Most art galleries in Dallas are found in two areas, the Design District near downtown and in Deep Ellum. So, Jen Mauldin knew she was making a bold move opening her namesake Jen Mauldin Gallery in the Bishop Arts District. “I wanted to be in a location where those who may not walk into a gallery every day can walk in and discover a growing collection of artwork by local talent,” she says.
Since opening in January 2017, Mauldin has remained committed to showcasing an exclusive selection of paintings, sculptures, photography and mixed media pieces from local, emerging contemporary artists. Because of this, Jen Mauldin Gallery has become a respected spot for both established and budding art collectors, who come to find unique pieces for their homes and offices.
Reception to the gallery has been overwhelmingly positive, and Mauldin’s dynamic curation draws a steady stream of repeat visitors. Upon walking through her door, guests are captivated by the eclectic display of artwork by the various artists represented.
“The gallery scene is new to many of our patrons,” says Mauldin, “so our gallery is really set up so that everyday people feel comfortable walking in.” However, she is honest about the challenges and perks of being in an area that has few establishments like hers. “Despite being one of the few galleries on the street, the foot traffic is great,” says Mauldin “We concentrate on creating a calendar of shows and exhibits that really highlight the artists that we work with, and I consistently look for new talent to keep the work showcased here fresh.”
Mauldin is a powerful advocate for local art and is fully committed to forming personal relationships with the artists her gallery represents. “Many of the artists featured in the gallery are individuals I know,” she says. “I also know how they represent themselves. I’ve watched them grow, and I recognize how they have evolved as artists over the years.” For Mauldin, personal connections are paramount to the process of curating and finding artists who fit well with the plans she has for the gallery.
“For me, it’s not always about our artists having an MFA [Master of Fine Arts],” says Mauldin. “I look for artists who I think are brilliant. I am looking for individuals who are rising in this space and who are committed to continuing a career in art.”
Challenging art collectors to expand the bounds of what they buy is something Jen Mauldin Gallery does proudly. One of the most recent openings at the gallery featured a dual exhibition by two artists with very different styles, Danny Rose and Haylee Ryan, which aimed to demonstrate how art pieces can be juxtaposed to transform a space. “Both of these artists are formally trained,” says Mauldin. “Danny utilizes a lot of bold colors in his work. And, while Haylee enjoys painting the human form, she has been incorporating bold color blocking in more recent work to mask her backgrounds, allowing the viewer to focus on the bodies.”
Without speaking with each other beforehand or discussing their color palettes, Rose and Ryan created works that featured very similar color schemes. “When I began to hang the pieces together, they really complemented one another,” says Mauldin. She has been praised for her impressive curation of this particular show, bolstering her plan to entice buyers into taking a chance on enhancing their collections with diverse works by a variety of artists. “This was truly the kind of collaboration that shows collectors how to bring in pieces featuring the human figure, for example, with distinct, complementary work to transform their spaces,” Mauldin says.
Creating a friendly, approachable atmosphere to reflect on, admire, inquire about and purchase art was Mauldin’s ultimate goal with Jen Mauldin Gallery. She has succeeded, even as she continues to work toward new goals, like expanding her gallery space. “We are just getting started,” says Mauldin.
Collectors and enthusiasts are encouraged to visit the gallery often to see new works and the monthly rotating artists featured.
Leslie Chatman is a freelance writer specializing in lifestyle and culture content. Find out more on her blog: popgoesthecity.com.