New Gallery Realizes Dream (March 2008)

Art and Living
Sunday, March 9th, 2008

By Michele Natale, Correspondent

RALEIGH – Climbing up the stairs of the Heilig-Levine building at 115 E. Hargett St., I am accessing Adam Cave’s cherished dream: his own gallery.

After 10 years as gallery director at Raleigh’s Gallery C, Cave, 38, with his wife, Cindy, has taken the leap this leap year.

Of his time at Gallery C, Cave has nothing but good things to say. “I had a great time there,” he says. “I got to work for my father for the first time, and that was very gratifying for me.”

Cave’s father, Joseph Cave, has become one of the area’s most popular artists, known for his bold impasto style. Represented at Gallery C for years, the elder Cave, 72, now is represented in Raleigh exclusively by his son’s new gallery.

“After hitting the 10-year mark,” Adam Cave says, “there was a certain status quo at that point and I was ready for some changes.”

Those changes include a new model for his business, which he says will not be based on retail.

“I am interested in being of service to my artists and collectors,” he says. “It’s more a question of us all growing together.” He plans to limit the gallery’s stable to about 25 artists.

Cave also plans to distinguish his gallery from others in the Triangle with a focus on fine art prints, which are stored in flat files in one room of the suite his gallery occupies.

Opening the files for a hands-on look, he takes out a selection of limited edition mezzotints (40 to 50 prints) by Donald Furst. Doors open into rooms that open doors into other rooms, hinting of hidden spaces in these mysterious, delicate unframed prints, which range in price from $175 to $250.

He pulls out some of his father’s copperplate landscape etchings, reminiscent of similar works by 19th-century impressionists. These, too, sell in the $200 range, providing an affordable opportunity for collectors to own work by an artist whose canvases now fetch several thousands.

Cave’s new space is unconventionally configured, a suite of two rooms straddling either side of a stairwell. He has secured the landing for purposes of showing art, and Stephen Aubuchon’s gauzy dance photographs, which recently graced the walls of Through This Lens Gallery, animate the space.

The gallery features turn-of-the-century chair rails and beadboard wainscoting painted putty tan, and plaster walls with molding from which all the works of art are suspended. Venerable wide-planked floors roll over century-old floor joists. Generous street-front windows flood the gallery with bright light.

In the 1960s, Cave says, the room where we’re sitting served as prominent African-American attorney Fred Carnage’s office. On this unseasonably warm March Saturday, the gallery is enlivened by the banter of clients of the barbershop below.

The walls are covered with art by names familiar to the Triangle art scene — abstract expressionist paintings by Wayne Trapp, geometric abstractions by Wayne Taylor, a Joseph Cave landscape and a still life, and a painting by Matt Lively.

There are new names, too. Cave is introducing Pinehurst artist David Hewson to the area. According to Cave, Hewson studied in the classical atelier system in Italy, then studied the art of gilding in Switzerland. He makes use of these two disciplines in figural work set in carved and gilded backgrounds. His work ranges in feeling from Italian Renaissance to art nouveau.

Cave also plans to specialize in art glass, and several of California artist Lee Miltier’s vividly striated “Energy Bottles” line the deep windowsills, glowing in the light.

Lee Hansley, who began his gallery in a downtown Raleigh space 15 years ago before moving to his present Glenwood Avenue location, says he’s impressed with what Cave is doing.

“I like the idea of having a gallery like that on the second floor,” he says. “Only people who want to buy art will go there. It’s a gallery of destination. … The more of us that are trying to sell quality art the better off we all are — especially downtown.”


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