Monday, May 7, 2007

Try, try again

I was fortunate enough to be invited to serve as a juror last month for the exhibit “Arts In Bloom” at the Cultural Arts Alliance in Hopkinton, MA, along with Susan Stoops, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Worcester Art Museum, and Norman Law, a painter and printmaker from Walpole, MA.

Although there was a selection of compelling entries to the show, the three of us jurors were immediately drawn to a colorful landscape called “The Amber Sunset” by watercolorist Crist Filer. We were impressed by the painting’s bold color scheme and intrigued by its implied narrative. While we carefully considered each of the works that had been submitted, it was a unanimous decision for us to award this painting “Best In Show.”

In a conversation yesterday with the gallery’s director, I was fascinated to learn that Mr. Filer had entered this same painting in the Cultural Arts Alliance’s juried show last year, and that the work had been rejected!

Herein lies a lesson for all exhibiting artists, I believe. It is easy to forget that reactions to works of art are subjective. It is hard not to take the rejection of one’s work as a personal rejection.

But in the studio, we artists must remember to remain true to ourselves. And when it comes to the business of exhibiting our art, like everything else in life, persistence pays off. If you are sure a work or a series is good, don’t let one “no” deter you (or even a few “no’s,” or even a truckload of “no’s”). Keep applying for shows, grants, residencies, etc., until you get a “yes.”

If Mr. Filer had taken “no” for an answer last year, the other two jurors and I, not to mention all of the appreciative visitors to the 2007 “Arts In Bloom” show, never would have had the pleasure of viewing the awesome “Amber Sunset”!

In continuing with my “golden oldies” theme from yesterday’s blog, the painting shown at the top of this entry is “Turmeric,” a painting I made in 1996 (while in graduate school), of acrylic, oil stick, and fabric collaged on stretched canvas, approximately 45” high and 42” wide.

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