Good thing they did because red is my favorite color. But before we learn our colors, we must learn our numbers and what interesting numbers they are. Juried shows are a gamblers game at best. Three jurors looked at 320 entries and chose 71 pieces by 50 artists. The upcoming Stark Arthology book chose 69 artists. Only 10 of them are represented in both places. At the MassMu show, 21 artists have two or more pieces included. In the interest of staying within my 1000 word limit, I shall refer you to my January 16, 2010 posting about last year’s show.
Comment number one: ditto. 21 of 71 were photographs or digital media.
Comment number two: ditto. One would be fine, sometimes two if the work is sufficiently different.
My initial view of the show lasted a mere 5 minutes as my husband got called into work so we left in a hurry. On Tuesday, I went back for a leisurely hour and a half stroll through the gallery to really gather my thoughts. I do need to learn to write much neater. One juror is up front in pointing out that all art is subjective. A second juror said that all three reviewed the submissions carefully remarking on the diversity of entries. A third juror had no comment. I got the impression that they did not agree too often hence the multiple entries by one artist and the diverse content overall. Diversity is great, good diversity is even better! Does the show have some gems?...absolutely. My “award” winners’ list does not match theirs but art is subjective remember. Does it have some clunkers?...you betcha. Will you find some new names and new styles?....of course. Will you notice some MIA’s?.....yes. Another number for you, 6 of the 10 winners last year are not even in the show this year. Maybe they sat this one out. But whatever the reasons “one day you’re in and one day you’re out” as Heidi Klum likes to say, so let’s have a look at the second 2010 show (It came a bit quick this year with the last one this past January and the entries due this past August…which could be a reason too).
Back to the issue of red, I counted (…ya know, for a right brainer, I sure like my numbers) 36 pieces that used red as the accent or had red and red related colors as the element that made the work successful. I also counted 7 pieces that had a fascination with eyeballs which was rather creepy. All but one of my award winners used red. I will get to them in a minute. Let’s discuss the things I found to be not on my list, but in my book which can be either good or bad. For you Project Runway fans, it means your score has qualified you to move on to the next round.
Question…how come there was a statement or explanation sheet with the flashlight piece, but not with the condoms? Why does only one work get its story told and the rest are left to our own conclusions? If a few more had had some words to share, perhaps I would not have written down that one of the pieces in the show could be a school project for history class. As far as photography, except for the always astonishing and ginormous work (don’t bother spell checking that word) of Stephen McNulty, (who I would say needs his own show but that’s coming next month), the rest of it is a bit lost to me as I like to see media arts without the interference of small black and white or photo realistic images. (Art is subjective and so is viewing remember!). I prefer my photos in a cluster for easier appreciation and comparison. A few artists have shows coming up so I am skipping over them too for now. Reading from my chicken scratch, I wrote: Patty Z. Parker dates her work! The large tapestry style work is so true to her imagery but sans elaborate frame or canvas restraint, I like the change. Carl Alessandro, Sunset 1 is better of the two though they are one “piece” so he as two in the show but three pieces….get it? Sunset 1 could become 6 fully developed drawings as they contain enough intrigue in each of the split sections to warrant further exploration. I like the humor in how Niki A’s photo is hung over Carl A’s drawing so one looks at the other. Carol Mendenhall consistently delivers with a complete package of imagery and presentation. The framing, mats, textures, scale and image are always so well done, many could learn. Laurie G-F Harbert’s “Divergence” held my attention for quite some time. When a piece can be turned 90 degrees several times over and continue to deliver new meaning, I call that a successful endeavor. Scott Philips’ pieces reminded me of Ashley Barlow's work. My notes go on but since I am closing in on my word count, time to pass out the awards.
My best in show would go to Amber Schafer for “Upholstered” which has layers upon layers of allusions to space as well as to the media and title. The upholstery tacks and slide casings are well thought out. I also adore Marcy (spelled it right) Axelband’s “Woman with Orange Stripe” which uses a simple edge for the figure broken only by the hint of a nipple that is then accentuated by the beads in her hair, stark and striking at the same time. Clare Murray Adams gets one too for “Interiors”, a mixed media grouping that replicate rocks with zippers but with implied depth that is more than just visual. I would have liked to have bought just one as they fascinated me so. The use of a rust colored pastel paper for Brian Robinson’s works just makes them sparkle with energy as the glints of rust peak through the greens and golds. As a newbie to pastels…..his technique is inspiring. Erin Mulligan’s “The Ravens Drive Trucks” is funny in a Stephen King sort of way. Part circus poster, part creep show, I felt it could have been on the set of HBO’s Carnivale. A mirror inside the frame alone would be awesome. Her talents are being wasted here in the Midwest. And finally, the sculpture of Tom Migge entitled “Neighbors”. It is a completely red stained plywood garden grouping of blooms that are more like broken arrows and pomegranates with just a hint of Audrey II.
Congrats to all who got accepted and to those who won awards. We are so very fortunate to have the MassMu in our midst and their support of the local arts scene.