A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a talk by a juror for an annual fine art show in a local gallery. The juror was Jennifer Sudul Edwards, who works as the curator of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. In Charlotte, NC.
Mrs Edwards had chosen 76 pieces of art by 50 artists out of a large pool of submissions for the 62 annual juried exhibition of the Durham Art Guild. Two of my art quilts were included!
In her talk she addressed the reasons why she is drawn to a particular style (mainly contemporary art), why she loves “hand-made” art, and what had fascinated her of the particular art pieces she had selected for the exhibition.
And then the almost unthinkable happened: she asked the individual artists about their thoughts about their piece(s). Frankly, quite a number of artists – some of them mature – stumbled. Trying to come up with words to describe their art, not knowing how to articulate their inspiration for their own art work or the purpose this specific piece serves. Lots of ahh’s and uuuhm’s. Incomplete sentences. I’m sure some people were nervous speaking in public, but most of them simply didn’t know what to say.
However, there were also some artists who seemed to be prepared. Clearly, they enjoyed the chance to share more information about their art work. After Mrs. Edwards presentation those were the artists who had the most people gathered around them to ask even more questions. Those were the artists who handed out business cards. Definitely, those were the artists who made the most of this tiny opportunity to put their work in a 60-second spotlight!
What about me and my two art quilts? Typically, I write down a few sentences about the inspiration for a piece, its background story or the meaning of a particular series. When being put on the spot I have words to go by. Most viewers connect with an art piece based on its visual impact. However, knowing the story of a piece, in particular when it is abstract, helps the viewer to “make sense” of it. Having words allows the viewer and the artist to engage in a conversation and provides the opportunity to establish a relationship. After all, my goal as an artist is to form a bond between me, my art work, and the viewer.
Hence – just in case I get the opportunity – I better come prepared.
You can find the story for “Wall of Shame” on my website http://soularpowerfabricart.com/wall-of-shame/
and “Crossing Borders” here http://soularpowerfabricart.com/crossing-borders/