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Interview with Kelsey Offield, Gusford Gallery, Los Angeles

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Interview with Kelsey Offield, Gusford Gallery, Los Angeles
Kelsey Offield, Owner and Director of GUSFORD | los angeles / Pictured at inaugural exhibition, Public Privates by Adam Mars, from February 8- March 23, 2013

Please tell us a bit more about the LA art scene – what is it like?

The LA contemporary art scene is vibrant, young and diverse.  LA collectors are becoming more engaged and excited about what is coming through local galleries, rather than turning to New York or abroad for emerging talent, as they traditionally have in the past. LA artists (and galleries) have the luxury of being bolder with the work they make and exhibit as Los Angeles is an unconventional and newer art market. The young collectors in particular are open and excited to new concepts of art.

What inspired you to set up the gallery? What is Gusford Gallery’s mission?

When I was 19, I dropped out of college and travelled around Europe.  By the time I returned back to America, I had decided that I wanted to study and work in the arts - I was overwhelmingly inspired by the museums and culture so prevalent throughout Europe. I went back to college, studied art history, and worked in various art galleries part-time. During that time, I began to formulate the idea for GUSFORD. Over the 10 years or so since then, I continually evolved and developed my notion of what I wanted to do with my gallery and my artists, and continued to further my education and experience.  GUSFORD is a gallery that works with emerging and mid-career artists, both local and international.  For me, I choose my artists based on their studio practice.  I am interested in how an artist thinks of a concept and then executes it. I have noticed that there is a connection to studio practice that is pivotal for an artist’s career longevity and success.  I wanted GUSFORD to be a platform where artists could be as creative and critical as they wanted, and that is why I only do solo artist presentations. I wanted to develop a working relationship with my artists, one based on trust and integrity, where together we create shows that confidently launch the artists into the LA art scene.

Why did you choose to showcase Genevieve Chua? Where does she stand; significance in the local/ contemporary art scene?

I first met Genevieve when she was in London, but didn’t know about her work until I saw it in Basel, Switzerland.  I was immediately struck by the juxtaposition of simple, clean minimalism grounded in complex, feminine and cultural histories. For me, I know I am seeing something incredible when I immediately feel the urge to touch and smell and consume the artwork before me.  I felt that way the first time I saw Genevieve’s work.  I flew to Singapore shortly after and met with her in her studio and asked if she was interested in working with me in Los Angeles.  I am always interested in bringing artists in to GUSFORD who can challenge the audience and generate questions of what art is - Genevieve does that extremely well.

What is unique about Genevieve’s practice?

Genevieve is so thoughtful.  Her work, the detail, the minutia that goes into every single element of her pieces is incredible.  Her paintings, her photographs, her sculptures, her drawings - they are so intricate and complex in the thought that goes into them. Yet, visually, they are minimal and clean and simply stunning.  Genevieve’s ability to instill complex stories into subtle objects is incredible and definitely sets her apart.

This will be Genevieve’s debut show in LA, what do you hope this show will convey to audiences?

That Genevieve Chua is an outstanding artist.  That critical art is emerging from Singapore and South East Asia. I always want the audience to see and feel the same way that I feel and see the work.  I am so passionate about what the artists at GUSFORD produce, and I am always ecstatic to see how the local audience perceives each show.

Are her works worth collecting? Why should one collect Genevieve Chua?

Of course.  Genevieve creates work that is visually stunning, but more importantly the amount of detail and thought that goes into every element of her work resonates in the finished piece.  Her concepts are critical and thoughtful and timeless.  She has the ability to create artworks that are grounded in modern history and yet can be appreciated without the constraints of time.

What is your advice for new and budding art collectors?

BUY WORK THAT YOU ARE IN LOVE WITH.  I am asked this question a lot. It has become a trend to want to make sure that you are buying a “good investment” piece, and while I understand wanting to buy an artwork that will appreciate in value, at the end of the day, the artwork will be in your home. You will see it every single day.  If an artwork evokes emotion in you, that is powerful and you will value it forever.  Buy art that makes you feel.  Put it in your house and live with it. Love it.


Cicadas Cicadas, by Genevieve Chua, is open from July 11 - August 23, 2014.


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