thoughts on juried shows

JailbirdFor the past few years I have submitted pieces to more than a few juried shows.  I look at each rejection as a critique of my work, albeit one without words.  Why was it rejected?  What were the criteria? What was the judge or curator looking for?  Is this my best work?

If this is all you have to go on as an artist it can be very frustrating.  I am lucky enough to have a group of artist friends who are happy to critique my work – to tell me what works and what doesn’t work.  And in each case, they are absolutely right. 

The last few printmaking classes that I took were critique classes. Each quarter, you were given the floor to show the class your latest work. The class would point out what they liked, what they didn’t, ask questions, suggest changes or new techniques.  It was so helpful and improved my printmaking by leaps and bounds.

Some of my most beautiful and detailed work is not my best as an artist.   This can be so disappointing because these pieces can take forever to get them just right — to have them glanced over and set aside is so difficult.

But these pieces often don’t say anything, it is just there – lovely to look at but like many things/people that are lovely to look at, they don’t have much to say.  And I have to accept that and move on.  If I really love it, I’ll keep it for myself or give it to a friend.  But I won’t make excuses for it or slam the juror.  Yes,  it’s all very personal, but at the end of the day, do you want to grow as an artist, or do you want to make the same thing year after year?  It really is up to you.

Me? I want to evolve. I want my work to evolve.  So my point is, and I do have one…

This weekend I was thrilled to find out that my small piece, “Jailbird” was accepted in to the Kirkland Arts Center’s annual member’s show.  The judge was local art dealer,  Gunnar Nordstrom.  This is a piece that over and over again has garnered wonderful comments and makes people pause, not because of it’s technical complexity or the amount of detailed stitching, but because of what it is saying. 

A lesson learned.

Comments 2

  1. Angel Whelan July 2, 2012

    It must be hard as an artist to make what pleases you and the masses, and what pleases art critics. My mother in law is an Art Historian and has dragged me to galleries to show me work that frankly I wouldn’t give wall space to even if there was a huge crack or water stain that needed covering up… yet she tells me these are great pieces. I may be just one of the heathen masses, but I liked you on facebook after spending a happy half hour looking at your photos and thinking how beautiful and lovingly made they were. So for every critic who passes over your work, there is probably several plebs who think it is stunning 🙂

  2. dawnrogal July 5, 2012

    Angel, thanks so much for your thoughtful words. To e honest, in the end, I always err on making things that make me happy. Many don’t sell, or get noticed, but I love them all the same. Thanks for your kind words – they mean a lot to me!!

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