Wednesday, February 25, 2009
To see something I had not seen. Plus: more about jurors.
This is the job of the artist – to be able to communicate wonder, beauty, intrigue, fascination to those who cannot, or had not, seen it. Walking round a local art show yesterday, I was saddened, puzzled, and also energized, by how few of the works were able to transform a brick wall into a wonderful scene.
Reading the juror’s (Karen Shaw, curator at Islip museum) comments, it was evident that this was also what she was looking for: work that showed the artist to be thoughtful, work that had content and was also able to catch and hold your attention.
Interestingly, in view of the blog discussion last week about whether jurors of art quilts shows should be themselves quilters, Karen Shaw also stated (as I did) that one of the first things she assessed was how well made a piece was – Whether it was a medium she knew anything about or not.
Being well made is important, poor workmanship can detract from content - but good workmanship cannot make up for a lack of content.
One of the things that I notice, on the rare opportunity I have to visit an art quilt show, is that so many focus on craftsmanship to the exclusion of content or thoughtfulness. I think that this may be the result of our traditional quilt making training where the emphasis was almost exclusively on technique, but also on a drive to get things made – fast! An attitude that says: “Don’t drizzle about thinking, girl, get cutting and pinning and piecing – that’s the REAL work of the quilter!!”
Frequently when I ask the maker "What did you have in mind when you made your quilt?" they tell me something about technique - this is all too post modern! that time has past.... if art quilts are to move into the “fine” art field, we have to Think, consider, contemplate, deliberate, reflect, ponder, meditate and cogitate!
Our real work is to turn the brick wall into an amazing landscape!
And, if you have been, thanks for reading!