Interview with Carey L. Vose

By Caroline Browne on March 18, 2022

Pictured: Carey L. Vose, Gallery Director of Vose Galleries

In this week’s blog we are delighted to feature an interview with the director of Vose Galleries and juror of awards for Co|So’s 2022 Winter Members Show, Carey L. Vose. Carey is the sixth generation of her family to lead the gallery, joining her parents Abbot and Marcia Vose in the family firm in 2002. Like many of the generations before her, Carey started coming into the gallery at a young age. She studied both studio art and art history at the University of Maine with a concentration in foundry work and welding, while helping at Vose events and interning at the gallery.

During her tenure as gallery director, Carey has been instrumental in showcasing New England contemporary realist artists at Vose Galleries for the first time after a forty year hiatus. She has served on a number of juries for fine art exhibitions across New England, on the Museum Council at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and on the board of the Friends of Fenway Studios in Boston.

What is it like working at a gallery with such a rich history and a multi-generational family connection?

I always had a strong interest in art, and growing up, my family would go to a number of museums, galleries, artist studios, and client homes frequently, so we were constantly surrounded by beautiful artwork as well as art enthusiasts. As we got older, we would visit New York City during American Art Week, where we would see literally thousands of paintings at the galleries and auctions there, honing our eye without even realizing it. I also have very fond memories of walking through the stacks at the Metropolitan Museum with my parents, covering up the labels (and signature) and attempting to identify each artist just through the composition, subject matter, and brushwork, with my parents coaching us on specific traits for each artist.

Pictured: The Vose Gallery at 559 Boylston Street, opened in June of 1924

Do you have a favorite or preferred artistic medium?

I really don’t – I have a wide appreciation for many different mediums, and as a fine arts major in college, my passion was creating bronze pieces through the lost wax process in our foundry on campus, but I also did some welding, blacksmithing and glass blowing. I have a great appreciation for artists that create two dimensional works as well, whether it be oil paintings, watercolors, pastels, or charcoal drawings, as that is what we mainly handle at the gallery.

Pictured: One of Carey Vose’s Selections as Juror for the Members Show: Winter Colors

First Prize: Ginny Zanger, CA, Walk in the Arboretum II, watercolor on Yupo paper, 28 x 28”, SOLD

How would you define your curatorial process?

We work as a team at the gallery to decide which pieces we decide to take in for sale, as I really do like to get everyone’s input. It is a complex process, and it is aided by the previous five generations before me honestly, as we have a long history of handling hundreds of American artists as far back as the 1860’s, many of whom we handled during their lifetimes. The quality of any given piece is the most important consideration, as well as condition with the antique paintings.

Pictured: One of Carey Vose’s Selections as Juror for the Members Show: Winter Colors

Second Prize: Laurinda O’Connor, CA, Spring Snow, pastel, 22 x 18”

In your tenure, you have juried a number of fine art exhibitions across New England. Could you describe your jurying process? What elements do you look for in an award-winning work of art?

Generally, composition and quality are the key factors regardless of the medium, subject matter, size, etc. Initially, I tend to weed out any works that are not presented in a professional manner, as that is important. Secondly, I walk through to see which works have the ‘wow’ factor, for one reason or another – which pieces draw you in for a closer look. That being said, I find subtlety and simplicity in any medium equally as important, as well as an artist using a particular medium in a new and intriguing way.

Pictured: One of Carey Vose’s Selections as Juror for the Members Show: Winter Colors

Third Prize: Leslie Baker, CM, Falling Out of Grey I, oil on canvas on cradled birch panel, 32 x 40”

What is your advice to aspiring artists and gallerists?

My father told me that in his tenure at the gallery, he witnessed over 250 galleries come and go in Boston alone between 1970 – 2010. I think for aspiring gallerists, reputation is paramount, so being knowledgeable about the type of artwork that you specialize in is essential. Equally important is having a good business sense, which also goes for artists as well, as the most successful artists work extremely hard not only at their craft, but they also make sure to get their work out there and shown in a variety of venues, including juried shows. They make the time/effort to market their work in a professional manner and make a name for themselves, which is valuable to gallerists and dealers when looking to take on new artist.

Pictured: Carey L. Vose and Courtney Kopplin examine details on the verso of a painting

What is coming up at Vose Galleries that we can share?

This spring, we will not only have a bevy of brand new, fresh antique paintings, but we will be doing a feature on Lexington-based master pastelist Janet Monafo. Janet is able to capture figures and still life objects in a truly unique and masterful way.

Later this year, in November, we will be having our third major show of the works of Don Demers. Don will be visiting a number of historic artist communities around New England, which will coincide with an exhibition of antique paintings that were also painted at the various art colonies around New England at the turn of the 20th century.

View juror Carey L. Vose’s award-winning selections and many other fantastic works in our Members Show: Winter Colors, on view at the Copley Society of Art and virtually through Saturday, March 26th.