their souls,” comments Patterson, director and curator of Spiralis Gallery.
The gallery will focus on emerging and mid-career artists, with a secondary lens on Outsider artists or “art brut.” She adds, “The Gallery’s new online presence amplifies the visual narratives of Afro-Caribbean artists by presenting bold pieces, colorful fiber art, bricolage, and sculpture. In so doing, our fervent hope is to connect cultures and people in meaningful ways, thereby emphasizing and exploring our common humanity.
Patterson bought her first piece of Haitian art in 1990, a small painting of a little girl’s face by Louisiane St. Fleurant – one of five artists who initially joined the experimental Saint Soleil art movement. She recalls, “I was transfixed by the girl’s smile, her direct gaze, the vivid colors and patterning – the painting brought me such a frisson of joy, that I knew I would want to look at it every day. It felt instantly like home – like somewhere I had been or wanted to go.”
“What I did not know at the time was that this purchase would catalyze my relationship with Haiti, a place I have gone many times over the years for volunteer medical service, a place of great happiness and immense sorrow, a place where misery and triumph are mixed in the blender of life in equal parts.”
Over the years, Patterson continued to collect Haitian art, including contemporary, mainstream, and self-taught artists.
“Perhaps it’s the colors, the magic of symbols and mysticism, or the naive portrayal of everyday life that appeals to me. I have met many artists and bought from them directly at their homes, from the back of motorbikes, or in their own ateliers. In Haiti, art is life, art is necessary, a profound and vital expression of connection to the world – part of the spiral of the universe, where things are meant to be connected in ways we can’t even imagine or know. In one artist’s words, ‘It’s not me who voyages, it’s my spirit through my paintings that travels,’” she reflects.
“I have collected with the firm belief that the opposite of poverty and degradation is not peace and contentment but rather, creation in all its forms. In Haiti, art is essential, and that creative force is behind the extraordinary outpouring of work.”
Patterson’s vision is to find ways to showcase this artwork as a new addition to the thriving local art scene on the Eastern Shore. Her mission is to display and promote artists’ works as a way to bring people together and show our common humanity.
“In my opinion, the purpose of a gallery is not just to sell art but to create community, make space for conversation, and foster and support relationships,” she adds.
Spiralis Gallery will initially have an online presence that refreshes frequently as new artists join the ever-growing roster. For inquiries about sales and exhibitions, contact director and curator Gail Patterson at [email protected] or 908-625-8704 or visit https://spiralisgallery.com/.