Artist Gala Bent on Gallery4Culture

© Gala Bent 2009, Ship For Fools, Detail. Photo courtesy of the artist.
© Gala Bent 2009, Ship For Fools, Detail. Photo courtesy of the artist.

With the Call for Artists for Gallery4Culture exhibition currently open, we’ve asked several artists who have exhibited in the gallery in the past to talk about their experience. Painter and guest Gala Bent was a part of the 2008-2009 season in Gallery4Culture.


“Overgrown is the illustration of certain tensions: The glory and terror of earth’s fecundity, the orderliness of entropy, things that defy category or spill over their boundaries, the reactivity of the natural world and its resistance to tidy classification.  What we can see and what we cannot see.  What we can know and what we cannot know.  The role of the imagination in our understanding of reality.” -an excerpt from the statement from Overgrown: an exhibition by Gala Bent at 4Culture in April of 2009

When 4Culture as an entity first came onto my radar, it was 2006 and I was pregnant with my second child. I was new to the city of Seattle, where my husband Zack was beginning his MFA at the University of Washington. And I was, to put it dramatically, terrified that when I had this next child, I’d be unable to continue to be a working artist. In order to battle this fear, I was working steadily on a group of paintings and applying for anything I, or Zack, could find. I knew that having outside pressure would be important, and I knew that if I didn’t hit the ground running, the momentum of restarting would be much tougher to summon than keeping active at whatever level I could manage. I don’t remember how many times I applied to 4Culture or other organizations for grants and exhibition opportunities, but the first years of paperwork yielded far more “thanks, but no thanks” than “congratulations!” letters. In any case, there were enough encouraging breaks to keep me going, and I had discovered a way of working on paper with graphite and gouache that made it possible for me to begin work at a moment’s notice, and to store away quickly as well (which, you can imagine, is a boon when taking care of two very little kids).

In late 2008, I found out that I had finally landed a spot to exhibit at 4Culture’s gallery for 2009. The experience was pivotal. The gallery is a beautiful space to begin with, and it is located in a spot where it is virtually impossible to be kicking your own heel at your opening. First Thursday in the Tashiro Kaplan triangular building and beyond always brings a solid flow of viewers. As an artist emerging in general or in Seattle as a city, this is invaluable. The people at 4Culture, on top of that, were a pleasure to work with, and relationships that were begun while I prepared and hung the show continue even now. If you can believe this, when my show, Overgrown, opened in April of 2009 I was fully pregnant again. With three sons, now, I am still working away, showing with G.Gibson Gallery, which is around the corner from 4Culture, and feeling very grateful for the help and support that 4Culture gave me at such a crucial time.


The Artist Opportunity for Gallery4Culture closes on January 6, 2014. Eligibility is limited to artists, artist teams, and independent curators who reside in King County, WA and are not represented by a commercial gallery at the time of application. Members of artist run collectives and cooperative galleries are eligible. Artists working in all media and genres are encouraged to apply, including those whose medium or method of work is under-represented in commercial galleries. Learn more and apply