Monday, October 09, 2006

Wine in plastic cups

Last night was the art preview and awards reception, which is always a weird but enjoyable event. It’s nice to see the artwork, but I’ll be honest, I pay more attention to the pieces once the show is actually open and I visit it for a second time, last night I was observing the other attendees.

People of all ages enter the show, from fresh out of high school to blue hairs. The preview is open to anyone who entered artwork and one guest, whether they made it into the show or not. This makes for an interesting crowd. Some people are very quiet as they roam the aisles of work, occasionally pausing to look a little closer, but usually pulling the typical art observer and giving each piece around a 2 second study. Some people stop and study/discuss almost every piece, at least in their favored medium. Some are obviously juried out artists, and they tend to stop in front of art they don’t like more often than art they do. Their ‘supportive’ guest tends to be more critical than the artist (though not always.) It is inevitable at this event to hear at least one lowered voice complain that “my/your piece is better than this” followed by some rather unpleasant descriptions of the judges’ tastes.

The judges’ choices are always a hot topic by even those that made it into the show. The ‘hit or miss’ discussion is muttered in hushed tones by most of the attendees, except perhaps those who won awards. I’ll admit to understanding the feeling. There are always some pieces that I stop and gap at. They are amazing in technique, content, or in some way that absolutely floors me, and they don’t even earn a merit award. Then, I wander to the awards aisle to discover the unimpressive image that won first place and I’m just dumbfounded. Nothing too extremely weird this year, at least. There was one year that a black and white photo of a jar of mustard won grand prize. If you ever wanted to hear lots of ugly words, you could hang out around that image for a while. It must be hard to be a judge.

This year the biggest complaints were about the lighting, which was honestly horrid. In the past, my works were better placed, so it could have been that I never noticed the lighting was quite so bad during previous years. There were lots of artists talking about it this year though. From dismay at how their colors looked in the light to the fact that some of the pieces (mine included) had weird shadows cast over them. This isn’t a gallery show, it’s the fair, so I guess poor lighting shouldn’t be that surprising.

My husband took a couple pictures during the event. I think it’s pretty obvious I wasn’t too keen on taking them. My smile is very ‘okay quick, while no one is looking, just take the picture.’ Special huh?

Despite how I look in the picture, the night was a lot of fun, and the show is pretty good this year. More works were cut than in previous years, so I guess the judges had more to choose from. I’m still surprised I made it in, honestly. My piece definitely didn’t fit in with the works surrounding it: a still-life, some flamingos, and a flower path. The great thing about being surrounded by ‘pretty’ images is that while, for the most part, the wall got a two second look, my piece earned a lot of double takes. No one really said anything, but people stopped and actually looked. What more could I ask for?

1 comment:

fred charles said...

Sometimes it's the piece of work that stands out that gets peoples attention. It's great to stick out of the pack.