Haven Gallery & Fine Gifts
The gallery does a nice job of mixing styles and types of artwork, all of it handmade
Reviewed by Rachel Koper, Fri., March 13, 2009
Haven Gallery & Fine Gifts
This year, I had the pleasure of getting on the bus for the annual Art Night Austin event put on by Art Alliance Austin. Buses stopped at Arthouse, the Austin Museum of Art, and several commercial galleries, with each venue featuring food from local restaurants to go with the art on display. I admit that I had no idea what was in Haven Gallery & Fine Gifts, and I am here to say it has good fine art in it; it's not all gifts. And if you go in looking for a gift, beware; you might come out with a piece of art for yourself. The gallery is crowded with items, and with some parsing, you can find some real gems.
Haven has more small-scale sculpture on display than other galleries in town. The wide range of items includes mosaics, wood, ceramics, bronzes, found objects, and blown glass. A blown-glass vase in off-whites and clear glass made by Leigh Taylor Wyatt of Wimberley caught my eye. Its lozenge shapes and stripes give it a stylish Seventies vibe, even though it's quite shiny and new.
The quality of all the ceramic work here is good. I was sucked in by some white porcelain sculptural lamps, particularly Large Coral Reef Light, by Canadian artist Lilach Lotan. I enjoy its repeated oceanic barnacle shapes and its matte finish. Its simplicity and white color is relaxing and allows me to look at the neat inner glow and transparencies within the form as whole. Some of these delicate and well-made lamps look like ruffles, and some look like barnacles, but they all provide a burst of texture. As I wandered around, I noticed Lotan's humorous side on display in vases that have a zipper carved into them, opening up the tops of the vessels. These are similarly understated in solid black or white but contain a surrealist or pop aesthetic.
I was happy to see Darvin Jones had a couple of his pop-art paintings up as well. These look a bit like graphic design, but he can paint happy "la grunge" if he wants. (That's the trend where you overlay lots of fonts, drips, and swirls to create a shape, like the drippy Comedy Central logo.) Jones uses a limited palette of mostly blue and white and creates some soft movements across the composition.
Hung in the same room and also blue are Rebecca Bennett's monochromatic abstracted landscapes. In paintings such as Morning Mist, a wet-on-wet oil on canvas, the layers of gradations from dark Prussian to robin's egg are evenhanded, and the surface texture is pleasingly consistent. It's mindless in a dreamy Zen way.
The gallery does a nice job of mixing styles and types of artwork, all handmade but not all local. Its displays are well put together in small, almost themed groupings. It's nice to see a shop with paintings and sculpture at inspirational prices.