Sunday, February 11, 2007

Post-Show Comments

Well... here I am on the "day after". By some standards I could say that the show was an unqualified success. The turnout was excellent. A late rush redeemed any reservations I had about that. I got to see a good mix of people... old friends, current friends, gallery owners and artists. The local press was, as expected, flagrantly absent. They have their specific haunts, and seldom venture outside. In terms of sales- nothing would ever be as satisfying as getting close to selling out a show. But I have a long road to travel before I get anywhere close to that kind of success. I'm not even altogether confident that I can reach that point if I contain my work to Pittsbutrgh exhibitions. It's one thing for someone to appreciate your efforts, but a whole 'nother level of commitment for him/her to purchase something to hang on their wall. And it's not like there are legions of serious art collectors in this town.

I did feel that people generally undertsood my conceptualization for this series. I really wanted folks to get beyond statements like "it looks cool". I'll admit that there was an element of that thinking in my own reaction to the work. I've explained that it was the most introspective and meditative stuff I have produced. It was a refreshing change, and I'm glad that people accepted it. I got a number of positive comments about my rationale/justification. One of the pervasive concerns I had about exhibiting abstract art was the possibility of coming off as entirely pretentious. I'm still a bit of a Phillistine when it comes to the art world. Because I wasn't educated in art, I sometimes doubt my ability to engage in the dialogue of the tradition. I guess that's just part of the outsider's predicament. I think it can even be useful to stay in touch with that kind of insecurity.

My initial feelings about the death of my camera (see my artist statement if I haven't talked to you about this) were ironically manifested when I was asked to snap a few shots of the reception. I grabbed the thing from my car (where it's been sitting unused for weeks) and turned it on only to find a white LCD screen. It was temporarily frozen, and I only regained its use today. I guess that you have to watch what you say... even regarding inanimate objects. Sure, I know that animism is medieval superstition. But it's important not to underestimate the power of our own perceptions. My camera's refusal to cooperate with me at the show was indeed a result of my ambivalent treatment of it over a period of months. The warranty has offically worn out, and its existence is heretofore indefinite. Yet I'm beginning to suspect that this camera's story is still imcomplete. We'll just have to wait and see.

If nothing else, I know that people had a good time at the opening. The connections I make with others takes on increasing importance as I get older. It seems to me that the highest end in making art can be found in the interactions that arise from sharing it. This benefit is ultimately ineffable. It can't be measured with a conventional balance sheet. That may be particularly difficult for those engaged in the business of art... but it's a valuable reality nonetheless.


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