Yup. This is about constructive criticism.
I recently received an e-mail written to all exhibitors in the 62nd Annual National Juried Show at the Maria V. Howard Arts Center in Rocky Mount, NC. I’m pleased to be in this show. (It has 276 submissions from 82 artists, with 58 pieces from 45 artists selected for exhibit.) And I like the work I created that was juried for inclusion.
The e-mail was an announcement of the award-winners. (I did not receive an award.) But I especially appreciated reading the criteria used by the judge.
For readers who are art-makers: I think these thoughts from the judge are good words for self-evaluation. For readers who are art appreciators, I think it helps to know how art professionals evaluate work. (Especially if you’ve ever had the “What! I completely don’t understand this one!” reaction, as most everybody has.)
Judge Amiri Farris, a professor at Savannah College of Art and Design, wrote about selecting works for the show and deciding on the award winners.
Does the artist push boundaries and try something different?
Does the artwork resonate with me or an audience?
Does an artist’s work or piece invite me to explore its deeper meaning?
Is the style unique to the artist?
Would I like to see more work by this artist?
These are helpful words of critique. And good critiques make us better artists.
Here’s a look at the work I am exhibiting in the Rocky Mount show.
I was interested in the ethereal quality of these windows when I created the work, and I still find them intriguing. (It’s a photo transfer -- altered a bit -- from an original photo of a window in my sister’s home.) I have a work-in-progress now that will feature this photo enlarged and used as a focal point of the work. I hope to learn from what I liked about the first piece that used this image, and dig into how it can be even more interesting and communicative in the new work.
Recently I was in my studio with two close artist friends whom I trust for advice and critique. I showed two other pieces I have in the works. And I was truly bummed by their reaction. (I was not bummed at my friends. I was disappointed in the work I was producing.) What I thought was working successfully did not speak to them at all. I do trust my own gut. I do listen to my own instincts. But, I admit that sometimes I can get too close to my own process and my own way of seeing a work, and I miss some obvious things that would be better if changed. This is what makes it so valuable to receive good critique.
The work-in-progress that I showed my friends has undergone significant changes. And it’s better.
We create. We learn. We create more.
If you’d like to know more abut “Sometimes You Can’t See In,” it’s on my website HERE.
Thank you for reading. I always enjoy questions and comments.
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