Monday, May 12, 2008


I have a very hard time describing my artistic style, especially when approaching a gallery or other artists. I paint in oil, acrylic, oil pastels... I paint abstracts, representational, some realism. I also do mixed media and collage. So... difficult to describe my style to anyone. And since my work is so varied, it is also difficult to decide what to submit to galleries. I definitely try to match the style of the venue, but that doesn't always help me to narrow it down.

I was advised by a gallery one time to submit 3-5 cohesive works... meaning works that were of the same style and went well together. That in itself is difficult. What if I choose something I like, that I really want to showcase but it goes against their grain? What if other works of mine would have fit their criteria but I failed to choose the right ones?

I have recently had a bad gallery experience. I chose the unorthodox option of taking 3 items in that were completely different. That, however, was not something they found fault with. I had read their regulations and put wire on the back of the paintings, along with felt discs on the corners to protect their walls. And I carried them in. The woman who did the intake was mortified that I did not have them wrapped. I put a protective coating of some sort on all of my work, and she pretty much had a cow that the oil painting was not wrapped... lecturing about how it's an oil painting and it can't be handled. She also had an issue with the way I put the wire on the backs, though I put it on the same way I've seen on a million paintings, and I made sure to be extra careful to not have anything protruding to harm the walls. This woman also made the point to ask, more than once, "when we don't jury you in, will you be able to pick up your pieces tonight? we don't want to be responsible for another artist's work"... so, when I was called a bit later and told I was not juried in, it was no real surprise. Not a surprise, but quite painful nonetheless.

The only surprise to me was that another member of the 'board' had recommended I bring my work in and said there was no reason that it would not be accepted.

So... how corrupt is our system? I felt completely victimized. I felt like that woman was on some sort of power trip and their jurying system was very political, and very flawed.


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