Gallery Espresso, a popular downtown Savannah café, has served as a hub for creativity for more than two decades.
“I believe the coffeehouse culture in general has always promoted a bohemian or artistic atmosphere,” says artist Juliana Peloso, a longtime Gallery Espresso employee who curates monthly exhibits at the venue. “With SCAD in town as well, the majority of our employees are students or alumni.”
“House Blend,” a group show on display through Jan. 4, unites 14 artists who work behind the counter, bake pastries or simply hang out at Gallery Espresso. Armed with college degrees in fields ranging from fine art to geology, the café’s talented employees don’t just grind beans, steam milk and pull espresso shots.
“It’s always nice to show the talent behind the faces you see making your coffee everyday,” says Peloso. “I hope people enjoy the diversity of the work.”
Highlights include Rachel Roswell’s edgy mixed-media collages, Matt Lim’s gravity-defying glass sculpture, Peloso’s exquisite oil paintings, and Christine Forbes’s meditative photography.
The exhibit offers a breezy mix of whimsical and thought-provoking work, appealing to various tastes. On the lighter side, Simon Cooper’s music-themed paintings, like “Piano Bar” and “The Afternoon,” are defined by clean geometry, vibrant primary colors and angular black outlines.
By contrast, Aaron Unser’s prints and pen and ink drawings explore the dark side, invoking symbolic imagery like coiled snakes and daggers in richly detailed compositions. In a nod to neo-gothic style, Nea Hannah embellishes tiny black canvases with white thread hand-stitched in the shape of skulls, butterflies and moons.
Although the “House Blend” artists are based in Savannah, their subject matter ranges far and wide. William Palmer takes viewers on an architectural photo tour of Germany’s U-Bahn subway stations in Munich and Stuttgart, while abstract artist Christopher Kubick offers a more internal journey, using acrylic paint and charcoal to craft raw, kinetic fields of color.
With a range of styles and media, “House Blend” offers a wide selection of original work to start an art collection or to infuse new life into an existing portfolio.
“I like to encourage clients to take a chance with purchasing art and supporting up and coming artists,” says Peloso. “It’s a critical part in the completion of the creative process for the artist and helps drive the creative culture of our city.”
IF YOU GO
What: “House Blend,” group exhibit featuring Gallery Espresso staff and friends
When: Through Jan. 4
Where: Gallery Espresso, 234 Bull St.
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
For more information: 912-233-5348