Tuesday, November 04, 2008

jury duty

Recently I had my first experience in jurying an exhibition at the FCA's Federation Gallery on Granville Island. I'd been looking forward to this since earning signature status with the FCA and was rewarded by a huge range of work for this show, Artist Choice. There were 260 entries for approximately 70 exhibition spaces. As is the procedure with every FCA show, two senior members and one associate member are required to jury. It was actually pretty great to be on the other side for once! What I found most striking about the initial weeding-out process was the clear delineation between so-called 'acceptable' and 'unacceptable'. Judging art must be one of the world's most subjective exercises, yet all three of us were fairly consistent in our ability to agree on the yeas and nays. It took us only two hours to go through all the slides and choose those that would be exhibited.

Yesterday Mila, the gallery manager, hung the show and today my co-jurors and I reconvened to decide on awards. Just as I hadn't been expecting to agree so readily on which work would hang, today I didn't think it would be hard at all to decide on awards. In the end it wasn't, actually, but that was mostly because I could see that my more senior partners were still in pretty strong agreement on what they liked and didn't like, and I was odd man out. But rather than take four hours and almost come to blows over who was the bestest (as Mila explained had happened during a recent jurying process), I thought it better to acquiesce and get back to the car before Jesse started regarding the steering wheel as a lunch entree prospect.

The whole process got me thinking about the future of the FCA, and the push by some in positions of authority to stop it from sliding into an irrelevant, elitist group of elderly, conservative artists and art lovers. It looks to be heading that way, which is one of the reasons I've paused many times in my involvement as I represent a slightly different 'dynamic', but maybe I should take a different approach and get more involved. Bureaucracy has always been something I've had serious problems with, but maybe breaking through the compromises requires more involvement by those with a different vision. Anyway, check out the show here.

Just thinkin' out loud. Maybe I should raise my kids/dogs and make more art first. Here are some photos I took from behind the wheel at stop lights on my way home from the gallery while Jesse made mincemeat of the floor mat behind me.


Blogger Barbara said...

I enjoyed looking through the FCA show through your link - a little something for every taste and much technical excellence. I'd love to have been a fly on the wall viewing all the entries.

Being a juror can be a dicey thing (as you mentioned in reference to an earlier show at the CFA gallery). I once had the privilege of being a juror for a student show at the local college (I was well past the days of being a student myself). The other jurors and I worked very well together and had no problems choosing the works to be exhibited in the college's tiny gallery. Unfortunately, there was something of a furor once our choices were made known as some supposed "shoe-ins" didn't make it onto our short list. Perhaps we should have borne in mind that works considered trite to us well-seasoned artist/jurors were ground-breaking to the uninitiated.

4/11/08 4:07 p.m.  
Blogger Mr Coppens said...

Thank goodness I thought you had been called to jury duty!

Here are my faves...
1 repose
2 cognitive dissonance
3 gordon head waterfront
4 long shadow
5 distant thunder
6 no more work
what do I know?
I just likes 'em is all.

4/11/08 9:44 p.m.  
Blogger Ponygirl said...

Andrea, like Donn, I envisioned sitting in court for days or weeks with the title of your post.

Thank goodness it was incorrect! What a challenge to pick through all those paintings!

I think a few of my faves are:
Distant Thunder
Poppy Shadows

I hope I remembered the names correctly. Thanks for sharing this - what a neat experience for you!

4/11/08 10:40 p.m.  
Blogger Michelle Grant said...

Wow, sounds like fun! I was drawn to these pieces immediately.
Narata Winery 2
Waiting for the tide
Bygone Bylines
Gordonhead waterfront
Mt Cham
Canning time

5/11/08 7:12 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Barbara: Love your story about the shoe-ins not making it. The insularity of the art school environment must be at least partially to blame. I remember it well!

Donn: Fooled ya! (I love titling blog posts.) No More Work and Long Shadow are great in person. It really can be surprising to see a strong composition on a computer then see the work in the flesh. Often the strength does not translate when you finally see how it was handled technically and up close.

Ponygirl: Fooled you, too! :) Balance was one of my favourites. It's awesome in person.

Michelle: Go is also one of my favourites. Very powerful in person. Another favourite was a small etching. I hemmed and hawed and almost rejected it when I saw the digital image of Conference Line but the original: breathtaking.

5/11/08 1:06 p.m.  
Blogger Ellen said...

I like GO and Winter Still and Balance, I do wish the medium was mentioned.

Yes, get involved and make sure the FCA doesn't get too stuffy and dull! And yes, don't go and get all tied up with bureaucratic tasks and just concentrate on your own personal pursuits! Yes to both! life is confusing sometimes.

5/11/08 10:06 p.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Ellen: You are good. Those three plus Conference Line were my tops. They are as good or better in person as in thumbnail -- a good way to measure. But you're no help with my other dilemma! :)

6/11/08 12:38 p.m.  
Blogger Jana Bouc said...

Congrats on the signature status. I love the tree photos combined with stop lights and other traffic miscellaney. It was interesting reading about your experience and reactions to the judging process.

7/11/08 8:51 p.m.  
Blogger San said...

First, these are radiant photos. Thanks for posting them.

Not living in your country and knowing anything about the FCA, I will venture nonetheless to say that your voice, your "dynamic" as you put it, is a valuable one. When I was still in my 20s, I juried a big amateur art show in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. How I came to do this is a long story, but I too found myself alongside established art dealers who were decades older and just made their decisions immediately. I took ages going around weighing the values of everything in the show, feeling a little like the odd man out. No conflict ensued, as I was assigned one category only--Prints and Drawings--and my co-juror in that category, a museum curator, was a no-show. Probably a good thing, as I would have no doubt been somewhat cowed by his more seasoned opinion.

8/11/08 6:54 a.m.  
Blogger Cynthia said...

I think it would be interesting to be on the other side of the fence someday.

I get what you mean about being in a group with more conservative artists - I'm sort of there with about 1/2 the Colorado Potters Guild members. Change is a slooooooowwwwwwwwww process.

9/11/08 12:44 p.m.  
Blogger Costescu said...

Andrea I hope you have the time to stay involved with keeping the FCA relevant and a wonderful showcase for all types of art! I am really very, very flattered that you and others liked Balance, you have made my weekend :)Btw Ellen, this one is watercolor.

I think you helped to chose a wonderful exhibit with such an impressive range of talent and technical expertise. I was surprised by some of the paintings that I had also liked as thumbnails but was then amazed when I saw them on the wall, it must be a challenge to sort through all the entries & then to have to agree with others, hah :)

19/12/08 4:37 p.m.  

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