Have you been to Peerless yet?
It’s that really cool art gallery in Midtown Crossing with crisp white walls and wide-open breathing space.
Perhaps I’m biased. You see, I know and love the owners, husband-and-wife dynamic duo Daphne Eck and Caleb Coppock. And I also got to help when they were first setting up, painting various surfaces white and helping to assemble various pieces of furniture.
I also happen to buy in — fully — to their ideas.
You see, they want Peerless to be a space for collaboration.
One way collaboration shows up is in getting a show up. So far, Peerless has featured a new artist each month and hosted a one-night event, “Les Femmes Folles Presents Pop-Up Show.”
This past Friday (Sept. 2) was the opening of the show, “Readiness Is All,” which featured Ying Zhu’s explorations with the idea of comfort.
Ying was born and raised in China. She studied at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for her M.F.A., which she completed in 2010. This year, she is an artist in residence at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art.
“Ying’s work is always incredibly intricate. She often works in paper or odd materials that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with fine art, like eggshells or scotch tape or paper towels,” Daphne said. “I always think of Ying as someone who works in multiples of one million. It’s intricate yet epic.”
See what she’s talking about by checking out yingzhu.org.
Ying is someone Daphne and Caleb are thrilled to be working with in this capacity. Displaying someone’s work “gives us a way to work with an artist to promote their work and help push them forward, and to work together and make something beautiful come out of it. These are people we want to see succeed. We believe in them and love their work,” Daphne explained.
The collaboration piece comes in as they are able to think through the show together: work out placement, figure out necessary materials and install it. And they have a network of friends and colleagues who help.
“We get to be a piece in the puzzle in a way that’s a little different from most galleries,” Daphne said.
Another way they collaborate is to co-office. “It’s organic and natural. Just being around people, you play off each other, get new ideas,” Daphne said. “It’s easy and natural when officing together to find links in our work.”
They have artists in their work space, where people may be able to do bigger things than in their own studio space. Wanda Ewing, of Les Femmes Folles, for example, prepared a piece for the show right there in the space.
But it’s more than just artists. And that’s the goal. “We want it to be multi-disciplinary — artists, designers, writers, scientists. All these different people hopefully influencing one another and informing each other’s work, perhaps inspiring something new,” Daphne said.
“We’ve really enjoyed having a gallery and a worksite,” she said. “But it seems like the first six months we’ve been more focused on the gallery side. We’re hoping, if this space continues another six months, that the worksite will become more the focus. That’s what we’re most excited about: a network of partners that can collaborate on larger works.”
Daphne smiled as she said this. Then added, “Gives us practice achieving something bigger than what we can do on our own.”
So, stop by Peerless and catch a little of that collaborative excitement.