A Gallerist at the Helm of Dallas’s Burgeoning Arts Community

“Right now the scene is pretty hot in Dallas,” says Wanda Dye, an architect-turned-gallerist whose space, RE Gallery, is located alongside the dealer-curator James Cope’s new space in Dallas’s Cedars district. A residential outpost of downtown Dallas with a peaceful, rural feel, Cedars is fast gaining traction as a hub for artists and architects. With the Dallas Art Fair now in its sixth edition and Cope, fresh from a two-year stint at Chelsea’s Marlborough Gallery, moving into the neighborhood, Cedars is attracting a reputation as a burgeoning nucleus of innovation. This resourcefulness is reflected in Dye’s gallery, which is housed in a renovated shotgun-style home. “The gallery is in the front and I live in the back,” she told Artsy, “which makes it very easy to keep the space efficient and yet personable.” 

Dye’s passion for giving artists a platform and cultivating their careers came later on in life: “I taught and practiced architecture for almost 20 years before deciding to open a gallery,” she says. “One could say I was burnt out on academia. In 2010 I was starting the gallery as a kind of side research project to teaching with pop-up shows, and I fell in love with it. I was showing student work alongside artists and designers in the community, with a particular focus on found or re-purposed materials, hence the name RE gallery.” This generous, DIY mentality seems to pervade the community at large in Cedars—which was named after its native Cedar trees. Several of the artists Dye represents, like Kelly Kroener and Eli Walker, live and work in Cedars; Kroener and Walker, graduates of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, also run a gallery in their home, known as Homeland Security. 

If you’re attending Dallas Art Fair this week, you’ll find Dye there representing her entire roster of 11 artists; each will have a work on display at the RE Gallery booth. “Some of these include experimentation in various media, materials, and processes,” she says. “For example, painting with joint compound as in Travis LaMothe’s work, or creating three-dimensional drawings from rayon thread, as in Rebecca Carter’s work.” Carter, whose work is also on view in the artist’s current exhibition at the gallery’s main space, will show Night City at the booth—a thread drawing that maps the architecture of the artist’s sleep over 40 days. Other highlights include Eli Walker’s large, convex painting depicting an abstract view from the memory of a boat ride on a Kentucky lake; and Lily Hanson’s Retainer, made from foam, cotton jersey, rope, and wood. But Wanda Dye won’t stop there; she plans to extend her work beyond RE Gallery this year. “In 2014 I would like to expand some of the programming of the gallery, such as acquiring temporary satellite spaces for more experimental projects and installations,” she says. Stay tuned.    

Explore the RE Gallery booth at the Dallas Art Fair on Artsy. 

Explore the Dallas Art Fair on Artsy.