How Alexandria’s Principle Gallery
supports both artists and collectors.
By Jennifer King
Every art gallery serves as a champion for the artists it represents, but Principle Gallery’s director Clint Mansell seems to feel that more keenly than most. As an art school graduate himself, he understands the passion that drives artists to make art, and he fully supports the gallery’s mission to push artists’ careers forward. “Our artists take pride in their work,” he notes. “After working so hard to master their art forms, they put themselves out there, and it’s our purpose to help them.” Serving artists well is just one of several reasons why founder and owner Michele Ward named the gallery after her intention to create a principled business.
The gallery is equally dedicated to serving art collectors in an ethical way, and in fact, Mansell and his team strive to foster a bond of trust with collectors and to educate them in ways that allow them to enjoy and appreciate their artwork even more. In addition to creating a welcoming atmosphere that encourages people to have fun with collecting and not be intimidated by art, the gallery maintains a blog (principlearttalk.com) that contains all kinds of informative content about artists, techniques, materials, and the role of art. “The blog is a way to get collectors involved,” adds Mansell. “We want people to understand what all has gone into the making of each work of art, so that they can understand its value. And I find it very exciting to think that this—the work we do—is the beginning of the provenance for each piece. I don’t believe it’s too grandiose to say we have some of the best artists living and working today, and that these works will live on with these families and maybe someday in museums.”
Contemporary realism is the primary focus of Principle Gallery’s collection, and Mansell is quick to point out that “contemporary” does not mean “abstract” or “minimalism” in this case. In fact, the gallery’s mission since its beginning in 1994 has been to promote the work of living artists creating recognisable, representational work. Jeremy Mann and Geoffrey Johnson are among the 35 gallery artists, a group that includes a diverse mix of local, national, and international talent. The gallery offers only original works of art in a huge range of prices from $300 to $30,000.
One artist who has been with the gallery since its inception is Kevin Fitzgerald. The artist’s oil landscape paintings are described as tonal and atmospheric with subtle shifts of light. Given that the gallery holds a solo show of his work every March, Mansell says he’s had the privilege of watching Fitzgerald’s work evolve over time. “His work is becoming more about the sensation and overall feel of the scene, rather than a rendering of the details. Whenever you look at one of his landscapes, you’re transported to a place you feel like you’ve been before. You have a visceral understanding that goes deep, and you relate it to other experiences you’ve had and felt.”
Fitzgerald’s show at Principle Gallery opens March 17 with a reception from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. The gallery is located at 208 King Street in Alexandria, Virginia. For more information about the show and the gallery, visit: principlegallery.com.
Jennifer King is a marketer, artist, writer, and entrepreneur. A long time student of art marketing and the fine art industry, she currently provides art marketing services and coaching to visual artists through her company, Connect Artist Marketing. Learn more at connectartistmarketing.com.