B. Deemer Gallery welcomes artists and art enthusiasts alike
Story by Graham Pilotte
Photos by Kathryn Harrington
Whether your talents lie in oil painting or in stick-figure-sketching, everyone can appreciate a beautiful piece of visual art. Louisville’s own B. Deemer Gallery, owned by Brenda Deemer, can fulfill just such a need.
Praising art has always been a passion for Deemer. “It’s been something that’s mattered to me for as long as I can remember,” she says. “It’s food for people’s spirits. Having beautiful surroundings is nurturing. We go to great extremes to make beautiful gardens and homes because that’s just a part of what makes us whole. It’s important to our lives.”
B. Deemer Gallery takes a somewhat unusual approach to its rapport with creators. “These artists and I have very long-term relationships,” Deemer explains. “It’s not a one-show deal. A lot of galleries have shows for artists, but I keep their art here all the time and represent them for years.” In choosing her artists, Deemer develops relationships that last a lifetime. “I represent a group of artists who are very accomplished and do good, solid work and also keep in mind what my clients might desire to have in their homes,” she says. “That’s a balance of what people want and where I can help them find it.”
The aforementioned artists cover an impressive range of work, from delicate landscapes to brightly colored abstracts. One such artist, Madison Cawein, recently was on exhibit for his ethereal paintings that capture the delicate movement of hummingbirds. “He’s also looking at focus, and he’s really big on the plays between movement and light,” explains young artist and gallery associate Jake Ford. “He’s a Louisville guy. He taught at St. Francis High School for a little while and then graduated from Yale. He’s a big name around here.” Cawein’s exhibit was featured in B. Deemer Gallery until April 30 and continues to be represented.
Not all artists in the gallery are from Louisville, however. “Kit-Keung Kan was a physicist and a scientist, before he started doing paintings,” Ford says of a collection of stunningly detailed waterfalls. “I’m sure he still does research, but he also paints. He does these waterfall scenes; a few are more landscape-oriented. They’re all in traditional Chinese ink and pen on rice paper.”
“There’s a good mix of artists from regional to international,” Ford affirms, noting that B. Deemer Gallery represents artists from as far away as Croatia and as close as Bardstown.
Additionally, the gallery offers custom framing services, including more handcrafted moldings than most frame shops carry.
B. Deemer has always resided in its original Crescent Hill location, a spot that is much beloved by the community. “It’s just got that historical, neighborhood feel with a lot of character and personality,” Gallery Associate Gretchen Andres explains. “The location is really nice because people can just stop in. We get a lot of people who walk in to see what art we have up right now. We get to chat with our neighbors and quite a few regular clients because it’s such a walkable neighborhood.”
“Getting to be part of the community is pretty cool,” Ford says. “You feel like you’re contributing to something. It’s cool to see everything keep moving forward.”
Deemer takes pride in her gallery, but also in her city. “I think Louisville is quite an oasis of art,” she says. “We have exceptional art in Actors Theatre, the wonderful orchestra and ballet – the city is rich in the arts scene.” Additionally, she sees a love of art in many Louisvillians. “I have some wonderful clients who keep coming back, clients to whom art is very important,” she says. “And there are wonderful artists here as well. Usually the artists I represent have a connection to Louisville in some way even if they’re not from here.”
Everyone is welcome into Deemer’s gallery space. “I do pay attention to trying to make my store comfortable to come into, and not intimidating in any way,” Deemer says. “I hope that people come in and enjoy. I’ve had customers say that it’s very peaceful; that they were harried and frantic, but when they came in, they could take a deep breath.”
Covering a wide range of work, subjects and focuses, Deemer’s artists are always creating something new – and Louisvillians are invited in to see it all. B. Deemer Gallery is a local treasure chest filled with beautiful art that’s meant to be enjoyed throughout the years. “People are hoping for continuation, and our artists keep updating and creating new twists to their work,” Deemer says. “It’s always exciting to see what they’re doing.” VT
B. Deemer Gallery
2650 Frankfort Ave.