One looking to venture into the realm of luxury art should look no further than Southwest Gallery in Dallas for guidance and inspiration. This 16,000-square-foot gallery offers a taste of everything from glass, old-world oil paintings and metal sculptures to brightly colored works on canvas. Three-dimensional or neatly framed, Southwest Gallery has something for every space. There is no certain way to incorporate art in the home, no mold to fit or guidelines to follow. It is unique and personal to each person. According to manager Melissa Butler, “If you like it, it is acceptable.”
Southwest Gallery far exceeds the limits of an art store. They offer 40 years of experience and most of the employees have been with the gallery for 30 years or longer. Gallery consultants meet with clients in the home to get a feel for the space and develop a relationship built on trust and understanding. Consultations and deliveries take place as far afield as Oklahoma and Colorado. These personal touches, along with a custom framing counter and hard to find consignment options, are just a few of the things that set Southwest Gallery apart.
Upon entering the gallery, the eye is drawn to wall after wall of paintings and a large room of vibrantly colored glass pieces located just inside the front door. The entire space is strategically divided into rooms and niches with works of similar subjects created by known artists like John Cook, Frederick Hart, Kay Walton and Xiang Zhang. Sculptures, statues and metal pieces sit on pedestals or shelves to provide an expressive example of how variation comes together to create a perfect setting. The ability to visualize pieces together with a particular space in mind makes it easy to become enthralled in the uniqueness of art. “Many of the pieces become topics of conversation among guests in the home,” says Butler.
Most people do not realize that paintings and sculptures come with a story. A perfect example is found in one of the larger rooms in the middle of the gallery. A painting that was commissioned by and once hung in Russian government offices was deemed no longer politically correct and was removed. After being incorrectly stored in a basement, the painting was restored and now resides in the Dallas gallery.
The addition of the glass gallery is the result of a recent collaboration between Kittrell Riffkind Art Glass Gallery and Southwest Gallery director Bob Malenfant. Moving the glass into the gallery adds another unique layer to the visualization process for those browsing for art, seriously or leisurely.
If oil painting is more in line with someone’s interest, the gallery will play host to the 25th Annual National Juried Exhibition of Traditional Oils by the Oil Painters of America in May. This monumental event will feature demonstrations, speakers and showcases from some of the most talented artists working. Along with several other events offered, one can even take part in classes taught by big name artists like Bob Rohm in the newly acquired space, appropriately named “Artists’ Showplace” located at Coit and Arapaho. And finally, for those not quite ready to venture into the gallery, Southwest offers an easy to use website where searches can be performed by artist or style, the history of the gallery can be studied and services available are explained in detail. But have no fear, Southwest Gallery is a no pressure, laid-back yet sophisticated place to learn and grow in the wide world of fine art.
Courtney Jackson is a journalist and short story author. She is also a volunteer with the Miss America Organization.