Ecce Gallery Celebrates New Location with Group Exhibition “Look Both Ways”
Photos by Hillary Ehlen
For the past decade, the ecce gallery has organized the downtown Fargo community. Since its inception, ecce has been a gathering place for established artists, emerging artists, patrons, collectors and spectators. In November 2017, gallery director Mark Weiler announced to a receptive audience that ecce would be moving from Broadway to the historic Loudon building before finally moving to his new space at Roberts Commons. On April 12, 2018, the beloved art gallery celebrated the opening of its RoCo location with a group show titled âLook Both Waysâ.
Preparation of the opening of the collective exhibition
The new Ecce Gallery location opened on the evening of Thursday, April 12, 2018 with a group exhibition featuring works by local artists Andrew Stark, Dan Jones, Jay Pfeifer, Mike Marth, Tessa Beck, Bob Crowe, Meghan Duda, Mollie Douthit, Zhimin Guan, Warren Kessler, Kelly Thompson, Pirjo Berg and Zoran Mojsilov.
On the day of the show, Weiler seemed calm and serene, although his composure contained a hint of excitement as he and his assistants prepared for the event. We had previously had an exclusive meeting with Weiler, during which he gave an insight into the meaning of the name of the exhibition, âLook Both Waysâ.
âThe location is the opposite of where ecce was, so it’s symbolic in that sense. The show is all about looking at things from different angles and understanding things from different points of view. It’s also a little ironic that the alley is one-way, âWeiler explained.
Enjoy the evening of the event
Shortly after the gallery’s name and hours of operation were displayed in vinyl lettering on the glass door, guests began to pour into the 500-square-foot space. In no time it was filled from wall to wall of familiar and new, yet curious faces. Interestingly enough, the closeness has encouraged people to converse, whether or not they have known each other for many years or are only meeting for the first time. Unlike some shows in which guests keep respectful distances from each other and whisper in low voices, conversations take place, in some cases with the artist himself participating in the discussion.
Make local art more accessible to everyone
Although the new location deviates a bit from ecce’s record of calling historic buildings home, the clean walls and concrete floor create the perfect setting for future exhibits. âWith ecce, we have always had these majestic, grand and decadent spaces. I wanted to do a full 180 and do something succinct, modern and shiny, âWeiler said.
Having a smaller physical footprint will allow ecce to focus on making local art accessible to more people. Tessa Beck, longtime assistant at ecce gallery, said: âI feel so good in this space and in the new direction that we are entering. With downsizing, we are looking for mobility and flexibility. The sizing will allow us to be much more selective with the works that we choose. We can do smaller shows that run more frequently.
Weiler will also have the opportunity to devote more time and energy to expanding ecce’s online archives. Visiting eccegallery.com/artists, the public can browse all the artists ever presented to ecce and see high resolution images of their current and past works. The website also provides key information about each part, including its title, year of manufacture, carrier, and exact dimensions. Customers can see specific pieces in person by making an appointment.
âThe space itself is so active and so warm. It’s going to feel that way for every opening just because of the space reduction. It’s nice to see so many people supporting us already. The last six months have been a lot of transition, and we’ve been fortunate to have such a support group around us, âsaid Beck. It was the first time that his work as a photographer was presented in an exhibition in ecce.
At the height of the event, Weiler gave a short speech thanking everyone for coming to celebrate the opening of ecce’s new RoCo space and âLook Both Waysâ.
New neighbors and upcoming exhibitions
With their newfound flexibility, Weiler would love to be able to travel with shows to expose even more people to local artists and their work. He is also looking forward to welcoming their new neighbors, as ecce was the first to open in the building. âThe idea was to connect all of these businesses within a hundred feet,â Weiler said. For our part, we look forward to having a cup of coffee and discovering the next ecce exhibitions.