In just three short years, artist-slash-gallerist Zoya Tommy has found herself a sort of rising star in the Houston art market.
In addition to a recent strong showing at the Houston Fine Art Fair, her PG Contemporary Gallery has mounted a string of well-received exhibitions, featuring work from local stalwarts like Tierney Malone and Sharon Engelstein to modern masters like Kiki Smith and Gerhard Richter.
But with success has come more art and more people . . . and by fall of 2012, the walls of her original space at 3227 Milam felt like they were moving in closer and closer by the day.
"That Mediterranean-style building in Midtown where I started was beautiful, but my spot there was always just a little too narrow."
When the Peel Gallery closed its doors this past fall at the 4411 Montrose building, she said she knew it was time to act. By early December, Tommy was working along side the likes of Wade Wilson, Anya Tish and Barbara Davis at one of the city's most bustling art hubs.
"The Mediterranean-style building in Midtown where I started was beautiful, but my spot there was always just a little too narrow," Tommy says from the front desk at her new Montrose space, which she now calls the Zoya Tommy Gallery.
"Here, I should be able to do more focused shows that concentrate on a much fuller range of works from a single artist. With more of an open space, I can show more sculptural works as well as film and video pieces."
While only slightly larger than the Midtown gallery, the wider layout offers more opportunities from an exhibition standpoint. And the regular foot traffic at the building, especially during open night receptions, should provide a reliable audience for Tommy's often challenging shows.
For its Friday opener, the new Montrose gallery is offering an expanded look at Japanese neo-dadaist Ushio Shinohara, who drew crowds to PG Contemporary this fall as he made some of his famous "boxing paintings," splatter works created by punching ink onto a canvas with a pair of boxing gloves. (Side note: Shinohara's work graces the January cover of ARTnews.)
Starting Saturday, Tommy will close out her original Milam location in style with a solo show for Devon Britt-Darby, the Houston artist-writer who made waves in late 2011 with his Art Gay Marries a Woman performance staged in opposition to the controversial Art Guys Marry a Plant piece.
Ushio Shinohara starts at 4411 Montrose with an opening reception Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. Devon Britt-Darby: Keepsakes from Several Occasions opens Saturday at 3227 Milam with a reception, also from 6 to 8 pm. Visit the gallery website for further details.