In addition to displaying spectacular naturalist photography at their space in Venice, G2 Gallery owners Susan and Daniel Gottlieb are driven by the desire to, well, save the planet. “Boundless Vision,” the current exhibition, brings together some of world’s foremost photographers who are tied together by a common ideal: to promote conservation and education in order to preserve some of the world’s most beautiful and irreplaceable natural locales.
G2 is essentially a philanthropic endeavor. The Gottliebs, who own the building, pay all of the gallery’s expenses and operating costs, from staff salaries to the lighting bill. The gallery works on a typical consignment model – 50 percent of sales revenue goes to the artist, 50 percent to the gallery. However, the Gottliebs donate every dollar they receive to environmental and conservationist organizations. At the moment, their primary charity is the Friends of Ballona Wetlands, an organization with over 55,000 volunteers that for 30 years has worked to protect our local wetlands.
Other charities on the Gotllies’ radar include the Theodore Payne Foundation for National Plants and Wild Flowers, The Jane Goodall Institute, and the Cougar Fund, the latter dedicated to saving the endangered North American cougar. The Gottliebs don’t have a particular pecking order when it comes to their donations; although they are heavily involved with the Friends of Ballona Wetlands (Susan is on their Board of Directors), as a particular issue or organization comes to their attention, they donate accordingly.
A statement on G2’s website reads: “The G2 Gallery was founded in order to promote the appreciation and conservation of our natural environment through photography and other art forms. To this end, the G2 Gallery showcases nature photography by today’s most gifted artists, and partners with local and international conservation and educational organizations, donating all proceeds to environmental charities.”
Susan and gallery curator Jolene Hanson gave the Mirror a tour of the gallery, and their enthusiasm for both the gallery’s social causes and the art itself was infectious. The current show features notable photographers Larry Ulrich, Jim Stimson, Marc Meunch, David Meunch, Thomas D. Mangelsen, Frans Lanting, and Jack Dykinga. Ms. Hanson stressed the fact that other than typical photographic processes such as “dodging and burning,” the images are largely unmanipulated.
The images on display provide a stunning range of taste and style. Some photos are so vivid the viewer feels part of the image in front of him. Photographs take on an almost otherworld quality, while still others are almost abstract in their composition. It would not be inappropriate to suggest that some of the images create a kind of photographic Rorschach test, with each viewer projecting an element of his or her own subconscious onto the work.
In addition to exhibiting renowned photographers, G2 also employs a jury selection process and often conceptualizes shows out of the best work submitted at any given time. The jury process and open submission policy also allows G2 to find and promote lesser-known talent. G2 has managed to link its social mission with great (non-propaganda) art. The power of the images is the best argument for preserving the natural beauty that is sadly disappearing from our planet at an alarming rate.
The G2 Gallery is located at 1503 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice. For more information call 310.452.2842 or visit theg2gallery.com