Om Navon Bleicher is the owner and director of bG Gallery in Santa Monica, CA, focusing on expressive-conceptual, insider-outsider, high-low and figurative-abstract
When did you first fall in love with the arts?
Art has always been something that is a part of me. I think it was seeing a poster of Salvador Dali’s Sleep in junior high, and art classes in high school, where it became a significant ‘other’ external objective for me, towards the end of a lifelong pursuit.
Running a gallery takes a lot of commitment. How did you come to the decision to open one?
I was managing a group of artists and dealing with the various ins and outs of showing them in other galleries. It was becoming clear that there was a distinct aspect to their work that would be suited to all being housed under one venue.
Are there any specific ways in which you hope to influence the art scene?
Less focus on the institution, elitism, esoterism, and in-groupings, and more focus on the art. I’m constantly trying to bridge and dialogue previously disparate elements of the art world, to meld new forms and collaborations.
Does bG Gallery align with, or differ from, what you originally envisioned it to be?
It’s different. At the start, I focused on my own art preferences, towards highly psychological expressionist work. I was very concerned about how the gallery would be seen as respectable by both critics and art world peers. I didn’t even consider business aspects, think of it in business terms, or more importantly the benefits to the community and the receivers of the art. It took experience and being exposed to other perspectives to switch focus and take into consideration what the vision provides to others. When I took on a new business partner with a keen interest in New Contemporary, they started to change the type of work we focused, and opened my mind to very unique crossovers. Engaging viewers is now a strong goal of the gallery, as well as opening them to work they might not have been open to, by providing an accessible bridge in.
Can you tell me a little about your intentions with “Gestalt Projects”?
While bG’s represented artists tend to bridge domains within their practice, “Gestalt Projects” give us the opportunity to branch out to more varieties of work. We create an installation or a highly specific theme that allows us to present vastly different fields of art together in a unified show. For example, in our “Endless Horizon” show this August, we will be showing works of all styles that have a strong horizontal line (a horizon line in landscape works or just a line in abstract works). We are lining all these up, and hanging the works close to each other, so that there is a continuous horizon line through the gallery. A photo realistic picture might be hung next to an abstract work hung next to a photograph, for example.
What do you find most rewarding about gallery directing and curating?
Bringing about a vision of your own art world, infiltrated into the others.
What are some of the challenges that you face?
A constantly evolving market raising costs of doing business. Finding the right people to fit the artists you serve and vice-versa. COVID-19.
Are there certain qualities that you look for in artists in deciding whether they will be pleasurable to work with? And on the contrary, any areas for improvement artists should be aware of?
Quality of work. Ease to work with. Potential for sales. These are possibly a triangle, where strength on one side can make up for weakness on the other. Conversely, if one side is missing it will not stand.
Do you have any specific do’s and don’ts for artists looking to submit their work to you?
Email, then remind me two times so it's fresh on the email chain. Don’t approach to show your work on your phone at receptions or at art fairs.
Do you have any plans for bG Gallery beyond what it is today?
We are expanding our Modern Masters program, and we are moving more into online modalities to keep the art community alive online during these COVID times. Our goal is to get more exposure for our artists and serve more collectors no matter what shape the frontier takes.