Orange Art Gallery

Orange Art Gallery

My first encounter with Ingrid Hollander, the owner of Orange Gallery in Ottawa Ontario, was auspicious. We had exchanged emails after I'd sent her a link to an exhibition I was having in the Ottawa region of large-scale figurative oil paintings. "I like your work, very impressive. What are the sizes?", she had inquired back via email. I immediately fired back another email, surprised, excited to have received a response from an actual human with a somewhat personal flavour rather than the usual, "Thank you for your interest in ... Gallery. We are currently not taking on any new artists ...".  Then, nothing, no response. What? Too big? Too expensive? Too this, too that? A week went by, still no response. I let it go. Another gallery inquiry up in smoke.

I was living in Sayulita, Mexico at the time of my initial email to Ingrid and having the distractions of the sun, sand, tacos and cerveza at my disposal, I decided to just forget about it or more precisely - I could easily forget about it. That is, until I returned home to Wakefield, Quebec. I'd known a few really excellent Ottawa based painters that exhibited regularly at Orange and I'd heard of some exciting projects they'd embarked upon, read a few excellent reviews so, I thought to myself,  "John, get up offa yer assdescend into the city from your rural enclave of Wakefield, equip yourself with a few modern day dongle devices with your images, c.v., artist statement etc." I thought to myself, "one more kick at the can", then if nothing, I'll move on.

Upon entering the unique and, to me, kinda magical space of Orange Gallery I could see a woman at the end of a hallway, sitting at desk, on the phone. I walked in slowly, looking around, one ear on her conversation waiting for it to end, and when it did, I immediately presented myself: "Hi, I'm John Marok, a painter, I'd sent you some images ... "   "Oh yeah", Ingrid replied cutting me off. "I'm sorry not to have responded, we were extraordinarily busy and ... do you have something you could leave with me?" "Um, yes, I have something right here."  "Ok, thanks,"  she said, "I'll get back to you next week."  "Ok, thank you".  And that was it. Only it wasn't.

A week later, I received a phone call from Ingrid: "John, I love the paintings. When can we come to your studio?" ... "Well", I said, "hang on" ... as I pretended to flip through an imaginary daily planner book, "how about next Monday?" ... "Okay, late morning?" ... "Yes, wonderful. I'll give you directions"... "No, thats okay, we'll find it". And with that, she hung up.  

Monday late morning came around and lo and behold Ingrid and her husband Matt turned up. They thanked me, were kind, spoke slowly and thoughtfully and deliberately. I showed them my studio, my storage - emphasizing the large scale oils they'd initially responded to. Ingrid asked me few questions, Matt even fewer. They took measurements, inquired prices and then: "Howz your week look? We can send a truck on Thursday morning." "Uh, yeah, Thursday morning is good"... "Ok, wonderful. Thanks for this, see you soon".  And with that they were off.

Thursday morning arrives and so does Matt with a truck from Orange Gallery, ready to load up the paintings and ship them into the Gallery.  So, y'know I'm delighted, inspired, even awakened to further possibilities. I'm reviewing in my mind what has transpired and without boring you of the ongoing evolution of our Gallery/Artist relationship, I'll outline in point form the fundamentals:

1) Ingrid reviews my paintings. Says she loves them. 
2) Asks to come for a studio visit. Comes for a studio visit. 
3) Tells me she's gonna send a truck. Sends a truck. 
4) Says she looks forward to hanging the work. Hangs the work. 
5) Offers me an exhibition. We have an exhibition. 
6) Tells me she's sure she can sell some paintings. Sells some paintings.

That's it. End of story. Sums it up, at least, up until this point. And there's no other story here, no subtle universal theme or subtext. It's just a story of me and a gallery. A story that, in my 35 years in the business, I can tell you, is rare and special. Means a lot to me.

Installation of my painting "Crowd" at Orange Art Gallery






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