img_7471Gregg Quinn Irby was born to admire art. The daughter of South Carolina artist, Blanche Quinn, Gregg was enchanted by the imagery, light and colors that she was introduced to as a child. Her appreciation for art was nurtured over the years into adulthood as she was exposed to all genres in various studios, collections, galleries and museums. Gregg became a collector with a unique interest in emerging artists whose talent and potential she quickly developed an eye to recognize.

With her art studies at Hollins University, a business degree from The University of South Carolina and an MBA from Georgia State University, Gregg spent several years working in the marketing and research fields, but remained dedicated to art. Her dream of owning a gallery began to coalesce into a vision that could be realized when she sought specific emerging artists to represent as a side-job to her marketing career. She held shows in her home and in friends’ homes before taking the shows on the road to other Southeastern cities in collaboration with local art hostesses. Gregg’s discerning eye for artists on the road to recognition began to be validated with one successful show after another. Her non-traditional, low-key approach to presenting affordable art in relaxing, gracious and non-intimidating settings led to the niche market she commands today.

img_7565By 2006, Gregg’s personal passion to acquire works by emerging artists became so pervasive that her collection came to exceed the wall space of her Buckhead home. She was ready for her gallery dream to come true with a space for Gregg Irby Fine Arts (GIFA). Her vision was crystal clear: Gregg wanted a comfortable, accessible, cheerful and cozy cottage as her gallery space.

Gregg found the perfect spot, a quiet haven in Buckhead behind the historic Sardis Methodist Church on Powers Ferry Road, a block off Roswell Road. Sardis United Methodist Church is Atlanta’s oldest sustained congregation, conducting services on the present site since 1812 on land that was originally part of the Creek Nation. Some of the graves in the Sardis cemetery, adjacent to the gallery are pre-Civil War, dating as far back as 1830 and including Henry Irby, the noted founder of Buckhead.

<br />

Gregg selected the spot — on the spot. Unconventionally located beside an historic cemetery, Gregg Irby Fine Arts Gallery was born in the shadows of angels and ancestors. The radiant light that fills the gallery defies its “shadow” setting as it highlights tomorrow’s artistic talent – today across a variety of contemporary genres. Most, but not all, of Irby represented artists are located in the Southeast.

Despite the splendid gallery setting and abundance of art on-site, Irby still travels to select Southeastern cities including Charlotte, Nashville, Jacksonville, Columbia, and other markets where she hosts “Artists on the Road to Recognition” events.

Now showing at GIFA:  Solo Show Featuring Sally King Benedict: “From Scratch”

Gregg Irby first discovered Sally King Benedict through an existing GIFA artist who showed her an image of one of Sally’s paintings. Irby, who reviews artists’ work weekly, and selects only one artist for every one hundred she views on average, was instantly drawn to Sally’s work. In November 2008, Irby visited Sally’s Charleston studio and returned to Atlanta loaded with art. “Sally is a perfect example of an important emerging artist whose work can still be purchased affordably, which is really our specialty,” said Irby.

Benedict, a native Atlantan who now lives and works in Charleston, was recently accepted into the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and will be attending in the fall of 2009. SAIC’s Master of Fine Arts program consistently ranks number one alongside Rhode Island School of Design and Yale University.  She was also recently featured as an emerging artist on the website, phillipsARTexpert, and has developed a following in Charleston, Atlanta and New York City, where press attention has continued to focus on her abstract oil and charcoal on canvas, or linen.

<br />

Of, “From Scratch,” Benedict says, “For these works, I’ve used expressive scrawls and scribbles from my collection of old textbooks and scraps of paper to create unexpected substance and energy. I find that my work is going in a more abstract direction, although I am using imagery from my formative years. My Atlanta roots and my life in Charleston have also influenced me. Atlanta is so urban and modern and Charleston is traditional,” added Benedict.

Details: The gallery is open to the public on Tuesday, Thursday’s and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and at other times by appointment and is located behind Sardis Methodist Church in Buckhead at 3275 Powers Ferry Road, Building A, Atlanta, GA, 30342. Telephone: 404-941-9787, [email protected], Irby’s collection of affordable art is best suited for aspiring collectors and established collectors who welcome imminent investments, beauty and, sometimes, whimsy. Additionally, Gregg Irby Fine Arts (GIFA) offers complimentary in-home and in-office consultations, lends art to decorators and collectors for trial display, and hosts numerous art events on-site annually. GIFA also lends her space for meetings and gatherings to community, social, and non-profit groups as a place to gather for inspiration. Coming Soon: Fresh! Group Show featuring Erin McIntosh, Blanche Quinn, Sara Cameli, and Erin Gregory. Mix with the artists: Thursday, May 14, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Gallery photos and Gregg Irby photo by Austen Risolvato

Terri Evans

Terri Evans

Terri Evans is 25+year marketing communications professional, a partner at LeslieEvansCreative and Bcauz marketing (cause-related). She has been a food columnist for Atlanta Intown and Atlanta Buckhead newspapers, and a contributing writer for Georgia Magazine, the Atlanta Business Chronicle and other publications. Evans was also a finalist in a Southern Living cooking competition. She is (and has long been) at work on a novel set in the South (of Georgia) and the South (of France). She's always cookin' up somethin'.