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Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Carrack, the latest 

from the Clarion Content's Art, Style, and Fashion columnist
on the Durham beat...

Cady Childs

From the opening of the Wendelbo-Malo-Digiulio exhibition
All photos courtesy of Scenes from my Lunch Hour

The Carrack Modern Art Gallery, located at 111 West Parrish Street, directly above Loaf, is one of those aesthetically addictive spaces you just don’t want to leave. Exposed brick, warm wood floors, comfy, familiar armchairs, and massive windows gazing idly down to the street below lay the backdrop for what happens when two creatively inclined, organized people put their heads together.

“This all evolved in a way we didn’t expect,” Laura Ritchie, co-founder and co-director of the Carrack, said.

At the gallery
All photos courtesy of Scenes from my Lunch Hour

The gallery functions in a way not often seen in today’s art world. The Carrack is not a co-op. Artists do not pay out a commission on pieces sold during exhibitions, there are no membership fees, and, other than being available for rent to the public for special events, the space is maintained completely through donations and community faith. In December of last year, a KickStarter campaign culminated with a $12,000 pool of funds, securing the space for the entirety of 2012, and confirming just how vital an entity the Carrack has become to the Durham community.

After working together at the Carrboro Arts Center, John Wendelbo, founder of the Durham Sculpture Project, brought Ms. Ritchie on board to take his vision to the next level.

"The community wanted a space like this, and we needed to put together the funding, space, and work to do so," said Ms. Ritchie, a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and native of North Carolina.

"We wanted to make the Carrack it’s own entity from the Durham Sculpture Project, but they will always be intrinsically linked.”

From a curatorial perspective, Ritchie has already laid the foundation to secure the Carrack a space in the now crackling Durham art scene. One of the first places the Carrack popped up on the Clarion Content’s radar, if you’ll forgive the pun, was last October’s PoPuP III organized by Richie and Durham artist and bon vivant, Adrian Schlesinger. Now, the gallery is almost completely booked through December 2012, with just about every medium imaginable represented at least once during the course of the year. Richie’s verve and energy are a driving force.

The current Wendelbo-Malo-Digiulio exhibition features a collaboration of three artists (including John Wendelbo, the Carrack's co-founder). It is on display now through this Friday, January 13th, featuring large-scale sculptures and paintings coloring between the lines of abstraction and realism.

Wendelbo-Malo-Digiulio exhibit at the Carrack gallery
All photos courtesy of Scenes from my Lunch Hour

Michelle Gonzalez Green’s ‘A Sense of Place’, opening January 16th, explores the ‘inner sanctum’ of finding one’s creative place, and what settings artists choose to put themselves in during that search. The exhibition will be an inner look at seventeen days of creating in Green’s studio, using original materials that inspired, infuriated, or entranced during the time recorded.

Other upcoming exhibits include works by Gracelee Lawerence (January 30th-February 10th), Dipiki Kohli (February 10th-February 12th), and Melissa Smith (February 13th-February 24th).

The Carrack, named after a type of European ship from the 15th century that lead to the discovery of new worlds, is living up to it’s metaphorical name. It is giving artists a new paradigm, truly modern, post capitalist insatiability, a new take on a collaborative, community-run space, and providing a supportive environment. In exchange for the free space, the artists are expected to largely manage their own staging and promotion. When these individual artists needed a space, the Carrack was there. Ritchie and Wendelbo are in for one exciting year.

For more information on the Carrack’s exhibitions, calendar, booking, and rental, visit their website at www.thecarrack.org.

Wendelbo-Malo-Digiulio exhibit at the Carrack gallery
All photos courtesy of Scenes from my Lunch Hour

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