Every artist has heard this: Never allow your work to be validated by a single gallery or a single show. Never give up on a work you believe in (also the subject of my February 20 post). Something else to understand: The most academic definition of ‘politics’ is, “The study of relationships”. As soon as an artist leaves the studio to show their work, they begin forming relationships. Whether they want to or not.
Pictured here are my three works exhibited as part of the local art club’s annual competition, one of which received a First Place within category. Yes, thank you very much.
The work on the upper left, ‘Ace of Wands’, is a favorite of a couple colleagues – one of my favorites too, as far as that goes. It was created as part of another gallery’s Tarot card exhibit. My wife says it’s the best work I’ve ever done. As the photo here shows, no award.
The large work on the bottom, 'A Walk In Peace Time' was selected by a collection of friends and artists as the best of a group works I was debating producing for exhibit. I don’t always go with the most popular work (history is filled with art that was initially rejected by the art hierarchy, and one of my inspirations is Picasso’s ‘Ladies of Avignon’, so unpopular in the moment it actually drove most of his friends away and sat in a corner of his studio for nine years; it’s now on display at a small gallery in Paris called The Louvre). But I’m glad I did because it came out just gorgeous! Something of a departure, I had it framed in barn wood and it is really, really striking. I produced it specifically for this exhibit. As is clear, however, no award.
The work on the upper right, with the First Place ribbon on it, was a throw in. I was trying to make a point.
For its annual competition this year, the local art club created a new category it called ‘Photography B’ to include original photography edited by computer. ‘Marked Down Man’ , a recent work, was computer edited in at least a half-dozen ways, but those edits were applied so subtly it’s nearly undetectable. It sold almost immediately after I showed it on-line in February, which actually supersedes any ribbon, and my buyers graciously allowed me to exhibit it here before taking delivery. My point was to illustrate to the art club how dysfunctional this computer phobia of theirs is. And they gave it first place!! And gave awards to nothing else in category!!
This is how the kooky, wacky world of art works.
Hey, I’ll take any First Place I can get and thank the local art club profusely! They may not really understand the new category they’ve created – c’mon, a ‘computer edited’ category that only awarded the least obvious ‘computer edited’ work submitted. (In all fairness, it was the judge the club brought in, not the club itself, that made the selections, and the judge, while certainly having good credentials, showed a remarkable lack of diverse understanding for styles beyond her own) But that’s their issue. And it does me no good to internalize it or fixate on it myself (not that I haven’t). All I can do – my end of the relationship – is keep creating.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.