I recently was in a show in Georgia, The Valdosta National 2022, hosted by Valdosta State University (VSU). It was a fantastic show, and I was happy to be a part of it. As I have shown paintings across the country, I don't make it to many openings. With the onset of covid, more galleries have included an online version of their shows, in addition to sharing photos on social media. I'm grateful for the coverage, but there is much to say about seeing artwork in person.
I recently wrote about my experience with art shows, and this show was one of my favorites. I believe it came down to the judge, Samuel Dunson. Mr. Dunson is an active artist and college professor. Before applying to the show, I looked at his work and was excited by what I saw. I hoped he would understand some of my vision, and apparently, he did, as I was accepted into the show!
One thing that Mr. Dunson did was include a Juror Statement. Juror Statements allow us to understand some jurors' selection processes and ideologies. It used to be more common for jurors to write a statement, but it has gone by the wayside in recent years. Mr. Dunson's statement made me realize just how much I missed them!
On selecting the art for the show, Mr. Dunson shared, "In choosing the works, I attempted to put my likes and dislikes aside. In doing so, I feel the exhibition has more of a chance to show strength in its diversity. I made a point of judging each work by the merits of its media, style, or concept." In my view, this is a beautiful way to view the artwork. It is easy to automatically dismiss a piece of artwork if it doesn't fall into your "like" category. It's an open-minded approach.
Mr. Dunson also talked about being in the presence of a piece of art. It is such an essential part of viewing artwork. You get a different vibe when considering a piece of art digitally vs. in person. I feel my work looks slicker in digital photos than in real life. In this day of virtual Van Gogh shows at museums worldwide, people can miss the importance of being in the physical presence of a piece of art.
The presence he speaks of can only be experienced in person. If not, it can be easily overlooked. You might lose the opportunity to experience a deeper understanding of the piece of work.