For 20 years, Four Corners Gallery has provided fine art, custom framing and restoration, serving a critical piece of the creative process for many around Birmingham. How have you seen creativity embraced around Birmingham over the years?
Four Corners Gallery: Birmingham has always had an amazing amount of creative talent but has really blossomed in the last five to seven years. Maybe it was an inferiority complex we needed to overcome? The Great Recession certainly didn’t help. However, with downtown’s architectural revitalization and recent national accolades like Railroad Park’s Urban Land Institute award and James Beard award winners, not to mention the Museum’s Third Space exhibition and Sidewalk Film Festival’s notoriety, Birmingham is obviously awash in creativity. We have matured as an imaginative community. We are more confident and have become cheerleaders of our collective successes. It appears many local contemporary artists are producing more works with a strong sense of place and time as a result.
Like the Museum, Four Corners is dedicated to preserving important works of art. What have been some of your more memorable projects?
FCG: There are so many! It’s always a thrill to frame works by big name artists like Josef Albers, Benny Andrews, and Marc Chagall because we all get a little star struck. Framing AEIVA’s Andy Warhol collection for their inaugural exhibit was a big undertaking and very rewarding. We once framed a very large Radcliffe Bailey piece that included a lot of glitter. Glitter is always memorable because it shows up again and again, kind of like honey, you cannot get rid of it. We have also framed numerous items that wouldn’t be considered important to anyone other than the individual who brought them in. The stories behind them can be emotional, like the tornado shattered piece of auto glass held together by a University of Alabama “A” decal. Fortunately the owner wasn’t in his car when the tornado roared through. One client provided us with life-size Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise panel photos he’d taken and had printed on metal. We replicated the doors at over twelve-feet tall. The final work is absolutely breathtaking.
Four Corners is a loyal supporter of the BMA. Why do you choose to support arts and culture in Birmingham?
FCG: Supporting the Birmingham art scene is a natural extension of all we do. In addition to being designers and craftspeople, the Four Corners team is made up of fine artists, photographers, and musicians. Art is in our blood and we honor the richness it brings to our daily lives. I believe we all feel very fortunate to be making a living and serving our community while doing work we really enjoy doing.
If you could meet any artist, living or dead, who would it be? What would you ask them?
FCG: I am drawn to Wayne Thiebaud’s street and landscape paintings. Aside from his mastery of color, light, and texture, Thiebaud’s dramatic perspectives captivate me. I’m a sucker for San Francisco’s hills and the Bay Area’s beauty, so these works have me all in. Thiebaud is now 98 years old. In an interview with Smithsonian Magazine he said, “ … being American is a very important part of what I feel and do.” I don’t know if he’s still painting but if he is I would like to see how he interprets his Americanness today. I would ask him how he sees America in 2019. Is that the America he is currently painting?