Ambera Wellmann Is Now Jointly Represented by Company Gallery and Hauser & Wirth in Second ‘Collective Impact’ Collaboration

The Nova Scotia–born, New York–based figurative painter Ambera Wellmann is the second artist to join gallery giant Hauser & Wirth as part of its new “collective impact” initiative in which the gallery closely collaborates with the artist’s current representative, in Wellmann’s case, New York’s Company Gallery.

“I developed an interest in Ambera’s work and, in discussions with her, and then with Sophie [Morner, the owner of Company Gallery], I thought [collaboration] would serve the artist better, as well as support a gallery that is doing a great job in New York,” Hauser & Wirth co-president Marc Payot told ARTnews.

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A multi-colored oil painting showing a dancer at the center in a brown frame against a dark green wall.

Morner, who opened Company in 2015, said of Wellmann, that “a joint partnership will be the strongest way to support her career right now.”

Wellmann, who is in her early forties and whose paintings depict abstracted bodies intertwined in erotic scenarios, joined Company in 2020 and had her first solo show there the following year. Since then, she has had solo exhibitions at Pond Society, the Shanghai space run by collector Yang Bin, the Metropolitan Art Centre in Belfast, Ireland, and, last April, at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, a private museum founded by collector Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in 1995.

A portrait of Ambera Wellmann, 2023.

Photo by Christian DeFonte/Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth, and Company Gallery

Morner said she was attracted to the idea of a closely collaborative representation because she’s been interested in new gallery models and how younger galleries like her own can continue to work with artists as they grow.

“If anyone is going to change these gallery models, it’s the galleries like Hauser & Wirth,” Morner said. “If the bigger galleries start thinking outside the box about what is best for the artists. Because it’s not always best for the artists to leave a young gallery for a big one.”

Company has proved to be one of the more ambitious spaces to open in New York over the past decade. In 2021 Morner moved Company from its original modest space in downtown Manhattan, to a 4,000-square-foot, stand-alone space on Elizabeth Street nearby in Chinatown. She said she sees her gallery as “constantly growing and expanding.” At the same time, at least one artist has departed. The new space opened with an exhibition of work by Barbara Hammer, curated by gallery artist Tiona Nekkia McClodden. Shortly afterward, McClodden left Company for a larger gallery, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, and then an even larger one, White Cube.

Payot characterizes the collective impact initiative as an “entrepreneurial model” that he hopes will “support an ecosystem,” before adding that he would be happy if it is copied by other large galleries.

“I don’t see myself as having created something that unique. It hopefully will change some structures within our system,” he said.

Payot added that working with Nicola Vassell on Uman, the first shared artist in the initiative, at last week’s Art Basel Miami Beach fair “went incredibly well, and that in itself is a message true to the art world that things can maybe done a little bit differently.”

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