"The greatest achievement is being open for almost half a century, and the biggest obstacle is the pressure of time to get everything done to the highest standard possible."
Our interview with Flowers Gallery Director Sophie Hall.
Flowers Gallery has been around since the 1970s, could you talk about its history and the three spaces you now have in both London and New York?
Angela Flowers established her first gallery in 1970 on Lisle Street in London's West End. In the 1980s, the gallery was one of the first to open in London's East End, in a former laundry/fur storage facility in Hackney, and the space became known as Flowers East. Matthew Flowers, Angela's son, took over day to day operations in 1989. In 1997, the gallery expanded further with a Los Angeles space, at Bergamot Station.
There are now two gallery spaces in London: a West End premises on Cork Street opened in 2000 and in 2002 the gallery moved from Hackney into a 12,000 sq foot industrial space in Shoreditch, East London. The US business relocated in 2003 from LA to New York on Madison Avenue, and then in 2009 moved to West 20th street in Chelsea.
Flowers Gallery participates regularly in art fairs internationally. The programme in both the UK and US comprises all media by established and emerging artists. The gallery is an active publisher of prints and multiples with an established department in contemporary international photography. We are also developing a presence in Hong Kong and have just launched the Chinese section of the gallery website.
How do you feel the art world is changing? Do you think art fairs are becoming the lifeblood for most galleries?
The art world is much larger than it ever used to be, operating on many different levels and platforms. Art fairs provide an opportunity for galleries to showcase their artists to new audiences, in a different setting or country. For the viewer, it is an opportunity to get an overview of a collection of galleries in one go. I am not sure they are the ‘lifeblood’ of galleries but they have a vital part to play in the gallery programme.
How do you differentiate yourself from other galleries?
Flowers Gallery represent a broad spectrum of painters, sculptors, photographers and printmakers. Artists enjoy being part of this mix, rather than being pigeonholed into one genre or another. We are also a very welcoming gallery, and enjoy developing relationships with both artists and clients over many years.
What advice can you give to young artists?
Make sure you maintain good records of your work, get yourself a simple well designed website. That way whenever an opportunity comes your way you are ready with information on you and your work.
What do you look for in an artist?
It depends what the nature of the work is and the artist in question, every artist has something different to offer. The depth and breadth of the art world is what makes this business so rewarding and exciting.
What has been your biggest obstacle and greatest achievement as a gallery so far?
The greatest achievement is being open for almost half a century, and the biggest obstacle is the pressure of time to get everything done to the highest standard possible.
What's the future for Flowers Gallery? Any exciting new shows lined up?
The gallery programme is always evolving, reaching out to new audiences. The gallery has many exciting exhibitions taking place this year: currently on view at the Kingsland Road gallery is a retrospective by British realist painter David Hepher; and Dutch photographer Scarlett Hooft Graafland will be showing for the first time with the gallery, on view now until April 29 in Cork Street.
Looking further ahead across both London locations, Flowers gallery will present a new series of abstract paintings by Carol Robertson in May; a retrospective of sculptural works by Tom Phillips to coincide with his 80th birthday (also in May); an exhibition by the renowned British artist Richard Smith in June; hand-embroidered, embellished and re-assembled found photographs by Julie Cockburn in September; new paintings by American artist Aleah Chapin in October; and a solo exhibition featuring a major new series of photographs by Nadav Kander in October - to name just a few. More information on upcoming exhibitions can be found on the website: www.flowersgallery.com or via social media: Twitter @FlowersGallery / Facebook @FlowersGalleries / Instagram @FlowersGallery
All images are courtesy of Flowers Gallery London and New York
Published date: 5/4/17