Pm Gallery's Decade Long Success
I met up with Pm Gallery’s owner Powell MacDougall at the Toronto International Art Fair (TIAF) this year hoping to find out her little secret behind her innovative gallery located on Dundas Street West just after Dufferin Street. MacDougall recently celebrated her love for art with a Ten Year anniversary Show that showcased what her gallery is all about.
MacDougall naturally gravitates towards strong processed-based artists. She believes that the stories and the process behind the art is what people are drawn to and can relate to. While Speaking with Powell at TIAF, she explained that she is not so much selling a painting or a photograph; she is “selling a story”. She enjoys connecting her artists and their stories with people who love and relate to their art. Finding this connection is what MacDougall is good at.
MacDougall pointed to Crystal Wagner’s Aqueous III, and explained the tedious process behind making the underwater serpent-esque figure, and then I realized how the process of creating this incredibly detailed artwork can mesmerize people. Another processed-based artist that MacDougall featured at TIAF was Linda Martinello, whose works are inspired by landscapes and sights that she has come across while travelling. Her observations of theses place are represented by layers upon layers of mylar, paint, and graphite. Again, mesmerizing.
“Thinking about Toronto’s Art Scene…”
When I asked MacDougall what she thinks about art in Toronto she responded that she thinks that Toronto has a varied art scene. There are many good commercial and publicly funded galleries that show a diverse range of art from local artists and international artists.
“On Online Art Galleries…”
MacDougall’s thoughts about online art galleries and portals are that she believes that online galleries are only successful up to a certain price point. So much of selling a piece of artwork has to do with the relationship a gallerist builds with the client, that it is difficult to make connections with a client without showing them the artwork and speaking to them face to face. The idea of purchasing a $5,000.00 piece of artwork without ever seeing it in person is hard to imagine, as images on a screen never do the real painting justice.
“The Big Why…”
After working at other galleries in the past, MacDougall realized that she wanted to become a gallerist to represent and work with more contemporary and younger artists in Toronto. She wanted to expand Canadian contemporary art culture internationally, and believed that if she opened a gallery, she would be able to showcase Toronto art to the world.
“The Secret to Success…”
PM gallery has been in operation since 2004. A decade, which is quite an achievement for a gallery in Toronto nowadays. When I asked, what do you think helped you get here today? “Perseverance”, exclaims MacDougall. It is not about having an eye for good art, it is about persevering. Running a gallery while getting married and having a family through the recession has tested Pm Gallery, and after 10 years of success, MacDougall was just nominated as the President of the Art Dealers Association of Canada (ADAC). MacDougall explains that you have to constantly reflect and ask yourself why you are in this, and make sure you know why.
Currently, Pm Gallery is preparing to exhibit a group show of gallery artists. As for the future, we do not know what Pm Gallery’s next move will be, as MacDougall keeps her cards close to her chest.