Adjective: Essentially different in kind; not allowing comparison.
Noun: Things so unalike that there is no basis for comparison.
When stating what he most loves about being a gallerist and, really, about life itself, Bill Franke, owner of Hand Artes Gallery in Truchas, says that it is bringing disparate art forms, people and philosophies, together and letting them live, collectively, in peace, creating a new whole out of the seemingly disconnected.
Hand Artes Gallery opened its doors 23 years ago and has been drawing curators from around the world ever since. One of the remarkable things about the gallery is that Bill features contemporary, traditional, folk and non-representational work together in a perfectly balanced way. This is possible because of his innate ability to create the gallery as an installation, his current art form.
Hand Artes Gallery presents a contemporary concept seemingly in the middle of nowhere, another unexpected contrast Bill makes work, high art where one would least expect it.
When I came to New Mexico, one of my dreams was to be represented by Bill at Hand Artes Gallery. I’m happy to say that is a dream I have realized.
Bill is exceptional in that he passionately loves art and is deeply knowledgeable, but what I appreciate most about him is that he also loves artists. I don’t think this is necessarily common among modern-day gallerists. As an example, Anna Karin invited me to come into her gallery this year, a sort of co-op situation where we both cover costs and sit the gallery. In spite of the fact it’s also in Truchas, Bill has supported this venture wholeheartedly because he believes in my career and he will do whatever he can to promote it. In a world where gallery contracts hammer out non-compete clauses specifying whole areas where an artist may or may not show their work, Bill’s generosity of spirit is all the more stunning. Oh, and he doesn’t require contracts. A business relationship with Bill is founded on trust.
Many times when I am either stuck on a painting, or just completing a piece, or simply excited about what’s happening on the canvas, I have loaded it into my car, often still wet, and trundled down my dirt road to see Bill. I’ll drag it into that beautiful gallery, lean it against the wall and he and I will sit and talk about it.
In my mind it’s a throwback to another time when making art was really about supporting the artist and finding joy in art’s creation. This is just one of the ways Bill is distinct, another example of how this man lives his bliss: In a world where art has become big business, Bill still believes in the individual artist. He will do whatever he can to bring those disparate concepts together.
You can see more of Hand Artes Gallery at handartesgallery.com.
All photos in today’s post except for the first photo of Bill were provided by Kevin Hulett.