Faces and Figures
- Perception vs. Reality acrylic painting by Willie Porter, Jr. of Spotsylvania, VA
- Affirmations mixed media by Pat Kumicich of Naples, FL
- Fais Do Do graphite & acrylic by Ernie L. Fournet of New Iberia, LA
- Fingertips photograph by Maura Harrison of Fredericksburg, VA
- Before the Fall acrylic painting by Patricia Smith of Locust Grove, VA
- Donna oil painting by Zachary Kator of Williamsburg, VA
- Barefoot Rank mixed paper collage by Teresa Blatt of North Hills, CA
One question is always at the top of viewers' minds (and often strongly voiced) when they take in an exhibit of selected works: Why did the juror choose that piece? And there are variations of this question: What was the juror thinking? Were the juror's choices based on subjectivity or objectivity? Is the juror qualified to judge this kind of theme when he doesn't even make art that addresses this theme or doesn't work in these particular mediums? What is the juror's 'taste'?
It may seem baffling to artists and viewers of art how the selection process functions and how the same work can be accepted in one exhibit and declined in another. I know. That has been my experience with some of my work. However, as an artist, a student of art, a teacher of artists and a juror for many years, I can express how the process unfolds for me. It is about objectivity and subjectivity, familiarity and surprise.
When I "read" a work I initially rely on first impression, how the piece strikes me. That instant reaction then quickly transitions into an analysis of three equally important and interdependent components: message, material and means. Message is concept, content or meaning. Material is the medium and the way it is handled, its technical qualities. Means is structure, the form or composition. In some works these components are so organically fused that there seems to be no distinction among them. This assessment is objective: How each of these components qualifies the others. I rely on my familiarity with making, viewing and studying art to arrive at this. But there is also the subjective and this is when "surprise" kicks in. This happens when the logic of these demonstrable components yields to the artist's peculiar dialogue with the viewer. Sometimes the unexpected occurs even within an established genre or style: The artist's idiomatic presence. When all of these pieces seamlessly join, the art conveys its fluency and the viewer is engaged.
For this exhibit of Faces and Figures, I sought what would engage me and sustain my attention. Although our acquaintance with the human face and body is common, I sought those works that made me see uncommonly.