Greenville artist Traci Wright Martin recently debuted her solo show “Reformation” thanks to Chicago’s 33 Contemporary Gallery. The show is online at the gallery’s Artsy page, allowing viewers across the internet to visit Martin’s work.
“I’m very lucky that this particular invite for the solo show came in, and it coincided with Women’s History Month,” Martin said.
Her show is based on her series “Art Herstory and the Moth,” which features what Martin calls “visual quotations” of women artists who, in her opinion, “should have been a household name.”
Those quotations are a motif in the artist’s work. Martin adds a moth to symbolize underrepresentation.
The pivot to going online has been a necessity for artists like Martin since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. With many avoiding social gatherings, exhibitions and shows have been canceled or postponed — curators have been waiting for the pandemic’s receding tide.
While Martin is enthusiastic about the online show and is grateful to 33 Contemporary Gallery, putting so much energy into online representations has its obstacles. Online curation, she said, is a very different world than working within a physical gallery space.
“Maximizing the impact of something digitally is really difficult when it’s really meant to be seen in person,” she said. “It’s tricky.”
For Art and Light Gallery in Greenville, staff had already been using online platforms for their art.
Bracken Sansbury, gallery director and consultant at Art and Light, said the gallery was lucky when the pandemic hit because it had already established an online presence with Instagram and their website.
“We didn’t see a huge decrease in our sales over the last year, either, which has been really neat because I think people became more comfortable with buying art online and buying things online because it just became more normal,” said Sansbury.
Art and Light sends multiple pictures to potential buyers and uses Facetime for potential buyers to get a better view of the inventory.
“The only way that our artists are going to be successful, and the only way that we’re going to be successful, is if we keep getting creative and we keep pivoting to reach people,” Sansbury said.