It's not a gallery Valentine's Exhibit poster (black and white) 

It’s not a gallery: The Valentine’s Exhibit


It’s not a gallery hosted a Valentine’s exhibit on Feb. 13. The Valentine’s Exhibit invited local artists whose style varied from abstract, pointillism and fine-tip line drawing. The exhibit, created and coordinated by gallery Cofounder Kade Clemensen, displayed the work of six artists: AJ, Breanna Catalina, Elizabeth Walsh, Katie Willes, Natalie Heileson and Luxinox.  The two-roomed gallery at 231 E. 400 South was lit with black light that revealed splatters of invisible paint on the floor. The artwork, lighting and steady house music, which Clemensen created, provided a fluid and inviting atmosphere for one of the first shows in this space. 

The youngest artist, AJ, 11, displayed her piece, Blue Sky. Her friends showed their support, excitedly saying, “Wait, this is yours?” at the bright-blue swirls that melded with pink. Showcasing AJ’s work was particularly meaningful because it demonstrates It’s not a gallery’s mission to create a safe space for people of all ages to showcase their art. 

Catalina has been artistic her whole life but started to explore painting more deeply after spending most of her time at home with her family during the pandemic. Catalina created a Valentine’s Day collection of 10 pieces for this exhibit, with a rose-gold palette and gold leaf accents to add texture and movement of light. Catalina includes gold-leaf accents in most of her work, saying “I’m Latina, and I love gold—it’s just something we do.” To create her abstract, freeform work, she chooses the color palette and places each color on the canvas. Catalina says, “It paints itself after I put the paint on there. I move the canvas around to create splatters, drips and to add levels,” she says. “The paint blends into shapes. Some even look like agates.” 


(L–R) Artist Natalie Heileson and It's not a gallery Cofounder Kade Clemensen at their Valentine's Exhibit.
Photo courtesy of Kade Clemensen

“The artwork, lighting and steady house music … provided a fluid and inviting atmosphere for one of the first shows in this space.”

Walsh focuses largely on iconic mountain ranges and natural features she has visited. Walsh had been painting since high school and has been creating pointillist scenes of iconic natural landmarks more seriously since the pandemic began.  Her piece Delicate Arch sets its namesake arch in black and white while the background explodes in colorful swirls of dots. Walsh applies the color that would have been in the monument and carefully places the color, dot by dot, into the surrounding environment, the sky or ground below. Walsh uses this pointillist method to create movement in the piece, to reflect the energy and movement of nature surrounding the iconic monuments. Walsh uses this method “to create systematic, precise patterns, which diverge into intricate disarray mirroring the complexity of mountains, forests, and deserts,” she says. Her work captures iconic landmarks spanning from Utah, Wyoming, Tanzania and Switzerland. 

Willes uses her intuition to create expressive and colorful abstract pieces. Willes uses the titles of each piece to ground the viewer in her point of view during the creation process. Love in the time of Coronavirus and In-between speak to March 2020–to the present, worldwide crisis of COVID-19. Willes says about Love in the time of Coronavirus, “This painting was made in the early days of self-isolation … There are some beautiful colors, but they are overshadowed by some murky greys and browns. To me, the beauty of the painting is its depth, but it’s a depth of uncertainty, lacking clarity.” 

Heileson conveys divine feminine figures, and earthly plant and animal life overtop abstract watercolor shapes. Pieces such as Feminine and Flower Woman convey feminine figures in shapes that tell a story with a few decisive, fine-tip pen strokes. Heilson has focused primarily on the line drawing of feminine images and earthy tones because those images elicit a sense of calm and being in nature. Heilson draws from memory, paints personalized portraits, and decidedly keeps the lines as minimal as possible to keep the figure at the focal point, supported by the opaque, earthy waves of watercolor. 

“Guests and artists seemed to feel energized at the thought of sharing a creative space after nearly a year of It’s not a gallery having to put shows on hold.”

Luxinox’s music, light design, and personal artwork was displayed throughout the gallery. Catalina and Luxinox have worked together in the past, so Luxinox’s own work, placed next to Catalina’s, Fool, complemented the abstract and movement-filled theme of Catalina’s collection. He creates texture through layers of paints and transitional light design to illuminate paintings themselves. Two paintings, Fine Line and Phases of the Moon, combine finite black shapes and invisible paint that can only be seen using black light. 

The Valentine’s exhibit incorporated a variety of artists which spoke to the gallery’s pursuit of being a space that invites all creatives in. The curated music, light design, and the artwork that filled the wall  created an uplifting atmosphere. Guests and artists seemed to feel energized at the thought of sharing a creative space after nearly a year of It’s not a gallery having to put shows on hold. 

It’s not a gallery will be moving locations soon, and Clemensen invites local artists to showcase their work in the new space. COVID-conscious group meditations and yoga events will be hosted there, maintaining the mission to create a space that cultivates a healthy mind through immersive art. For more information, go to itsnotagallery’s Facebook.