If you're new to writing artist statements or talking about your work, or if you want to refine what you've already got, these two resources may help... plus you'll learn more about artists in the process.
Stephen and I came late to this party but have been enjoying catching up on watching art21: Art in the Twenty-First Century from PBS in which artists talk about their work, process, influences, past, present, future... And we were struck during the same episode, almost at the same time, by how differently men and women tend to talk about their work, with women often looking inward, following the personal first, then bringing it outward. Maya Lin was the exception. It'll be interesting to see if this holds true as we move through the series. (On a side note, Stephen and I are working on a proposal for a two-person show called He Said/She Said that will present our different ways of tackling stuff - mark-making, titles, composition, etc. - and I wonder how much of the male/female stereotypes will hold up.)
The feature on Michael Ray Charles is my favorite so far. His studio is in his home, and the video showed him with his family as he talked about his work. A familiar scene here at the Boocks house.
On a related note, 100 Artists of Washington, DC from Lenny Campello is now out. The Metro DC area has such a vibrant art scene, and this new book captures the diversity of both established and emerging artists from the area or working in this area and beyond. Whether you want to know more about the DC area scene, or use it as a tool to start or build your collection, this is an essential text. But I also recommend it for artists new to assembling a portfolio or writing or talking about their work. Consider how the work depicted supports the narrative. If you could have the same amount of pieces represent what you do, what would they be?
And take this a step further... What is your "elevator speech" - when you say to someone new that you're an artist, and they ask, What do you do?, what is your quick reply (with a visual like a business card or postcard) that gets right to what you do and why it's worth a second look from them?
"It's more like I'm having an experience than making a picture." - Cy Twombly
Stephen and I often talk about how the paining process is so different for each of us. He's more detached and analytical in his approach. My work is capturing past and present and sometimes future and I'm in the moment, hashing out emotions as they course through me. I'm reacting to a fresh mark on the fly even though I have a solid idea of what I want the final look and feel of the piece to be. And there's a tension between planning and this final knowing of a painting in my head and how I get there. Will I veer off-course? If so, will it be a happy accident or will I have a dud on my hands?
Evidence of an Unstoppable Heart is specifically for Unseen, the summer upcoming all-members show at Studio Gallery. Self-contained (Breach) will be entered into a local juried show. I usually don't let national or international events influence my work, but In That Soft Green Place is for Caylee Anthony. I had started this piece and was thinking of doing squares in memoriam to echo Berlin's Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, but the Anthony trial ended and I thought about all the small voices silenced by a blanket of earth, the close of a suitcase, or layers of water. Stories ignored by someone who should've asked or helped. Stories swept up in a media frenzy or buried on page 8 by the press. Kids deserve to know love. Caylee deserves to feel peace.
"Masks" @ Torpedo Factory Art Center's Target Gallery
Show dates: October 1-30, 2011
Juror: Brittany Yam, Director Project 4 Gallery, Washington DC. Masks is an all media exhibition that is open to all artists, nationally and internationally. Masks have long served as a symbol and a tool for concealment, protection, amusement and performance. Artists are being asked to create work based on the theme of masks, literally and conceptually. Deadline: August 1, 2011. $35 entry fee.Prospectus>>
Eye of the Beholder: The Fine Art of the Found Object -- The Maryland Federation of Art invites all artists residing in the US and Canada to enter any two or three dimensional work that includes at least one or more found objects. The selected work will be on exhibit at the MFA Circle Gallery in Annapolis, MD from Oct. 30 - Nov. 26, 2011. $1000 in awards. Juror: Janet Maher, Associate Professor of Art at Loyola University Maryland. 1 or 2 entries = $35 ($20 for MFA members); $5 each for any additional up to 6. Artists can submit online or send CD to Attn. Found Objects, MFA, 18 State Circle, Annapolis MD 21401. Deadline: August 28, 2011.
Utrecht Art Supplies Third Annual Art Competition 2011
Deadline September 1, 2011.No fee. Enter at www.utrecht.com/contest, where complete entry instructions are posted. Entries will consist of one (1) digital file of each original work of art, no larger than 800 pixels tall or wide and not to exceed 4 MB, that is being entered in the Competition. There is a limit of 3 total entries per entrant, 1 per category. Winner Selection : On or about November 1, 2011.
Utopias at Anne Arundel Community College's Cade Art Gallery - new visions and better places in contemporary art, an all-media show juried by Jeffrey Cudlin, Professor of Curatorial Studies at Md. Institute, College of Art, and freelance writer for the Washington Post and the Washington City Paper. All artists working with themes in the show title are invited to submit up to six jpegs on CD and the entry form available at www.aacc.edu/cadegallery (click on "national juried show") along with a $20 entry fee by the postmark deadline of October 6, 2011.